Arab Cultural Festival highlights Qatar World Cup

By Kwon Mee-yoo



The Korea Times Co.


As the 2022 Qatar World Cup draws closer, this year’s Arab Cultural Festival in Seoul focuses on the first World Cup to ever be held in the Arab world. Co-hosted by the Korea-Arab Society, the Embassy of Qatar in Korea and the Korea International Trade Association, the 15th Arab Cultural Festival is running until Saturday at the lobby of COEX in southern Seoul. This year, the centerpiece is the Qatar World Cup pavilion, raising expectations for the upcoming mega sporting event slated for Nov. 20 to Dec. 18. “It is a very special time as the State of Qatar is two months away from organizing the first World Cup in the Middle East and the Arab world with the participation of 32 teams and 64 matches will be played at amazing stadiums,” Qatari Ambassador to Korea Khalid Al-Hamar said. “With the new World Cup in our region, you we will see what we have prepared.” The pavilion introduces multiple features of the Qatar World Cup, from the journey of Qatar’s bid to host the sporting event to the matching schedule and the uniforms of Middle Eastern football teams. There also is information on the eight brand-new stadiums Qatar built for the World Cup — from Al Bayt Stadium, inspired by the shape of a traditional Bedouin tent, to Lusail Stadium, the biggest one with a capacity of 80,000. Also on display is the 2022 World Cup official ball named “Al Rihla,” which means journey in Arabic. Visitors can also learn about the 22 Arab countries and try on traditional Arab costumes. The Qatari embassy also prepared a photo zone in the style of a “Majlis,” which means sitting room in Arabic, complete with Arabic desserts and Arabic pattern temporary tattoos. An embassy official noted that all materials were translated into Korean as there is not much information about Qatar and the Arab world in Korean and the embassy wanted to take a step closer to the Korean public through this event. The ambassador also mentioned the unique connection between Korea and the Arab world, which comes as part of a broader strategic relationship that bring the two sides together in many fields. “I hope this World Cup will provide opportunities for Korean people to come to Qatar. I think we are lucky because the Korean national team will be there and (the embassy) will support the Korean team,” the ambassador added.