Posted on April 09, 2014

Stenden University Qatar (SUQ) is embarking on the first phase of a QR856,000 research project funded by the prestigious National Priorities Research Programme (NPRP) – the flagship funding programme of Qatar Foundation’s Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) - to promote a sustainable and positive legacy for Qatar’s FIFA World Cup in 2022.

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The two-year research project, entitled “Leveraging the 2022 Qatar World Football Cup for the promotion of green and active living: a multiple stakeholder evaluation of strategic options” is a collaboration with Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland.  The focus will be on promoting healthy, active lifestyles as well as green initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint in Qatar. This is the first Stenden research project to have been awarded QNRF funding, and signals a new emphasis on research at SUQ as the university’s academics gear up to initiate a number of tourism research projects to help realise the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy.

Lecturer Dr Dan Musinguzi – a research specialist in tourism impacts, residents’ perceptions of tourism, service quality and cultural heritage – and Stephanie Bourne are collaborating with Edinburgh Napier University experts Dr Eleni Theodoraki, Dr Jane Ali-Knight and Dr Maktoba Omar. Dr Theodoraki is an international events expert recently involved with UNESCO in preparing the sports policy agenda for the World Congress of Sport Ministers. Mayor of London Boris Johnson also appointed her to be the commissioner in the commission of a Sustainable London 2012.

The team of researchers will liaise with event organisers, public health experts, physical educators, city planners and environmental agencies in Qatar to develop findings that will be shared with the Qatar government and FIFA.

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Initially, researchers will contact event organisers in Qatar across multiple sectors including sports, health, education, banking, retail business and technology to assess through an online questionnaire what green and active campaigns and messages are currently being promoted in Qatar via events. The project aims to be a knowledge-sharing platform, setting up a network for all organisers to ensure their events promote positive social habits.  Recycling and low carbon use are amongst these as well as increased physical activity and sports participation, all of which will help to create a positive legacy from the 2022 World Cup.

SUQ’s Dr Dan Muzinguzi said: “This is a fascinating and highly topical issue, not only in Qatar but for the organisers of many international events throughout the world – how they can create a sustainable legacy from events to benefit those living in the country for years to come. “We are grateful to QNRF for their generous funding and to our partners at Edinburgh Napier University. As Stenden continues to strengthen its research capabilities, this will be the first of many new research projects our academic experts will be working on to support sports’ tourism development and diversification of Qatar’s economy.”

Dr Eleni Theodoraki, from Edinburgh Napier University’s Institute: Festivals, Events, Tourism, said: “Mega sporting events have the power to inspire social change. Qatar has a great opportunity to use the 2022 World Cup to encourage people to adopt green and active lifestyles. “By engaging with experts in Qatar and the UK we aim to find out what opportunities exist to promote environmentally sound habits such as recycling and low carbon use, as well as healthy physical activity and sports participation in the run up to the event, and beyond it.”

The questionnaire will also be accessible to event organizers via the group’s Facebook page: Green and Active Living Qatar.

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