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Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Qatar has lost no time in using the vast resources generated from its oil and gas reserves to set up a compulsory and free education system, modern higher education and research infrastructure and cultural services. As well as modernising at home, Qatar is keen to exert its influence overseas in the fields of knowledge, culture and information.

With this end in view, the Emirate has set up Education City (a regional hub for higher education, research and innovation) in Doha, and stages the annual World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), a keynote event for all those involved in education around the world. It has also established a philharmonic orchestra and a Museum of Islamic Art, and will shortly have its own national museum. In TV station Al Jazeera, with a daily audience of over 50 million viewers, Qatar possesses a formidable instrument of soft power that has reshaped the media landscape of the Muslim world.

There are two French schools in Doha. Lycée Voltaire, the French-Qatari school in Doha, provides a unique experience in the local educational landscape (mixed classes, French textbooks) and enables Qatari children to follow the French high school programme. A second site was opened at the start of the 2012 academic year to keep pace with the growing demand for places at the school.

For a number of years now, as the Emirate seeks greater balance in its partnerships, France has been the target of pressing requests for closer cooperation. In the field of higher education and research, Qatar has invited a number of leading international academic institutions to set up a branch in Education City. One of the institutions to have done so is the HEC graduate business school. On the cultural front, eminent French architects including Jean-Michel Wilmotte and Jean Nouvel have been commissioned to design major new museum buildings. A partnership with the Lagardère Group resulted in the creation in 2005 of the Al Jazeera Children’s Channel.

Qatar became an associate member of the OIF at the Kinshasa Summit of 13 and 14 October 2012. While not traditionally a French-speaking country, Qatar is home to between 100,000 and 200,000 French speakers (between 5% and 10% of the population). Those wishing to learn French can rely on an established network of teaching centres and a French language radio station (Oryx FM). In keeping with its wish to foster privileged cooperation with France, Qatar has made the teaching of French part of its state education system and created a French Department at the University.

Military cooperation

Security and defence cooperation between France and Qatar, enshrined in a 1994 defence agreement, is one of the earliest foundations of the bilateral relationship. In 2011, the engagement of French and Qatari aircrews in joint operations in Libya marked a new phase of cooperation.

Bilateral military exercises are held regularly in the Emirate. Gulf Falcon 2013, a recent exercise conducted between 16 February and 7 March 2013, saw the deployment of some 1,300 members of the French armed forces backed by significant resources (a Horizon-class frigate, the Rafale combat aircraft, the VBCI infantry fighting vehicle, the Leclerc tank and the Caesar artillery system).

Cooperation on internal security

Cooperation on international security is governed by a memorandum of understanding (1996) and a technical arrangement (2005) with the Gendarmerie Nationale, one element of which comprises a substantial training programme for Qatar’s Internal Security Force. Ad hoc cooperation operations are also organised with the Amiri Guard, the Military Police or the Ministry of the Interior.

France’s Gendarmerie provided much-appreciated support in ensuring the security of the Asian Games in Doha in 2006 and the Emirate has expressed its wish to involve the Gendarmerie Nationale in its plans for the security of the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

Milipol, the annual worldwide exhibition of internal State security, is held alternately in Doha and Paris.

Updated on 15.07.13

Archaeology

Drawing on the expertise of the Commission consultative des recherches archéologiques à l’étranger (Consultative Commission on Archaeological Research Abroad), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGCID) is subsidizing nearly 160 archaeological missions (from palaeontology to the medieval period) in 65 countries. Among others:

-  Zekrit and Murwab

Updated on 10.15.08

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