One year ago, I arrived as the United States Ambassador to the State of Qatar, eager to strengthen ties between our two nations and build relationships with Qatari friends. Today, I am proud to say that our relationship is stronger than ever, thanks to our shared values, interests, and vision for the future. I wake-up every day knowing that together the United States and Qatar will have a positive, often future-defining impact on the world.
Qatar is at an important moment in its history. Our interests, bilaterally and regionally, have never aligned more closely. His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, is leading one of the most ambitious modernization efforts, propelling Qatar onto the world stage through National Vision 2030, hosting major events, investing in infrastructure, and undertaking a comprehensive military modernization program. Under His Highness’s leadership, we have seen these remarkable efforts act as a catalyst to strengthen U.S.-Qatar relations.
In the last year, I have witnessed many successes. We all celebrated the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup, which showcased Qatar’s hospitality, culture, and innovation to the world. We are excited for the 2026 World Cup in North America, and we hope to welcome many of our Qatari friends as they travel to the United States. I look forward to being there – awaiting you – with open arms. I am grateful to Qatar for sharing their valuable expertise to ensure a wonderful 2026 World Cup. Your leadership will be vital to our success.
From acting as the United States’ protecting power in Afghanistan and facilitating the safe evacuation and relocation of thousands of Afghans to its role as a mediator with Iran, Qatar has a great influence on global politics. We welcome Qatar’s pledge of support to Ukraine, which demonstrates its commitment to peace and stability in Europe. Qatar was indispensable in the recent release of wrongfully detained Americans from Iran. The Americans’ safety and freedom were secured by the tireless efforts of many, but Qatar chief among them. The first hand extended in friendship and freedom upon landing in Doha was that of Qatari Chief of Protocol His Excellency Ibrahim Fakhro. Thank you. Qatar has proven itself as a trusted ally and a vital intermediary in resolving conflicts close to home and around the world.
Economic diversification and preparing for the economy of the future is paramount to Qatar’s National Vision 2030. As we look beyond the World Cup, there are many opportunities for American businesses to contribute to Qatar’s long-term economic development. In recent years, Qatar has done impressive work to create the educational system and infrastructure to deliver on its vision to develop a knowledge-based economy. This has been done in close partnership with U.S.-based industry and academia.
The growth of educational, research, and professional exchanges is a sign of deepening relations between our countries. Tens of thousands of Qataris have already studied in the United States, a significant percentage of the Qatari population. Through partnerships and building networks with institutions, like those in Education City, we are working to increase the number of Qataris studying in the United States. These exchanges foster lifelong friendships and build bridges between our students, scholars, professionals, and frankly, our citizens. All Americans benefit from this collaboration; a story I’ve always been eager to tell.
Our security partnership has been essential over the past decade. Qatar is home to the largest U.S. military presence in the Middle East, which serves as a strategic hub for U.S. operations in the region and a major source of U.S. investment. Qatar’s security is our security. This base is critical to global efforts to counter terrorism, maintain stability, and promote regional security. Our security collaboration enhances regional safety, and American companies are playing a leading role in fortifying this security relationship.
Finally, I cherished our personal connections and bonds, especially given Qatar’s link to my home, the Gulf Coast. Qatar helped us recover and rebuild after Hurricane Katrina, which devastated my hometown of New Orleans. Qatar and its citizens saved lives and were critical in rebuilding the lives of my neighbors and family. I am grateful for your friendship and solidarity; one reason I chose to celebrate our national day by hosting many of you for Doha’s first ever Mardi Gras.
As I mark my one-year anniversary in the State of Qatar, I look forward to continuing our collaboration and dialogue; to continuing our friendship. I am, quite frankly, the luckiest Ambassador in the world to have the responsibility to ensure our relationship is ever-growing and always benefitting our shared vision of peace and prosperity. I am confident that together we can continue to achieve great things for our peoples and for the world.