Italians have launched an impressive "charm offensive" to promote their culture in Qatar through Esedra, the first Italian cultural association in Doha.
"Esedra is very important because it will not just be a venue for the Italian community to get together," Arch Atos Batarra, Chairman of Esedra, said. "It will also be a means to introduce the varied elements of Italian culture, which is known around the world, to the local and international community."
The name of the association came from a term used in ancient Greece referring to a public place suitable for philosophical and artistic conversation, Laura Bertuccioli, project coordinator, said.
"When you come to a country, you have to give something back. We thought, having this cultural organisation would make cultural exchange between Qatar and Italy as well as with the international community possible. This way we are contributing not only professionally but in enriching our knowledge and understanding of our cultures," Laura said, quoted by Qatari daily The Peninsula on Sunday.
According to its founders, Esedra is focusing on two main objectives, namely enhancing the bond with Italy through the organisation of different activities, including events, conferences, exhibitions and activities addressed to children, and promoting the Italian culture, including language, amongst the local and the international community in Qatar and facilitating relationships with Italy.
The vision and the plans of the association as well as the short-term activities and events calendar were highlighted at the launch.
Major projects by Esedra include a multimedia library set to provide classical and modern Italian literature, documentaries, and collections of music and films.
A children's club for both Italians and expatriates, music, art and creative writing courses and a library will also be provided by the association.
Language courses, travel programmes and lessons on cooking authentic Italian food will also be conducted to promote Italian culture.