Qatar´s public diplomacy






Qatar, is a small country in the Middle East is rapidly growing, thanks to public diplomacy. This country geographically has 11,437 km ², incredibly this using all their resources to position itself internationally. I mean, in all areas of soft power: education, diplomacy, culture, sports, governance, and negotiation and innovation.

If one analyzes by concept which Nye present in his book, Qatar would not meet all requirements. First, geographically it has only 11,437 km, is small. Qatar is a peninsula in the east of Arabia, bordering the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia, in a strategic location near major petroleum deposits. Turning it into a territory with vast natural resources. Economically, Qatar is in the best time, oil gives a really good status. It can invest in different areas, develop industries, technologies, and also, to lend money to its neighbors. Qatar does not have a large population, but social stability and people accept the government. And when Antwi-Boateng described Qatar as a stable country, one should take into consideration Nye’s warning, which states that the military and economic superiority is often not enough to achieve a desired result. (Nye, 2005)

What is Qatar has achieved “influence the behavior of its citizens.” (Boateng, 2013) And it’s doing daily with the Aljazeera station. And in the region to adopt a neutral and conciliatory position in the conflict of the Arab Spring.

But sincerely what do you think when you hear Qatar? Many do not recognize it as a country, others think it is a football team and there are few who know exactly where it is located. And that’s one of the challenges that this country. It needs to position itself as a brand. You need who specializes in a field and burst to be known to the world as the best in that area.

You need to create or made a stick​​, for your citizens and for the world to recognize it at first. For as Chip Heath & Dan Heath say, “your thoughts need to be understand, remembered, and have lasting impact review or change your audience’s behavior.” And how do they manage? Simple, with six principles: simplicity, unexpected, concreteness, credibility, emotions and stories. (Heath, C. H., 2007)

For example, being a country characterized by occupying the 99th position, as one of the most peaceful countries in the world. You could sell that idea to the world! Qatar is the only neutral country facilitator conflict in the Middle East. This would also be a way to encourage tourism, ensuring safety. The truth is that for a foreigner, once you know that this country will be more likely to visit that country. Your idea will be caught! Now you understand the importance of the idea is simple but profound.

Clearly, Qatar is working on this. There is already a process initiated, they are on their way. By creating Aljazeera undoubtedly are managing to position on the map. It’s good because people start talking about “the station, documentaries, series” all that helps. And indeed it is an action that produces a double effect. Positions the country, and this greatly influences the masses, changing the mindset of people and consequently their attitude. (Boateng, 2013)

And the success of this station is that outputs “real news all day instead of a million commercials”, (Boateng, 2013) causing an emotion in the viewer. Therefore, the message transcends throughout the day and the news, become stories that repeat or tell their friends and family. It becomes a trend.

With regard to education, it is certainly a great achievement that universities worldwide recognition as “Carnegie Mellon University, Georgetown University, Viriginia Commonwealth University, Weill Cornell Medical College and Texas A & M University.” (Boateng, 2013) Have opened offices in Qatar, but, likewise, this is in progress. Lack to sell the idea to the world that Qatar is synonymous with educational excellence. If people do not know it, the investment does not generate the final objectives.

Now, Qatar has the support of the superpower in some areas, and more education. (Boateng, 2013) Given its territory the best universities in the world, it must present to the world. So people can see and decide what is best for them. But your idea already has its own credentials. People may be interested in Qatar, to compare the quality of education regarding their country.

They have to make alliances with other universities in Europe, although it could be a bit complicated, the constraints imposed by the European Union. Later, they try to keep their culture alive, but it would be feasible. It is also necessary that the tool Use the “trade” cultural and linguistic. To promote the country and simultaneously, people convey the message to their countries.

Within the international agenda of Qatar, is visible in its support foreign aid. Incredibly, Qatar has issued loans from one billion to three billion dollars to its neighbors. And all this is due to the law of reciprocation, “today’s aid beneficiary is a potential future ally” (Cialdini, R. B., 2008) and while Qatar is accepted in those territories.

“Sociologists and anthropologists indicate that the reciprocity law is a human norm, no one is exempt from it. It is very powerful, Qatar already took the first step, and  in the future the rules can spur unequal exchange”. (Cialdini, R. B., 2008)

Everything has a reason! Tunisia and Egypt have a need, and Qatar arrives in time. But if you ponder, a few minutes, and think, what interest does Qatar by those neighbors? In the case of Tunisia, there is a social and legal factor. Months after independence, laws were established in family law such as the prohibition of polygamy, the institution of monogamous marriage, suppression of rejection and the establishment of legal divorce. Tunisia has been one of the Islamic countries has developed more strongly favorable to the emancipation of women legislation. This situation corresponds to the interests of the sponsor Qatar. Why not think that in the future, Qatar propose a law where women are included in society, in politics, and particularly to have access to education. It will need support.

  And consequently the interests of Qatar, in education for example “the literacy rate is 93 percent and 88.6 percent of girls are able to read and write, which is the highest percentage in the world Arab” (Boateng, 2013). They are pioneers in a silent revolution of Arab women. Obviously, there are three years of the overthrow of Ben Ali, and structural problems have not changed (inflation, taxes, agreements with the IMF, the corrupt bourgeoisie, etc.).

In the case of Egypt, it was the perfect place to “influence Egyptian politics and at the same time ingratiating himself with the Egyptian public opinion in the post-Mubarak era time. According to Nye “shaping public opinion becomes even more important when authoritarian governments have been replaced by new democracies.” (Boateng, 2013)

“Also, Qatar’s indiscriminate humanitarian assitance could yield strong foreing relations dividends from the recipient goverments and countries in the foreeable future”. (Boateng, 2013)


Another challenge to have to face Qatar, is hatred or rather a rejection in the region:

“As a result of recent investments by Qatar. In the Middle East, there are murmurings against Qatar for the purchase of the fall of Gaddafi, among others. After starting waving Qatar for its role in the overthrow Arab dictators, Libyan protesters burned the flag of Qatar for funding the Muslim Brotherhood there. After giving Egypt $ 3 billion dollars, some Egyptians burned the flag of Qatar and accused the government of selling the country to Qatar”. (Boateng, 2013)

As is well known, the concept of traditional diplomacy evolved. Allowing make fundamental approaches in this field. For example, “listening” is not working, as quoted above, there are murmurs about “resentment” towards Qatar. It must be measured against and attack, but primary sources. For Qatar, it seems that sees the U.S. report, and has not been concerned with analyzing its image in the region and its neighbors. (Cull, 2009)

For example, in “advocacy” and international broadcasting” (Cull, 2009)Qatar has handled it very well, Qatar “is now synonymous with the famous Aljazeera brand is now universally recognizable.” (Boateng, 2013) This country has achieved “exercise soft power influenced by promoting their ideals or values ​​that depends largely on its ability to promote the usefulness of the proposed ideal medium through which the public trust derives its information goal”. (Cull, 2009)

 Undoubtedly Aljazeera is achieving the objective. Now people talk about the station, documentaries, and series all that helps. And indeed it is an action that produces a double effect. Positions the country, And This Greatly influences the masses, changing the mindset of people and consequently their attitude As H. Clinton told Congress in 2011,

“The growing influence of Aljazeera” we are winning the battle, we need more money in this project, because they are not winning the war. War? If the correct term would be the “information war. In fact the audience is on Al Jazeera the United States because it is real news”. (Boateng, 2013)

And it is! Al Jazeera is revolutionizing because first is the space for minorities to express their point of view in the Arab World. That’s why his ovation from the masses. And he is doing through “The View and the other point of view”. (Boateng, 2013) It’s the first, informative work that is actively promoting the interests not only of a peninsula but is the voice of the region. So, this has gotten to unimaginable acceptance among people.

Being that voice, “no more abuse of power, outside dictatorships” (Boateng, 2013) regionally is a novelty that a station is spokesperson of this message, and desire of many. Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Syria are the future of Qatar project. Influence them, and convey the message of “fighting for the liberty” to become a democracy. (Boateng, 2013)

Another aspect of influence, which is making Al Jazeera. It is the change in philosophy toward the Muslim. Later, in the West since the S11, all Muslims are baptized with the stereotype of “terrorists.” The recent acquisition of Current TV Al Jazeera Aljazeera offers the possibility of winning some 40 million customers in Latin. (Boateng, 2013)

  And they also are internally working on it, because in that culture there is a rejection of the West, by religion, culture, war by the U.S., and to make serious inroads, it is challenging precisely “the stereotype that globalization should not be mean Westernization”. (Boateng, 2013)

The expectation of this great project is that it changes the way of thinking both locally and internationally. Aljazeera, now has the ability to transmit millions of homes in America, will be a “long way”.  But if it can change the way of thinking and acting of Americans toward Muslims and the Middle East in general it will be a novelty. It will “be the first time that a smaller country through the power of his media empire is soft power influence in the world’s superpower”. (Boateng, 2013)

As for cultural diplomacy, has a lot of work. Qatar has to manage the international environment through its resources and making the cultural achievements Known overseas and / or Facilitating Cultural transmission abroad. (Cull, 2009) And this is possible, with a global tourist campaign, where the country promotes. For example, an international tour for a certain time, where tourists enjoy food, music, tradition, who knows that country icons (in all areas). But this could also be achieved with commercial brands, overall leadership, and so it is important to define its international role Qatar.

Right now that Qatar has the ability to invest globally, be positive that melts in America and Europe cultural agencies and sells exchanges or language schools where you can learn the language and cultural events continually present: books, music, art, etc. It is an ambitious project. But the challenge is also internally, Qatar should create icons to identify you and above all its citizens love him. For example, in Mexico, citizens feel very proud to have the “mariachi“, Argentina and Brazil football is their best presentation to the world. They are proud of their nationality, even when there are internal problems. People forget it with sports, and the best unites the nations. Not for nothing, Mandela used rugby as a tool in his time.

For the exchange diplomacy, again as directed, it is necessary to establish these cultural agencies in the world, people will understand that the support and the opportunity to achieve their dreams. (Cull, 2009) Agencies should promote cultural exchanges, linguistic, professional internships and exploit the area of education. Sell ​​the idea that “universities of excellence worldwide now are based in Qatar.” That certainly going to be a boom, because the country is selling image, quality, and inviting other countries to send their students to Qatar. Qatar is also necessary to invite international companies to invest in research and development in these universities. It will be a plus in the long term.

In conclusion, I think, J. Nye is a genius, soft power is the art of seduction. You create a stage for people to fall for it and so you get the results. It’s amazing! In the case of Qatar has begun soft power campaign in the areas already analyzed. And no doubt, has challenges to meet, gain international acceptance, changing the paradigm that “Muslim is synonymous with terrorist” in the world. And regionally, Qatar is seen as a neutral, a country that is host to have peace negotiations. And not as an unfair country to the Arab world, which now enjoys the sponsorship of the United States.

Ironically, this “support” is strategically vital. United States put its flag in Qatar, otherwise colonize. I mean, on every continent, America has created “neutrals” to control, influence and help monitor the regions. For some reason, there is a Panama in Latin America or Switzerland after the Second World War. Qatar, in a way it’s enjoying the privileges given as Panama. The taxation, its citizens do not pay taxes. What makes it more attractive to the world!

Qatar is investing in sport, but only as a brand. When it should build its football team, it would be an icon of nationalism. Attracting the best minds, scientists, doctors etc, to develop new products, medicines will be a help to Qatar. It must become trend. When people listen Qatar, is synonymous with innovation, development and trend. So, the world will always be attentive to the actions of Qatar.

And finally the biggest challenge, Qatar should practice what he preaches. Has to solve its structural problems, internal problems are not a good image to the world. As Nye notes that “The reputation and credibility of a state or group that seeks to influence-power also soft matter mostly due to the “paradox of plenty





Boateng, O. A. (2013, November). The Rise ofQatar as a Soft Poer and The Challenges. European Scientific Journal, 9.N°.31, 350- 368.

Cialdini, R. B. (2008). Influence: Science and practice. (5th ed). USA: Pearson Education.

Cull, N. J. (2009). Public Diplomacy: Lessons from the Past. Southern California: Figeroa Press.

Heath, C. H. (2007). What Stick? In C. H. Heath, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die (pp. 3- 164). United States: Random House.

Nye, J. (2005). Soft Power:The The Means to Sucess in World Politics. Public Affairs.


Autora: Paola Rodríguez

Egresada de Ciencias Políticas y Relaciones Internacionales de la Universidad de las Américas Quito, Ecuador. Realizó su pasantía en el Observatorio Legislativo. Alumni de la Asociación internacional de estudiantes de Ciencias Económicas y Comerciales de la Universidad San Francisco de Quito. Participó en diversos modelos de Naciones Unidas y Modelo Conferencia Ecuador a nivel inter-universitario.

Ha realizado voluntariado en causas benéficas como el cáncer infantil, la deforestación y la protección animal. En el año 2013, ejecutó el proyecto “Impacta Hoy” que busca proveer a los niños   herramientas teóricas y prácticas que les permitan ser unos agentes de cambio para la sociedad en Ecuador. Ha desarrollado alianzas estratégicas de cooperación con las principales empresas nacionales e internacionales, ONGs y universidades del Ecuador. Presidenta del Comité Organizador del Seminario de Motivación y Formación para los nuevos miembros de la organización de AIESEC USFQ 2014.



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