Speaker of Shura Council Affirms Significance of Maintaining, Strengthening Gulf Identity

07 May 2024

 HE Speaker of the Shura Council Hassan bin Abdullah Al Ghanim underscored the importance of safeguarding the Gulf identity which derives its strength from Arab and Islamic values, pointing out that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states have maintained their identity, albeit the persistent challenges and renaissance witnessed by the region.

This came in His Excellency's speech delivered before the inaugural panel discussion organized by the Shura Council, in collaboration with the General-Secretariat of the GCC under the theme: 'Cultural Diversity and the Challenges of Change: The Role of the Gulf Legislative Councils in Preserving the Gulf Identity'.

HE the Speaker of the Shura Council stressed the importance of strengthening and maintaining the Gulf identity, because it earns more interest on the part of think-tanks and decision makers, thanks to the increasing interest in domestic challenges arising from imbalance of demographics and external influences, global and technological advancements, and external challenges such as global incidents and cutting-edge technologies that squarely affect the Gulf identity.

The establishment of the GCC in 1981 has significantly bolstered the unified identity notion that includes religion, language, history, as well as the shared cultural and social traits among the GCC states, His Excellency pointed out. He reviewed the successes made by the GCC states in shaping the Gulf identity within a broader Arab and Islamic identity.

In addition, HE the Speaker of the Shura Council stressed the importance of continued enhancement of the Gulf identity through education, media, and family, affirming that the legislative councils of the GCC states have had a tremendous role in supporting this identity through advancing constitutional authorities and strengthening the notion of belonging.

HE Speaker of the Shura Council Hassan bin Abdullah Al Ghanim called for establishing a permanent supreme committee of the General-Secretariat of GCC states to safeguard the Gulf identity and be further assigned with providing counselling and scrutinizing the educational and media content to ensure a robust Gulf identity.

For his part, HE President of Qatar National Library Dr. Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kuwari tackled the current challenges facing the Gulf identity enhancement, commending the remarkable breakthroughs achieved by the Gulf states in the areas of scientific and economic infrastructure. He noted the overwhelming challenge of preserving the Gulf, Arab and Islamic identity given this rapid evolution.

HE Al Kuwari shed a spotlight on the notion of cultural system as a combination of values that distinguish certain group from the other, emphasizing that identity is a living entity capable of being in a state of flux over time, citing the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, which maintained its Gulf Arab Islamic identity.

His Excellency underscored the importance of the Arabic language as a core element in safeguarding the cultural identity, pointing out that the preservation of the language entails preservation of collective memory and national sentiments. He highlighted that there are massive challenges facing the Arabic language, such as the wide spread of dialects and foreign languages.

He called for the importance of working steadfastly to promote and using the Arabic language in all aspects of life and maintaining the Gulf identity as a foremost priority, emphasizing the role undertaken by the shura councils and parliaments in this field.

The panel discussions tackled the challenges facing the Arab Gulf communities due to the cultural and social changes, with a special emphasis on the importance of promoting the Gulf identity and capitalizing on cultural diversity. The objective of this convention is to highlight the shared commonalities in this identity, in addition to exchanging expertise and underscoring the role of legislative councils in this context.

The convention comes at the request of Their Excellencies speakers of the Shura councils and representatives in the 17th regular meeting of the heads of the Gulf legislative councils held in November 2023, in Doha. The meeting was chaired by the State of Qatar through which a panel discussion was organized to address a topic that pertained to one of the Gulf affairs and highlighted the role of councils.

The panel discussion was attended by HE Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Qatar National Archive Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Attiyah, HE Minister of Culture Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Hamad bin Hamad Al-Thani, several members of the Gulf legislative councils, alongside a host of academics and professionals.