Name: Pınar Mısırdal Aktepe.
Where are you from? Istanbul, Turkey.
How long have you been in Qatar? Since October, 2016, so only three months.
Why did you move to Qatar? I just wanted a change in my life.
What are you passionate about? Always coffee. Coffee is my freedom. I feel so good when I'm a barista. When I first started, I just wanted to make money, but now this is my life. I have come second place twice in coffee competitions in Turkey. I want to be first and represent my country worldwide. I believe in the power of the cup.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? It's actually too early to say, but I miss my family, so I've learnt how big my family in Istanbul is in my life.
Why do you want to be part of this project? Because this project is a like a book for me. There are different lifestyles, countries, people and cultures. I'm contributing to this contribution to learn and grow.
Name: Mercedes Beatriz Pérez De Obanos Bas.
Where are you from? I was born in Maracay, Venezuela to Spanish parents. I moved to Caracas, the capital, in July 1972. I then moved to Waterford, Ireland in July 2003.
How long have you been in Qatar? I came to Doha in February 2008.
Why did you move to Qatar? After emigrating to Ireland, due to political problems in my own country, I wanted to regain my experience in oil and gas in order to help rebuild Venezuela when I had the chance to move back.
What are you passionate about? My Family and dancing.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? That in the most difficult moments when you think you are done, there is always God putting angels around you helping to lift the heaviest loads. It doesn't matter which country you're in and it doesn't matter the nationality or religion, there are always good people helping, like angels. Those are signs of God always there for you.
I have seen in the news military attacks between Jews and Muslims (both sides) and terrorist attacks between Christians and Muslims (both sides), but I can't understand how some people with such religions, passionately dislike each other in the name of their religions - even though our God is the same (in the Bible, the Quran and the Torah). I came to realise this being here in Doha. I've never thought about it before.
Why do you want to be part of this project? I want to be part and support groups that care about people and create awareness that everybody is equal. I admire people who take time in their lives to do something for it. Usually we keep so busy, that we end up doing nothing; so taking a few minutes to support, is a real pleasure. I wish you the best luck!!!!
Name: Sebastián Santoni Pérez De Obanos
Where are you from? Venezuela & Spain
How long have you been in Qatar? Since March 2008.
Why did you move to Qatar? Because my mum found a job here.
What are you passionate about? I am very passionate about language and literature. In terms of language, I speak English and Spanish fluently and am learning Arabic and French. I love learning languages and want to speak at least three fluently once I am an adult. I also love literature in English and Spanish and am passionate about writing. I write short stories, poetry and I'm beginning to write a few novels. I use writing to express myself and create a world in which anything can happen and my dreams can come true.
I am also passionate about debating and public speaking. I participate in the World Scholar's Cup competition and I am currently preparing for the Doha round this week. Last year, I came 12th in debating in Qatar and hope to improve in the future.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? To appreciate what is rare. I learned this in Qatar especially because I appreciate the small amount of rain that falls from the sky every so often along with cherishing all of the time I spend with my closest friends as many have left in the past.
Why do you want to be part of this project? Because I want people to know that everyone is similar on the inside and that we should turn the walls that separate us into bridges to open new opportunities for all of us and make our lives better overall.
Name: Jan den Dulk.
Where are you from? Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.
How long have you been in Qatar? Since November 2009.
Why did you move to Qatar? I had a good offer from a very good company.
What are you passionate about? Family, environment, hockey and travelling.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? Patience. All aspects of life in Qatar are different than back home.
Why do you want to be part of this project? I heard an interview with Mohammed on Doha Heat and the project sounded very interesting.
Name: Laxmi Prasad Timilsina.
Where are you from? I am from Madi, #Nepal - the mountainous country, which has lots of cultural and natural heritage, as well as the tallest mountain in the world.
How long have you been in Qatar? I have been here one year. I move to Qatar in March 2016 from Dubai for a better opportunity.
Why did you move to Qatar? Everybody has the opportunity to improve themselves. Qatar is a fast developing country, so there are big opportunities for a better life.
What are you passionate about? Espresso machine grinder tamper and of course coffee. I have gone through so many barista championships whilst working at Gloria Jean’s coffee, including the 2008 Barista Championship in Dubai. During the same year, I achieved 2nd place in the Gloria Jean's Coffees International Barista Competition.
In 2009, I went to Egypt for the regional barista championship and got 2nd place. In 2013, I competed in the UAE National Barista Championship. Taking part in these competitions is what makes me happy.
A good cup of coffee doesn’t happen without a passionate barista; that's what I believe.
What would you say is the biggest life lesion you have learned since moving to Qatar? Since I moved to Qatar, one thing I have realised is, if you have beautiful eyes, then everything you see is beautiful. When you find that thing you love to do with all your heart, every day feels like a gift. If you haven’t found your passion, make it your mission to find it. The joy it brings spills over into all aspects of your life.
Why do you want to be a part of this project? Being a part of this project is an opportunity to represent my country in it, so why not?
Name: Fabiana Alejandra Flores Hernandez.
Where are you from? Caracas, Venezuela.
How long have you been in Qatar? Since 21st July 2016.
Why did you move to Qatar? I used to live in Venezuela with my mum. My dad and stepmum were living in Qatar when the situation in my country started getting very bad. Moving to Qatar was a very big decision, but I came to get better opportunities and education. Since I came here, I learnt so many things and I also got a baby brother in October 2016.
What are you passionate about? I love photography. I’m very passionate about my country and culture. Since I moved to Qatar, I got passionate about new cultures and travelling. In my class at school, I have many new friends from all over the world. My goal is to be a doctor.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? Qatar is a completely new country for me and the biggest life lesson is that you need to always be yourself and be proud of who you are and what you believe in; that you can’t pretend to be someone else that you are not just to get accepted because if the people love you, it has to be because of your personality and not because of who you are trying to be, or what you have.
Why do you want to be a part of this project? I love travelling and meeting new cultures and countries and I feel like this is a good opportunity to show that Qatar has people from everywhere in the world and that every culture, country and religion are unique, and you have to be proud of who you are and where you are from.
Name: Jonatan Saul Flores.
Where are you from? I was born in Caracas, Venezuela and raised in a small city called Los Teques, close to the capital of the country. In 2009, at the age of 25, I moved to the city of Delft in the Netherlands, to pursue a Masters Degree in Reservoir Geology.
How long have you been in Qatar? So far I have been living in Doha almost 3 years in total. The first eight months were from September 2012 to May 2013 and then again since November 2014, my family and I have been living here.
Why did you move to Qatar? In 2012, after working one year in the Netherlands, I was offered a position as a Geologist as part of a graduate program where I was placed first in Qatar, and then in Denmark. Once I finished the program I returned to Qatar in November 2014 and have been here with my wife and kids since.
What are you passionate about? My family, football, coding and learning.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? Moving to Qatar has continued to add to the biggest life lesson I have had since moving outside my home country. Life is full of contrasts; from scenery to culture and people. You have to be always ready to adapt, thrive and be happy in your new surroundings.
Why do you want to be part of this project? My wife heard about the project through a friend and asked me if I would like to be part of it. Initially, I was hesitant of the idea of being photographed and showcased in an exhibition. But after reading about what Mohammed wanted to accomplish with his photo project, and a bit more convincing from my wife and daughter, I decided to join it and help Mohammed to achieve his goal by representing Venezuela.
Name: Rasha Alzaman.
Where are you from? Doha, Qatar.
What are you passionate about? Sports, fashion, travelling, and drawing. As A physiotherapist, I like helping people through social media, TV, or personal consultation.
As a Qatari citizen, do you feel the diverse ethnic mix migrating to Qatar adds to Qatar's identity? Yes, because through mixing cultures, we learn and gain knowledge and skills that help our country Qatar advance more. At the same time, it gives those who are migrating here, the chance to know and understand Qatar more and eventually feel Qatar as their second home.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt? When you fall down, look forward and don't look behind. Make your dream as a target and do it. Don't keep it as a dream. Everyday is a new day. Learn from the past, don't be sad, smile often and be light to others.
Why do you want to be part of this project? I wanna become part of this project because I see it like a passage or a way for me to have the opportunity to let different nationalities see how living in Qatar would be like. It's an opportunity for me to let every nation know more about Qatar and us Qatari people living here. This project gives me the chance to help different people from different nations explore our country and let them understand how to live, interface and blend or socialise with Qatari people.
Name: Ichrak (meaning sunrise) Mellakh.
Where are you from? Rabat, the Capital of Morocco - North of Africa.
How long have you been in Qatar? I have lived in Qatar since October 2014, after I accomplished my studies in Morocco.
Why did you move to Qatar? I didn't really have a choice coming here with my family, but if I have a choice to stay I definitely would.
Qatar, in my opinion, is a very unique country, where you can just be whoever you wanna be. It's so diverse and multicultural, and as international and open as it is, it still succeeded in preserving its own traditions and ethnic aspects. This balance is one of the reasons why I respect country and its people.
What are you passionate about? As cheesy as it sounds, my passion is traveling the world. Qatar is the perfect station to fulfill and achieve my goal, which is visiting at least 5 new countries per year. Its strategic location makes it easy for us to go to Asia, and to Europe, within only a few hours. Another passion of mine is reading, which goes perfectly with my solo traveling plans.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? I would definitely say, that it changed me completely. It educated me on how to actually make an effort to get to know people, as it's a very international community, so you won't really get to know anyone unless you interact and you take the initiative to introduce yourself first. This allowed me to develop my personal social skills, and got me out of my comfort zone.
Why do you want to be part of this project? I have always been curious about other people's stories, hence why I thought I could share mine as well. I don't really appreciate classifications and divisions, which only lead to more divisions... and this is why I loved the concept of this project! We are all coming from different backgrounds and have different stories, yet end up with the very same common ground, with only so many labels and tags.
Name: Mohammed Essa AL-Darwish.
Where are you from? Doha, Qatar.
What are you passionate about? Traveling; movies; helping people overcome bullying; to inspire the young generation, to be who they are and respect the community.
As a Qatari citizen, do you feel the diverse ethnic mix migrating to Qatar adds to Qatar's identity? Definitely. I really think together we can make something special and learn from each other and even embrace our culture and tradition. The mixture of different countries migrating to Qatar help us to develop the country in multiple ways.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt? To not trust people easily. To never give up on my dreams and to stay strong and fearless in life.
Why do you want to be part of this project? I always like to support peoples' projects that have an amazing target and goal that they want to achieve and at the same time anything that has a good benefit for my country, I will always support it and try to take part in it.
Name? Vanina Moracchini.
Where are you from? A very good question. My mother is Uruguayan - from Latin America, while my father is French, originally from the island of Corsica. I have lived all my life overseas, a true daughter of an expat. A pure 'third-culture kid' some might call it. When a child is born from two different cultures (Uruguay vs France) yet lived in another third one. The third one being Asia.
I was originally born in Sharjah, as that was my dad's very first position there. The Middle East was completely different 30 years ago. From there on, we moved as a family, hoping from one city to another and learning from each culture: Sharjah, Hong Kong, Jakarta (Indonesia), Hong Kong (again), Singapore, Hong Kong (and again), Shanghai (China). When I graduated from French International System, I decided to switch systems and pursue my studies in the UK, which I absolutely loved.
How long have you been in Qatar? I am now starting my 5th year in Qatar, and I still love it. If not more. After years spent here, I have created my own circle, which is crucial for a happy life in Doha. I have my work, activities, outings, events, and learning more about myself as I go along. Since late December 2012, I have already witnessed the city go through phenomenal changes and think I will be staying for a bit longer.
Why did you move to Qatar? The main reason I wanted to move to Qatar was because I wanted to experience the region where I was born. I left Sharjah when I was 4, and never truly experienced the Middle East. Nor did I remember much. I would only see pictures and wonder what it was like then and now. So in my mid-twenties, I decided to experience the Middle East again for the first time properly by myself. So I came back. I starting doing the job hunting process as a tourist, met some friends in Qatar, and simply went from door to door with my CVS. Then I found my company and have been here ever since. Deep down I believe it was meant to be - that I was meant to come back to the region at one point.
What are you passionate about? Quite a few to mention! Art, creativity, anything handmade, traveling, exploring, live music, different nationalities, cultures and ways of living. I enjoy discovering and learning as much as I can! Even though I'm now starting my 5th year, I always manage to discover some little hidden areas of Doha. I never get bored. A new photography art exhibition in Katara. An unknown area where fresh homegrown healthy produces are cultivated. The local villas held by Qatari women who organise their own bazaars, selling beautiful Khaleej clothes and jewellery, all the while serving delicious Arabic coffee. That random hobby I didn't know I could be good at, but simply picked up because I gave it a try. Meeting people from all the corners of the world who have now become my close friends. Life. I'm passionate about Life. And all its experiences it brings us.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? I learnt that as humans our capability in adapting to different challenging environments, has to be combined with a positive attitude and faith. I met many expats who were extremely negative, complaining, homesick and simply saw the ugly side of everything. Although I can understand why they felt like that, I believe that things don't just come to you. You have to go get them. You have to put the effort in wanting to discover this little city, which has so much more to offer that what is shown on the surface. That attitude and willingness is everything.
Why do you want to be part of this project? I wanted to represent both my countries here in Doha. French people are easier to come by, but for Uruguayans- we are only about 25! Yes 25 in all of Doha. So I had to represent! We do have an embassy, which is great, and their get-together are full of 'mate' (our national drink), 'chivitos' (our type of hamburger) and simply good fun! I love that the project 'Faces of Qatar' is giving its residents an opportunity to show where they are from, their experiences, and simply share their story, through what I believe is one the most beautiful, insightful, raw and honest type of art form - photography.
By simply agreeing to have my picture taken, I was saying 'yes' to the diversity we live in. To all the different cultures, ages, religions, skin tones, rituals which makes us part of the human race. All of which we should embrace, instead of trying to tear it apart. Life would be extremely boring if we were all the same. We would not learn anything new. So here I am saying 'yes' to globalisation, mixed nationalities, love across religions, to our beautiful mix canvas which we all belong to.
Name: Hoor Salem Al Karusi.
Where are you from? Al Suwaiq, Oman.
How long have you been in Qatar? I came to Qatar on July 2006.
Why did you move to Qatar? I moved here with my family because my parents believe that life and education is better here.
What are you passionate about? I am good at drawing and I love reading novels.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? I have learnt that people are equal and we must respect all cultures.
Why do you want to be part of this project? My friend told me about the project and my mom encouraged me to participate.
Name: Blerta Xhabrahimi.
Where are you from? Tirana, Albania.
How long have you been in Qatar? Since November, 2016.
Why did you move to Qatar? I moved in Qatar for work but also to have a new experience in life. Before my dream was to go and live in Germany because i have studied German language in university and I am a big fan of German football. I have my favourite team, Bayern München and this was the place where I wanted to go. But when i applied for work in Middle East and I got a job in Qatar, I told myself that I have to try to see how is the life there. Now that I am here, I have changed my mind I think I will stay here for a long time, or maybe for the rest of my life - who knows how the life goes. I like Qatar. It is a small and quiet country. I feel myself safe and good here. I am Muslim and I have adapted very easily with the life and the culture of Qatar.
What are you passionate about? I am a friendly person. I like to get to know new people and to know new cultures. I like to travel a lot. If I had the chance, I would visit the entire world. I like to walk and listen to music - these two are my favourite hobbies. I like also to dance but i am not a fan of clubs, I don't like closed places. I love sports cars and motorbikes. I love speed but sometimes I am afraid of it also. I have visited a few places in Qatar, but my favourite place is Souq Waqif and Sealine. I love the desert, especially when you go safari with group of friends doing different things. I am a person that likes adventure and likes to enjoy the life.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? As i mentioned before, I have been here for one year and I think it's not a long time, but I have seen many things and the life here is totally different from Europe. I have learned that the life is not easy but as long as you respect the culture and people of a country, you will have a good time; you will enjoy life and it's gonna be easy for you to live in a new place sometimes away from your family. The people of Qatar are very friendly I have friends from Qatar that have helped me feel like I am home. They have helped me adapt fast with the life and the people. As a Muslim country, Qatar has little bit strict rules regarding the life and I know it's not easy to make friends from Qatar, especially if you are a girl - but still, I have made very good friends here.
Why do you want to be part of this project? I want to be part of this project because I like to have different friends from different countries and to know new cultures. I know that there are a lot of people from different places of Europe, Africa, Asia and maybe more. Sometimes when I go out, I see people who are in the company of the people of same places that they come from and I don't like this thing. Living in a new place, it gives you the chance to learn so many things about the life, but if you stay only with the same people from your own country, you will not enjoy life. I want to be part of this project to change this thing. We are all human, we have all same soul it doesn't matter the country you came from or the skin colour, we have one life we have to enjoy it all together and in the end everyone will be happy and the life will be easier.
Name: Saud Oxford.
Where are you from? I'm a mixed kid. I'm half American, half Saudi. I Have Jamaican and Pakistani roots too! (I put that in alphabetical order...J then P).
How long have you been in Qatar: Since August 2011 .
Why did you move to Qatar? I don't know. My mom knows.
What are you passionate about: Football and handwriting
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? I've learned that there are lots of nationalities in the world.
Why do you want to be a part of this project? To share with the world my background and how, as a mixed child of different races and cultures, that our home is full of love and equality.
Name: Sarah Al Motairi.
Where are you from? My father's Saudi and my mom's Pakistani/Indian/Iranian. I identify with all those backgrounds, but I don't belong to just one. I guess I'd say "ethnicity is subjective, it's about who you choose to be as a person that makes you."
How long have you been in Qatar? We moved here August 2011.
Why did you move to Qatar? I was living in New York and felt that it was time that we moved to a country that provided financial stability, sociocultural exposure, religious comfort and to be closer to family. A place that was similar to where I was raised (Saudi Arabia), but a bit more flexible and lot more accepting.
What are you passionate about? Sociocultural Anthropology. I enjoy exploring topics related to gender, theories of history, language, mass-mediated cultures, colonialism and post-colonialism. Exploring ethnic and cultural connectedness and how it affects our societies; especially in the Middle East and South Asia. Race, religion and politics.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? Life is a whole load of ups and downs. We may expect smooth sailing but the seas are not always calm.
Why do you want to be part of this project? It’s a great way to study people. As a social anthropologist (self-claimed) I find myself obsessed with the study of human beings and how we relate to societies on a global scale. Qatar encompasses my love for social/cultural anthropology. A place where people of different cultures, races and religions learn from one another, gather in harmony and love side by side. As with all societies that are diverse in nature, there comes a natural degree of conflict but in my opinion, this makes it all the more interesting. An opportunity for people to question their judgements and prejudices while exploring venues they may have shied away from in the past. This project is a perfect example of that very contradiction: the ability to love and live as one, despite our differences.
Name: Dwayne Oxford.
Where are you from? I’m from the United States, specifically New York.
How long have you been in Qatar? I’ve lived here since August 2011.
Why did you move to Qatar? I moved to Qatar to for several reasons. First and foremost, I felt the pace of the country allowed for better work/life balance. The diversity is great. Many cultures from around the world would be a great experience for the family. Most importantly, our the family can practice our Islamic faith freely.
What are you passionate about? Two things. I’m extremely passionate about building digital products and baking. I’ve recently started a small bakery called Cookie Bites that is a deep reflection of my love for baking.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? Biggest life lesson is to be patient and always trust in Allah. There were many things that were extremely difficult moving to Qatar. The beginning of the family’s journey in Qatar was tough. Eventually things got better and better. Albeit there were adverse situations, we were patient and did our best to trust in our faith. God willing things have become better with time.
Why do you want to be a part of this project? I would like to showcase to those who are viewing this project that culture comes in many different forms. Qatar, as a society is a demonstration of what can be achievable when cultures from across the planet come together to build a better life for themselves and the country. This type of human drive is something that should be cherished and celebrated.
Name: Maia Oxford.
Where are you from? Half American, half Saudi.
How long have you been in Qatar? I was born here in 2013.
Why did you move to Qatar? Because we just came on a plane.
What are you passionate about? Playing with my toys.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? I've learned letters. Lots of letters.
Why do you want to be a part of this project? Because I wanted to smile with my family.
Name: Treisy Farach.
Where are you from? I was born in Beirut, Lebanon.
How long have you been in Qatar? I have been here since February 2018.
Why did you move to Qatar? I moved to Qatar because people here appreciate the fact that you worked hard to get a master's degree. I did my masters in Coventry, United Kingdom. Right after I graduated, I went job hunting in my home country.
Unfortunately, even though I love Lebanon so much, it’s not a good place for a fresh graduate. And here I am, working as a personal trainer, in a 7-star beach resort with lovely people, having a wonderful time and enjoying Qatar.
What are you passionate about? I love sports, music and a healthy lifestyle. Watching series is my weakness (F.R.I.E.N.D.S). I’m not a “people person”. I’m fond of anything that comes from the sea.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learned since moving to Qatar? I believe that there are so many people like me, searching for people like me. Being Lebanese, Greek and Armenian, holding 3 diverse cultures, makes is difficult for me to live in a mono-cultural society. I find people from diverse backgrounds, different lifestyles, diverse cultures and different religions, interesting and worth spending my precious time with. Until now, I’ve met so many people like that here in Qatar and I think that’s what makes this country exciting.
Why do you want to be part of this project? I want to be part of this project because finding people who are just like me, learning from them about other cultures and traditions and strengthening my ability to understand others and respect their way of thinking is something priceless.
Name: John Richard Christopher.
Where are you from? I’m from Indonesia. My hometown is Pontianak city (West Borneo). I’ve also lived in Bandung city (West Java) for 8 years for study and work.
How long have you been in Qatar? Since November 2017.
Why did you move to Qatar? Actually, I didn’t plan to move to Qatar. I initially planned to go to Australia to gain more knowledge and find a mentor to further improve my knowledge in coffee. While I’m waiting for the visa interview, a man tells me about a job vacancy in Qatar, So I thought why not apply. I soon forget about it as three months pass and I didn’t hear anything.
One day, a Qatari number is calling me on my phone. When they gave me the offer, I did think what could I learn whilst there, as I was not familiar with the coffee culture in the Middle East. After doing some research, I see that the Turkish barista champion is working for them. This made me think that it will be a great opportunity to learn from the champion herself. Now I’m here.
What are you passionate about? Coffee, coffee and coffee.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? The biggest life lesson is probably to be a really patient person. I have realised there is a huge cultural difference between Qatar and Indonesia.
I can say people in Indonesia are, in some ways, friendlier, but in the end, not everything is going to happen the way you want it to. I’m just always grateful for the smallest daily blessings. You have a purpose from God - you are where you are for a reason.
Why do you want to be a part of this project? Because i think this project is a great way for different people from different nations and different backgrounds to share different perspectives.
Name: Kristina Bakhtoiarova.
Where are you from? I was born and grew up in the small town of Luhansk, Ukraine.
How long have you been in Qatar? Only since June 2018, but it feels like years.
Why did you move to Qatar? I never pass up on an opportunity to change my life. Ukraine is a beautiful country and I really love it, but I was just looking for a place where I’d be able to learn about our world through the people. And I found it here in Doha.
What are you passionate about? My passions are coffee and altruism. This is my big universe. Some people can’t even imagine how huge, complicated and sometimes unfair the coffee industry is. Everything begins on the plantations, in third world countries, where the farmers, sometimes, don’t even get to try their own product.
The coffee world has showed me a way to make this world better. One day I’ll find a way to prove to everyone that coffee is not just coffee.
What would you say is the biggest life lesson you have learnt since moving to Qatar? I don’t belong to any religion, but Qatar taught me to pray.
Why do you want to be a part of this project? Every now and then, everyone should being asking themselves, where am I and what am I doing with my life? This project gave me a chance to do that. Certainly, I believe that this experience will bing new people and possibilities into my life.