Name: Gabriela Bassi.
Where are you from? I was born and brought up in Bulgaria; however, chasing better opportunities I settled in the UK in my late teens, where I was residing till I moved to my third home - Qatar.
How long have you been in Qatar? We arrived in Qatar in August 2015. It has been just over a year, but yet the kind of people we've met and the things we've experienced since moving here, have made it an experience, more real and meaningful than any other experience I have ever had.
Why did you move to Qatar? I am a firm believer that everything in life happens at the right time for the right reason, but this should not be mistaken for the notion, ‘wait for the right opportunities’ - we create them! My husband applied for a job in Doha. To me the name Qatar was known not necessarily for the right reasons and heavily loaded with blues on a personal level. Qatar was the country that would keep my dad away from us for up to six months a year due to his offshore job and I guess the last place to settle in, if you have made it in the West. When the job call came, knowing almost nothing about the place, we took up the opportunity because deep inside, we knew something amazing was going to come out of this new challenge and culture and we were absolutely right!
What are you passionate about? I've been passionate about different things at different stages in my life! At this stage of my life, it seems the most important thing to me is, rather than just being passionate about something, it is what I do with that passion that is important. I only started feeling this way in Qatar after seeing so many people leave their countries and office jobs in order to follow their passions. I am passionate about achieving more in whatever it is I do. I put my heart into everything I do.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? Ibn Battuta once said, "Travelling - it leaves you speechless, then it turns you into a storyteller". Despite the media in Qatar not being in full force, I have met many consciously aware people who have a genuine care for different topics related to society, the environment and animal welfare. Qatar broke many stereotypes I had about Islam and I love the fact that I can discuss and speak openly about the religion on its merit.
Qatar is teaching me lessons every day by giving me the chance to co-exist with people who live at the edge of poverty, which helps me not lose touch with reality. The ‘Qatar’ I knew from my dad’s stories just materialised. I saw my dad’s office for the very first time – an oil tanker and trust me, this is a great deal if in the 90s you had to wait for over a month just to receive a paper letter in a village somewhere in Bulgaria. Whether it changed some of my previous perceptions, or helped me strengthen the philosophy I already had, Qatar just pulled me in and somehow allowed me to call it home, which, without a doubt, will later translate into aspects of my personality rather than just a lesson learnt!
None of this was intentional of course. It came long after I arrived here and it has something to do with the trust I have placed in God’s grace.
Why do you want to be part of this project? Because this project is part of me! I consider myself a citizen of the world and I strive for knowledge, tolerance, consideration, freedom, humanity and work for the public’s common interest. What ‘Faces of Qatar’ is really is showing we live in a beautiful hub of ethnic diversity that allows us to stand next to each other and evolve together regardless background, citizenship, colour or religion.
Name: Arlette Mangion
Where are you from? I'm originally from #Malta. I lived there from birth until I was 19. I then moved to London and lived there for 5 years before moving to Qatar.
How long have you been in Qatar? I've been here just over 3 years. I arrived in August 2013.
Why did you move to Qatar? After I finished my degree in London, I spent my last 2 years just doing freelance work to get teaching experience. London seemed like the best place to be at the time, but after those 2 years I wanted something different. A new country. A new adventure. A new challenge. My partner at the time was moving out here. I had heard of Qatar but wasn't sure exactly where it was so I went looking for it on google maps. I found it and just thought yeah why not.
What are you passionate about? DANCE! It has been the love of my life for as long as I can remember. I teach RAD Ballet here in Qatar and I'm also part of a Bollywood company. I have also tried Pole Dance and Hip-Hop out here in Doha. I'm passionate about any dance style. I'd never turn down an opportunity to try something new or even join a class in something I've done before. Its such a good feeling to push myself and test my comfort zone.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? Hmm.. biggest life lesson.. well firstly I've learnt a lot about myself. I've learnt that I can do much more than I thought I could. I always thought managing classes and doing all the admin behind the teaching was a no-no for me and that I just wasn't the right person for it nor capable.
Originally, when I moved out here, I wanted to join a school and just take orders and teach classes. I soon found myself running my own classes, doing the admin, putting up shows, organising exams, editing music, sewing costumes...the list is endless. When I look back, I know that I could never have imagined myself being able to do all that alone, but I have and I'm still doing it and I'm proud of what I've achieved.
Why do you want to be part of this project? I think the creation of this project is perfect for Qatar as everyone is so diverse with their background, cultures and beliefs. I can't think of any other place in the world where I've met so many people from different places. Truly wonderful people too. Everyone is so nice, so easy to talk to and so helpful. I guess I'm thankful for the opportunity to be part of this project and I'm so pleased about the fact that I'm the first Maltese person to do it too.
Name: Lucia Alberto
Where are you from? I'm from Lisbon, Portugal
How long have you been in Qatar? I've been here since August 2013.
Why did you move to Qatar? The main reason was the career opportunity, but it turned out to be more than just that; it has become a continuous multi level growth, a journey through different cultures and ways of life - a lifetime adventure.
What are you passionate about? I am passionate about art in all its expressions, either created by nature or man-made.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? The biggest life lesson I have learnt here is the respect for the different. Ever since I arrived, I have met people from all corners of the world, which makes Doha this melting pot of different cultures and nationalities and the curious thing is that, in the end, we all have some 'common ground' that, somehow, connects us.
Why do you want to be part of this project? I was fascinated by the project and ultimately by the outcome.
Name: Eyob Gezahgen
Where are you from? Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
How long have you been in Qatar? I moved here in January, 2009.
Why did you move to Qatar? I moved to Qatar to find new professional opportunities and get more skills and experience. Before coming to Qatar, I had my own business in aluminium and metal work engineering and design within my own workshop. Arriving in Qatar I worked in totally different settings - I started working in Souq Waqif as a salesmen at the spice market and with my earnings started my own Limousine company.
What are you passionate about? I'm fascinated by meeting new people from different cultures and background - sharing experiences is the for me the best way to grow. Also I really enjoy spending my free time watching adventure movies.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? That would have to be perseverance - never give up when you are going after something that really matters to you
Why do you want to be part of this project? Being part of a group where interaction is at the centre of what we do.
Name: Omer Mohammad.
Where are you from? I am Pakistani in origin. Raised in Qatar and Canada.
How long have you been in Qatar? I was born in Qatar. I've lived here for a total of 18 years.
Why did you move to Qatar? My parents moved here in 1987 and decided to move to Canada in 1997. We moved back as a family in 2005.
What are you passionate about? I am passionate about photography and ways that art and other creative work can bring people together.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? The biggest life lesson I've learned in Qatar is that God knows best. There have been countless situations where I've wanted something to happen and it didn't work out, and it turned out to be for the best and other things that have worked out and that's the best as well. God knows best and trust in God.
Why do you want to be part of this project? I want to be part of this project because I see it as a way to bring people together. By learning about one another, we become part of an ever increasing global village in which we understand each other, respect each other, and ultimately love one another.
Name: Aydın Patrick Connor.
Where are you from? Turkey and Scotland.
How long have you been in Qatar? Eight years.
Why did you move to Qatar? I was born here.
What are you passionate about? I want to become a pilot.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? Friends make me happy.
Why do you want to be part of this project? I like Qatar. I want to see my photo in the book.
Name: Olcay B. Connor.
Where are you from? Istanbul, Turkey.
How long have you been in Qatar? I have been in Qatar since April, 2003.
Why did you move to Qatar? Relocated due to husband's new job.
What are you passionate about? Learning new skills.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? Life is short. Enjoy your life. Balance work and family, express gratitude to your parents and drink plenty of water!
Why do you want to be part of this project? Because Qatar is our home!
Name: Claudia Regina Muñoz
Where are you from? I am from Guatemala, a beautiful Central American country full of a wide nature contrast, from Volcanoes, lakes, rivers to small patches of desert.
How long have you been in Qatar? I have been in Qatar since December 2005. Almost 11 years now!
Why did you move to Qatar? We came to Qatar pursuing my husband's pilot career growth, the whole family, my husband and 3 kids and even though it was our first expatriation it has been the most exciting adventure so far.
What are you passionate about? I love to travel! And location wise, Qatar is a flight away from all over the world, so I have been enjoying our location and of course my husband's staff tickets.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? Living in this multicultural country with all his expats from around the world, I know now, that regardless of your country of origin, your culture or your religion , we are all alike, with similar behaviours and traditions: we all are human beings!
Why do you want to be part of this project? I want to be part of this project to proudly represent my country and in a way say " Thank you Qatar! " for letting us be part of your growing history and observing here in front row the incredible country you are becoming!
Name: Jelena Pavlovica.
Where are you from? Daugavpils, Latvia, where we have snowy winters and everyone is crazy about hockey.
How long have you been in Qatar? 9 months now. From February 2016.
Why did you move to Qatar? My husband and me wanted to travel the world before settling down in one place, so we started looking for work opportunities in several countries like China and New Zealand, when all of a sudden, he got a job offer here in Doha. Perfect timing and exactly what we were looking for. I found a job in the medical field shortly after coming here and everything just fell into place.
What are you passionate about? Travelling is definitely at the top of my list. Running is what makes me happy and what gives me a sense of accomplishment. I used to run half-marathons every summer back in Latvia and I want to carry on the tradition here as well, but in the winter months. I love nail art, crafting and baking, so I’m spending hours trying out new designs, ideas and recipes whenever I have some free time. I really enjoy all the beautiful and silly stuff you can make with your own hands.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? Ever since I came to Qatar and saw the difference in the lifestyles that people here are leading, there has been this persistent thought and a reminder to myself to appreciate what you have; be grateful and cherish every day of your life.
Why do you want to be part of this project? In these uneasy times with so many political and national conflicts, a lot of people are feeling out of place and unwelcome. This project can show the world that while being so different, all of us have found a home in this multi-cultural community.
Qatar is an amazing example of how a local population can accept and welcome people from all over the world and how easily expatriates can fit and find happiness in a society that is completely foreign to them.
Name: Jurijs Pavlovics (Yuri).
Where are you from? Daugavpils, Latvia - a small and proud European country.
How long have you been in Qatar? I moved to Qatar almost one year ago, in the middle of November 2015. Time moves fast. I can't believe it's already been one year in the land of sun, without clouds!
Why did you move to Qatar? I got an unexpected opportunity to work for the FIFA World cup 2022 and to be part of the Supreme Committee team. It is a great experience to see how Stadium works are progressing and to be one of the first to know what the Stadiums will look like.
What are you passionate about? I am passionate about water activities, especially scuba diving. I hope to use my time in the Gulf to explore this activity more.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? Everyone is so far away from home and as a result we are looking for new friends. I didn't expect everyone to be friendly and open; this makes life in Qatar much easier. Also, I didn't expect that air-conditioning can be your best friend.
Why do you want to be part of this project? I heard that I will be famous right? But to be serious, it is great to see the diversity of people in Qatar and to see what we have in common.
Name: Mario Emiliano Gamarra Jordán.
Where are you from? I'm from Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
How long have you been in Qatar? I've been here since February 2012.
Why did you move to Qatar? I moved because my daddy found a better job.
What are you passionate about? I like to be with my family and do fun things.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? To see different countries and to know much more about Qatar.
Name: Leticia Jordan.
Where are you from? I am from Cochabamba, Bolivia, which is in the centre of South America. Bolivia is a vibrant multi-ethnic country and it is positioned as one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world. The latter is due to its diverse geography. Its landscape varies from west to east. Starting from the highland of the Andes Mountains, going through valleys and arriving at the vast lowlands with tropical rainforests. Bolivia is commonly described as the Tibet of America.
How long have you been in Qatar? I have been in Qatar since February 2012.
Why did you move to Qatar? We moved to Qatar because my husband had a new opportunity in his career. This is our second country abroad. Before we lived in Peru for four years. We arrived here with a lot of emotions and expectations of new experiences.
What are you passionate about? I love to share time with my husband and my four sons. I enjoy having warm conversations with my friends. I love to read, write, study and learn new things. I take joy in reflecting and thinking critically about different important topics.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? I think the biggest life lesson was understanding a culture that is so different from my own. To understand the complex Qatari culture along with the mix of cultures that other people bring with them to this country has been very rewarding and worthwhile. Definitely my horizons of what is meaningful to other human beings has expanded, and I have gain new perspectives on what it means to be human. I think this has had a palpable effect on making me and my family more flexible, empathetic and comprehensive in our everyday relationships with other people. I guess at the end of the day, what is important to remember is that we are all individuals with different concerns, feelings, joys, sorrows, hopes, struggles and backgrounds.
Why do you want to be part of this project? I want to be a part of this project because I would like to help to show the multicultural population of Qatar, that is, to represent my country in this multifaceted mosaic.
Name: Milagros Raygada Hallett.
Where are you from? Ica, Peru.
How long have you been in Qatar? We first moved here in October, 2000, but we were moving back and forth. We finally settled here in 2003.
Why did you move to Qatar? I move to Qatar after my husband transferred here for work.
What are you passionate about? I actually learned Arabic, which is not something expats do that often. Learning Arabic helped me better understand the local culture. I learned Arabs are very kind people, especially the Qataris. The Qataris love learning about other cultures, but at the same time, they want us to respect theirs, just as we would like them to respect ours.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learned since moving to Qatar? My biggest life lessen was to learn about different cultures, languages and personalities. I have been here for so long and done so many things.
Why do you want to be a part of this project? I want to be part of this project because I want people to know that all of us have something in common - we came for the same reason.
We may meet different people, but we have the same experiences as expatriates. I have some Qatari friends who speak English and Spanish with me. I want people to know that we should learn to live in this country, as if it is ours and to tell those who are about to move here, that they have nothing to fear. This place is a blessing. I love Qatar.
Name: Sarah Suliman.
Where are you from? Arrabeh village - Jenin, Palestine.
How long have you been in Qatar? All my life, my family moved here in 1980.
Why did you move to Qatar? My parents lived in Kuwait, then my father got a good job opportunity and decided to move here.
What are you passionate about? Animals, volunteering and travelling - equally.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learned since moving to Qatar? I once read a quote: "No matter how long you preach to me about your religion and its ethics, I will not believe you until I see your driving, your treatment to servants, your respect for lines, your compassion towards animals and your appreciation of mother nature!"
I see this phrase in people in front of me everyday, both positively and negatively.
Why do you want to be a part of this project? I am very fascinated by cultures. I love the diversity that different cultures bring, and I enjoy discovering them and learning more about people.
The very purpose of this project attracted me; we humans need to learn more about each other. Focus less on our screens, and more on each others eyes and faces.
Name: Maysaa Almumin.
Where are you from? Kuwait City, Kuwait.
How long have you been in Qatar? Since August 2010
Why did you move to Qatar? I was the tag along spouse when my husband got a job teaching in a university here.
What are you passionate about? It changes all the time but right now, it's learning about film.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learned since moving to Qatar? It's okay to call a temporary place your home.
Why do you want to be a part of this project? In a place as transient as Qatar it's nice when a project captures and documents still moments of the people that are continuously shifting through.
Name: Amalie Modeen.
Where are you from? From Grankulla, Finland, Kuwait City and born in London, UK.
How long have you been in Qatar? Since August 2010.
Why did you move to Qatar? Father got a job teaching in a university here.
What are you passionate about? Listening to Music.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learned since moving to Qatar? Never judge anyone by reputation.
Why do you want to be a part of this project? I thought it would be nice to look at it in the future like being in a yearbook.
Name: Thomas Modeen.
Where are you from? Grankulla, Finland.
How long have you been in Qatar? August 2010.
Why did you move to Qatar? Got a job teaching at a university.
What are you passionate about? Passionate about design.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learned since moving to Qatar? In process.
Why do you want to be a part of this project? My wife said it would be a fun to be part of this project as a family.
Name: Andia Modeen.
Where are you from? Grankulla, Finland, Kuwait City and born in Kuwait.
How long have you been in Qatar? August 2010.
Why did you move to Qatar? Father got a job in a uni here.
What are you passionate about? Passionate about singing.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learned since moving to Qatar? The world is full of places I'd like to live in on account of the wonderful expat life experienced in Qatar.
Why do you want to be a part of this project? I wanted to see myself side by side with the other faces of Qatar. I have lived in the UK, Kuwait and stay long summers in Finland and each country I have felt at home. Living in a place like Qatar has been easy because of the many nationalities I've met and made friends with. Because of this I feel that faces of Qatar shows the real experience of living here.
Name: Dono Zakirova.
Where are you from? I am from Tashkent, Uzbekistan; a warm and welcoming country. Our country is very unique as it has extraordinary atmosphere of good hospitality to each person and we're always happy to see guests.
How long have you been in Qatar? I have been here for six months. I moved here in July, 2016.
What are you passionate about? I am a ballet teacher and this been my passion for over 15 years. I believe every girl must attend a lesson at least once in their life. It's hard, but it's worth it.
How long have you been in Qatar? My husband was offered a job here. We decided it would be a great experience and we really enjoy our stay here. The culture, people and history of Qatar is very interesting to me.
What is the biggest lesson learned in Qatar? The biggest lesson I learnt was to always put sun block cream every time I go outside during summer seasons as it can get very hot and the sun is a danger for the unprotected skin.
Why do you want to be part of this project? I would like to meet new people and many nationalities who are part of this project. Thank you to the creator of this great project!
Name: Sevim Gliga-Baubec.
Where are you from? I’m from Romania, originally from a town in Transylvania, called Tirgu-Mures, from a Tatar-Romanian Christian-Muslim family. When I was 17, I moved to Bucharest for university and stayed for almost 8 years until I moved to Doha.
How long have you been in Qatar? 1 year and 11 months. I remember perfectly the day I arrived - Thursday, February 19th 2015. It was the Chinese New Year, so I came on good new energy. One Sunday, I got a call from Doha asking me if I want to move in 4 days. I said “No, I have a life, a job, a house” and hung up. They said “e-mail us” if you change your mind. So, I did. It was a marathon, I packed a life spread in two cities in four days, in a suitcase…but, yes, I was in Doha by Thursday night.
Why did you move to Qatar? I should start by saying that I’m a fully qualified attorney at law, who happened to be the youngest to pass the Bar Exam in Romania, at 22, and quit my job in one of the leading law firms in my country to become a flight attendant.
Why? To travel the world and find my mission in life. To search for a spiritual awareness over a material one. To find answers to the simple questions. To find out more about myself, about life and about the world. To look for unwritten laws rather than written ones. To defeat my fears. To take a journey of patience, self-education, humility and spirituality. To take care of my soul. To change the world by changing myself. To concentrate on my writings, on people, new places and cultures. To get more from life than just comfort zone, more than the predictability of the painful routine. To find my own axis.
So I chose aviation, because what I love most about it is that, as in life, you have to save yourself first before you save others.
What are you passionate about? Obviously, travelling, but my soul project is my blog (www. queenofcontrasts.com) where I write the stories behind my travels around the world.
I read a lot and mainly choose history, psychology and travel books. I like to discover something new every day: from museums in New York City and classical music concerts in London to night clubs in Beirut. From street food in Bangkok to high end restaurants in Moscow. From the silence of my Kindle to the bustle of the busiest station in Tokyo. From exotic beaches in Cuba to a new place in Doha. And then write about it.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learned since moving to Qatar? Oh, there have been so many lessons. So far it’s been a path of continuous learning during a journey around the world at a crazy speed. It’s without doubt, the journey of my life. I learned to trust my inner feelings, my intuition and to dare to do something that feels right, that will make me grow, even against social conventions and expectations. Also, I learned to always believe in my journey, grab opportunities when they are offered, because they might never knock at my door again.
Why do you want to be a part of this project? Because I believe in destiny and I think we are all at a certain moment in a certain place for a reason. Nothing is random in this world, so I consider myself as a piece of the diverse mosaic that is Doha today.