Visiting the State of Qatar

Participants of the Flat Classroom Conference may find this information interesting to gain an understanding of where Qatar is and what life is like here. Qatar is one of the safest places to visit in the Arabian Gulf area. It is also a fascinating walk into history and the 21st century, with the juxtaposition of old and new lifestyles.
An interesting summary of practical information can be found on the Qatar Tourism website.

Arriving and VISA Information

The international airport in Qatar is in the city of Doha, which is where the conference is being held. Main airlines to consider: Qatar, Emirates, Etihad, British.
VISA on arrival is available for some nationalities. More details coming soon.
The Gloria Hotel, the recommended conference hotel is a 7 minute drive from the airport. Qatar Academy is a 15-25 minute drive from the Gloria Hotel, depending on traffic.


Qatar is a very safe place to visit in the Arabian Gulf. We understand that your embassy will provide travel information that asks you to be wary at all times. This is reasonable for any travel anywhere in the world these days. As part of the conference all international attendees will be provided with full transportation and be accompanied to all sight-seeing and events for the duration of the 3-day event.
It is expected that all participants will observe normal standards of conduct and be polite and respectful in public places, as you would be visiting any foreign country.

Geography and History

Qatar is a peninsula bordering Saudi Arabia. To the east is United Arab Emirates, to the west is Bahrain.
The ruling family is Al Thani. The Emir, His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani assumed power on 27th June 2005.
State of Qatar in the Middle East

Demography and Climate

The total population is about 1 million but only about 1/3 of these are citizens of Qatar. Most of the population resides in the city of Doha.
The country has a moderate desert climate with hot summers and mild winters. Rainfall is scarce. In January (the time of the Flat Classroom Conference) temperatures will range from 10 - 25 Celsius.

Do's and Dont's

Use these tips to enjoy your stay in Qatar.

Please Do
Please Don't
Use greetings and formalities as they are particularly important when dealing with Arabs.
It is considered impolite to start any conversation or request without at lease saying "Good morning" or Good afternoon".
Look or stare at people closely no matter how fascinating their dress!
Dress modestly in Qatar, which is a Muslim country with conservative dress codes. Trousers are acceptable for women, but avoid shorts, strappy low-cut tops, see-through and transparent clothes. It is best for women to not have bare shoulders or stomachs.
Ask an Arabic lady for information or directions in a public place if you are a man. Arabic ladies will be more than willing to help other females.
Bargain with shopkeepers which is the norm here in the souqs. Always counter the original offer with a lower price than you expect to pay and work slowly upwards to what you want to spend.
Be offended if your handshake is refused by a Muslim. Handshakes are most often refused to members of the opposite sex. It is not meant personally, but simply a religious prohibition applicable to other Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Drink plenty of water in addition to other beverages.
Take a photograph without permission of either people (including police or armed forces) or sensitive sites. Arabic women and many older people strongly object to being photographed.
Remember the air-conditioning, which can chill you to the bone at restaurants, cinemas and malls. Take along a light jacket or sweater as a precaution.
Be annoyed if your guest/contact is late - just remember time is more elastic in Qatar

Qatar Academy

Qatar Academy is a PreK-12 school that has adopted all three of the International Baccalaureate programs: PYP, MYP and DP. It has about 1450 students. Here is a promotional video made last year to help recruit teachers to the school.

Qatar Islamic Museum

This new Museum opened in December 2008.

The largest collection of Islamic art in the world has gone on display in the Gulf state of Qatar.
The country's new $300m Islamic art museum exhibits priceless artefacts covering over a thousand years of Islamic history.
Al Jazeera's Nicole Johnston reports.

The Museum of Islamic Art is the jewel in the crown of Qatars bid to become a cultural force in the region.
Built on a man made island the Museum of Islamic Art is a place set apart for research, learning and creativity.
Like much of Doha, the architecture is new and modern but also pays tribute to its Islamic heritage.
But it is what is on the inside that has international art historians buzzing with excitement.

More information about the museum from Doha Visitor and from the Islamic Museum Official Website

More Information

Explore these online resources for more information about Qatar: