2017 in review: Engaging with everyone on the road to 2022
Throughout 2017 we have delivered numerous projects and interacted with thousands of residents. Our flagship initiatives, including the Youth Panel, Accessibility Forum and Community Partnerships, have continued to grow in size and stature, while events such as the Ramadan Football Tournament and Sports Photography Workshop have helped to stoke the country's passion for football as we get ever closer to hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup™.
We believe our tournament belongs to everyone in Qatar. If you're living here, you're a part of our special journey. We want everyone to be inspired by the event and benefit from the positive changes it brings. As we all know, this World Cup is about much more than football. It's about the legacy we leave for future generations. We want the benefits of this tournament to still be felt decades in the future.
Our efforts during the launch of Khalifa International Stadium in May perfectly showcased our aim to involve as many people as possible in Qatar's World Cup journey. Thousands of people enjoyed the Emir Cup Fan Zone, including the traditional music, entertainment and food served up by more than 20 different community groups. Each group is a member of our Community Partnerships scheme, which has flourished in 2017 by holding skill-based workshops for ambassadors from each of the 38 communities the SC has partnered with.
Meanwhile, inside the stadium, we launched the Sensory Room in collaboration with the Ontario Centre for Special Education. This facility provides a safe space for people with cognitive disabilities. It has noise cancellation, soft furnishings, mood lighting, relaxing music and brightly coloured toys and equipment. These features help to manage a person's anxiety and allow them, along with their family and friends, to watch football matches in a welcoming, calming and inclusive environment. The Sensory Room is the first facility of its type in the region – and the first to be located within a FIFA World Cup™ stadium.
Also this year and our arts and culture projects have gone from strength to strength. We held workshops with Getty Images as we aim to inspire local photographers to improve their skills and eventually cover the tournament in 2022. The School Arts Programme also proved a major success, with children across the country coming up with ideas for the tournament mascot.
The Ramadan Football Tournaments we organised were also very popular. Matches were played across Qatar, Kuwait and Oman. This again highlighted the strong passion for football in this part of the world, along with our desire to ensure the 2022 FIFA World Cup™ benefits the entire region.
Our Youth Panel is also continuing to inspire young people. This year's cohort have attended workshops and had the chance to engage with key executives from the SC. They have also attended construction sites and met with stakeholders. In addition, members have supported major SC events. They volunteered to serve thousands of workers at the Khalifa Stadium Appreciation Dinner and contributed to our activities at Darb Al Sa'ai. This showcases the enthusiasm for volunteering – something we will utilise next year with the launch of the Volunteer Programme.