Posted on September 29, 2019

The Qatar-America Institute (QAI),  launched its inaugural photography program, FOCI,  highlighting the various cross-cultural areas of focus between the United States and Qatar via the creative captures of world-travelers who experienced life in Qatar.

QAI celebrated the launch of FOCI 2019 with its network of friends, media influencers, and guests of various creative and cultural backgrounds on September 16th in New York City’s historic Explorers Club. Among the attendees were representatives from Qatar National Tourism Council, the main sponsor of the FOCI 2019 program, and representatives from Qatar  Airways and Weil Cornell Medicine Qatar.  FOCI’s launch event guest of honor was  H.E. Nasser Ibrahim Allenqawi, the Counsel General of the State of Qatar to New York, who gave remarks to the audience about the importance of cultural programs like FOCI, which allow people to share and exchange creative ideas and narratives that would not be as effective through alternative media outside of the realm of the arts. Mr. Allenqawi quoted Her Excellency Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums, who said that “in such a place [like Qatar] where many cultures intersect and people cohabit peacefully and in harmony, the value of cultivating an open mind is paramount.” 

The FOCI 2019 competition calls on photographers to submit their creative captures depicting the theme of “The U.S.-Qatar Journey,” highlighting the four-decade-long story that celebrates the similarities and appreciates the differences between the two countries. Whether through capturing a landscape photo of the Qatari desert engulfing American artist Richard Serra’s “East-West/West-East” sculptures, or through a portrait photo of a graduating class of Qatari and American students from Education City, photographers have the creative freedom to encapsulate Qatar and America in a photographic and storytelling form.

First and Second place winners will be celebrated at QAI’s annual gala, showcased at FOCI 2019 photo-gallery, and will receive prizes equal to $1000 and $500 respectively. In addition, third to tenth place winning submissions will receive an opportunity to be featured in the FOCI 2019 photo-gallery and publication. In order to qualify, all photographs must be: taken in Qatar, meet the criteria of the contest and theme outlined on the contest platform,, and must be submitted before the contest deadline of December 31, 2019.  For more information about FOCI, visit or contact