Qatar at the UN General Assembly

The eyes of the world are on New York City this week with the convening of the 67th session of the UN General Assembly. Heads of state from around the globe are converging for high-level meetings and to address their counterparts at the General Debates. Qatar’s increased role on the international scene, as well as recent events in the Middle East, have made for an interesting combination ahead of this year’s Assembly. The political atmosphere of much of the region is very much in the balance following continued reverberations of the Arab Spring. A significant portion of the Assembly will focus on these issues and both the United States and Qatar are likely coordinating to help achieve their shared vision of political stability and democracy in the region. As a rising international and regional influence, Qatar has already made its presence felt with the country’s leadership making impressive headlines in New York both inside and outside the UN. We at the Council will be providing updates on Qatar’s impact at this year’s UN General Assembly, tracking and analyzing notable speeches, events and interviews. In addition to this page, make sure to follow our social media outlets onTwitter and Facebook for more information. Qatar’s Prime Minister Sits Down with CNBC September 28 Following a busy a week in New York for the UN General Assembly that included interviews, addresses and high-level meetings, Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al Thani, sat down for an interview with CNBC. The Minister, who is also the CEO of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), discussed the global economy and Qatar’s investment strategies amid a time of economic turbulence. He also discussed recent international events, expressing condolences to the American people for the deaths of US diplomatic personnel in Libya. In addition, the Prime Minister displayed optimism for the political transitions of the Arab Spring. However, he condemned the UN Security Council for its handling of the Syrian conflict and called on all nations to assist in ending the violence in the country. Towards the end of the interview, the Minister discussed QIA’s diversified portfolio, the actions of central banks around the world in addressing the global economic crisis, and the decreasing value of the dollar and the euro. To view the interview, click here.   His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani Addresses UN September 25 >Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani addressed the 67th session of the General Assembly on Tuesday morning, the first day of the General Debates; Qatar was the 8th speaker in the morning session. The Emir began by noting that the Arab world is currently in a critical period of transformation. However, looking to allay global fears, he cited reasons for optimism and noted that the political foundations of both the United States and Europe were laid after similar transitions. The Emir also discussed Syria and condemned the Syrian regime and criticized the UN Security Council for its failure to bring the conflict to an end. He called on all nations to assist the Syrian people in their struggle for independence. The Emir also touched on the following important issues: the Israeli/Palestinian conflict; free speech and the respect of religions; Qatar’s hosting of COP 18 and the need for dialogue on climate change; and a call for an increased global role in finding peace in Somalia. A full transcript of the speech can be found here. Video of the speech can be found here.   Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Speaks with CNN September 24 > Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Al Thani, Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister spoke with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview titled, “A Small Nation with Big Power.” The Prime Minister discussed the ongoing violence in Syria and alternative solutions to ending the conflict. Acknowledging the failure of the UN to quell the fighting, he suggested an increased role from Arab and European countries and the US, floating the idea of safe havens and increased humanitarian aid to those affected by the violence. In the face of a sluggish global response to the Syrian crisis, Qatar is using its position as a regional power to fill a much-needed position of leadership looking to bring the violence to an end. The Prime Minister acknowledged Qatar’s newfound role, mentioning in the interview, “Money is not everything…Will is more important than the money. A lot of countries have the money. But they don't have the will.” To watch the interview, click here.   Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser Visits QFI Arabic Class in NY September 20 >Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, visited PS 368 while in New York for the UN General Assembly. Sheikha Moza met with students who are studying Arabic as part of an initiative sponsored by Qatar Foundation International and saw their progress firsthand, commenting, “I enjoyed hearing the children speak in Arabic so enthusiastically…and it was lovely to see that most of them are not of Arab origin, which means the language reaches families and communities who have not been exposed to our culture previously.” PS 368, a public school located in Harlem, is able to offer Arabic to its students because of Qatar Foundation International’s sponsoring of the Arabic Language and Culture program which is run by the Global Language Project (GLP). Click here to read Qatar Foundation International’s press release on Sheikha Moza’s visit to the school.