Qatar usually tops the list of the world’s richest countries, with its proven reserves of oil and natural gas. But there is another arena where it wants to excel – the field of information technology, innovation and corporate entrepreneurship.
On December 4, 2011, the kingdom, which has been ruled by the Al Thani family since the mid-19th century, moved one step closer to this goal by officially unveiling a magnificent platform for the sharing of dreams, ambitions and ideas. The Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) officially opened, featuring cutting-edge production facilities as well as Japanese designer Arata Isozaki’s iconic façade of intertwining native Sidra trees, representing the place where poets, scholars and travellers gathered to take shelter from the fierce desert sun and interact.
The tree is also the symbol of the Qatar Foundation, a non-profit entity spearheaded by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned (wife of the current emir), laying the groundwork for the country’s educational and scientific footprints. The striking, raven-haired mother of seven, along with Queen Rania of Jordan, belongs to that new breed of dynamic female royals in the Middle East actively involved in their nation’s affairs and providing positive role models for the youth. She joined the Qatar delegation in Zürich when it bid and successfully won the nod for hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, further raising her profile as an active member of government.
In 2003, Her Highness realised the first phase of her vision of bringing branches of leading international universities to Qatar with the inauguration of Education City. A logical adjunct to her blueprint was providing a fitting venue to host thought-provoking conferences and exhibitions attended by the world’s mavericks and decision-makers, and hence, the QNCC.
Its general manager Adam Mather-Brown said: “One of the reasons for locating the QNCC in Education City was for it to become the focal point for a new global hub of ideas and innovation. We are proud to be a world-class venue conceived to bring together the world’s best minds under one roof. In addition to the local market, the QNCC aims to be an intellectual nerve centre and serve the education and research communities in hosting key regional and international events that shape the future of research and education in the 21st century and beyond.”
Previous to the December launch, the QNCC had already experienced three dry runs – including the first The Hague International Model United Nations that had 1,200 students debating global issues – before the big curtain raiser, the 20th World Petroleum Congress which took place on opening day itself. The gathering, which ran for five days, witnessed over 5,000 delegates moving through gleaming public foyers and areas and occupying various function spaces that consisted of a conference hall for 4,000, lyric theatre for 2,300, three auditoriums of varying capacities, 52 meeting rooms and six VIP lounges, among others.
Being rich in natural resources did not cloud the QNCC management’s focus on running operations in an efficient way. The exhibition hall is built to reflect gold certification standards on Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED), endorsed by the US Green Building Council, while over 3,500 solar panels provide 12.5 per cent of the Centre’s energy needs.
Qatar may be a small country, but backed by rich resources and forward-thinking officials, it dares to dream big and invites the world to meet under its gracious Sidra tree.
TOTAL FLOOR AREA 200,000 sqm
EXHIBITION SPACE 40,000 sqm, able to accommodate up to 10,000 in theatre-style banquet seating. An outdoor area of 3,100 sqm can also be used to stage displays.
CONFERENCE SPACE There is a plethora of choices consisting of a conference hall for 4,000 delegates, lyric-style theatre seating 2,300, three auditoriums for smaller events for 495 guests, 401 guests and 290 guests, plus 52 meeting venues.
- Six VIP lounges and seven hospitality lounges
- Built according to LEED standards approved by the US Green Building Council
- Five-star in-house catering
- 35,000 sqm of modular mobile rigging grids
- Wireless communication and digital voting systems throughout
- Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) for tracking of delegates and building assets
- Some halls equipped to offer simultaneous translation of up to eight languages
- Covered parking for 3,200 vehicles and 40 buses connected by air-conditioned travellator
As part of the new Education City hub, the QNCC is within an enclave of eight international universities and research institutions including the Qatar Science and Technology Park and soon-to-be completed Sidra Medical and Research Centre.
Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC)
TEL +974 4470 7000
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