Instilling the right values in Qatar’s youth and developing national infrastructure in a timely and cost-efficient manner are some of the most important challenges facing the country today, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamid Al Thani has said in his first annual address to the Advisory (Shura) Council.
Sheikh Tamim delivered his speech at today’s inauguration of the 42nd session of the council, which was also attended by the new Prime Minister, Interior Minister and the former Emir.
Acknowledging that Qatar’s supersonic economic growth rate is finally slowing, the Emir emphasized prudence and balance as key themes going forward, mincing no words about the country’s need to prepare its youth for a future without oil and gas wealth:
“Despite the high standard of living that we can provide, we must deal responsibly with our resources and our economy. This is not only about the next generation, but also the type of man we are keen on grooming at the present. Is he productive or just a consumer?
Social responsibility, and (not leaning toward) irresponsible extravagance are among the attributes of the human personality that we want. The Almighty said, ‘Those when they spend are not extravagant and not niggardly but hold a just balance between.'”
Sheikh Tamim also emphasized Qatar’s many achievements, including its high rankings in several international indices, including the United Nations Human Development Report and the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness rankings.
But he warned that the country’s citizens should not rest on their laurels, and instead confront the challenges ahead without hesitation. The government will do its part by increasing spending on education and healthcare, as well as working to temper rising inflations rates and the subsequent increase in the cost of living, the Emir said.
Still, he added:
“The criterion of success in the areas of human development such as health, education, culture and sports, etc., is not measured solely by the scale of investment (in which there would be no dereliction on our part, God willing), but the lesson lies in working efficiently and faithfully and in the outputs and outcomes.”
Alluding to the numerous labor abuses that Qatar has been criticized for in recent months, the Emir also asserted that the country must help the youth retain their Arab identities and culture:
“Qatari citizens have been known from time immemorial for their good morals, generosity, modesty, speaking little and working more, and championing oppressed people.
I am afraid that we fail to pass on to our young people these genuine values, the values of work, humility, and good manners, and treating others with respect, and we are keen to see that young people find meaning and purpose in their life in all this, in the light of the civilization of consumption. Our Prophet said, ‘Nothing will tip the scale heavier than good manners,’ and also said, ‘I have been dispatched to complete morals.’ Is there a goal for the upbringing and education superior to that goal?”
He also made mention of a few foreign policy goals, including helping the oppressed in Syria and Palestine.
Read the full text of his speech, according to QNA’s unofficial translation, here: