Maria Fernanda, a Mexican living and working in Qatar, and wife of Former Panama’s ambassador here, shares her insights into Qatar and its culture. Her arrival in Qatar began with a glittering wedding celebration, where she was immediately enveloped by Qatari culture—a culture she has gone on to embrace with enthusiasm.
Fernanda is an engaging interviewee who opens up to Dunes Magazine about life in Qatar, what led her here, her work, and future plans. She even shares her favorite Arabic word …
1. First tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a 28-year-old Mexican woman in love with life, nature, my family, and Qatar.
I studied Finance in Mexico and then did my Masters in Business Administration in Turkey, where I lived for almost six years while my father was serving as a Diplomat. Previously, l lived in the US, Spain, Turkey, and Mexico.
2. How did you choose Qatar?
People always ask me, how a Mexican, married to a Panamanian she met in Istanbul ends up living in Qatar? I am sure it was written in my destiny to live here, Maktub.
I met my husband when he was serving as Panama’s Ambassador to the State of Qatar, so that’s why I came here. He had lived here for almost three years; the passion with which he spoke to me about the country that he was living in, made me want to know everything about it.
Ever since I was growing up in Mexico I admired Sheikah Moza Bint Nasser, so more than me choosing Qatar, I take it as a dream come true. Here we can observe and learn from the best, and I always say: Qatar, is the best place to be.
3. Can you tell us more about the TV episodes about Qatari culture?
The Ministry of Culture and Sports in the State of Qatar has a cultural body under its umbrella called the “Qatari Forum for Authors.”
Our TV episodes are weekly segments presented on the YouTube channel and social networking sites of the Qatari Forum for Authors, in which we discuss various topics about Qatari culture and heritage, by introducing books written by Qatari and non-Qatari authors. The episodes address non-Arabic speakers inside and outside Qatar and all members of society.
The episodes aim:
To introduce Qatari culture and heritage and encourage people to get to know the State of Qatar.
To implement the strategy of the Ministry of Culture and Sports and its values in Qatar, in order to foster openness towards others, and promote dialogue and understanding between people all over the world.
To present positive contributions from those who live inside Qatar and express their love by their actions.
Recently we also started to record the videos in Spanish, which is my mother language.
4. How did you learn about Qatari culture and who helped you?
I am incredibly lucky to say that one of the first places that I went the first time I came to Doha was to the Ministry of Culture and Sports, there, I not only met one of the most professional and well-organized teams I have ever seen, but I also got to meet my new family. The team from the Ministry of Culture and Sports have guided me ever since the first day that I came here, the day we all celebrated one of the most beautiful events of my life—my wedding.
5. Tell us something you learned from Qatari culture that you consider your favorite.
Tolerance and acceptance of diversity, Qatar is a country with more foreigners than nationals and yet we all manage to live here peacefully and in harmony.
Also, I love the value and respect that is given to older people and to their family name; legacy here is everything.
6. Are you planning to write your own book? If so, what would it be about?
Yes, I am; actually we are in the process of writing it. The inspiration came from the team at the Ministry of Culture and Sports, they are a true example of women’s empowerment.
7. What is your greatest achievement and what is your dream?
Thank God, I believe I am just starting; this is only the beginning.
I would say that my greatest achievement has been to stay strong and become stronger day by day; fighting for what I have worked for and protecting it.
My dream, is to be able to share as much as possible.
My husband and I always say that: Power, is the ability to help others.
8. Favorite place in Qatar?
When someone said the phrase “You’ve got the best of both worlds” I think they were referring to Doha. In every corner you can find tradition, culture, and heritage while the city is also at the highest level in terms of modernity, innovation, and sustainability.
MIA Museum, Education City, and Qatar National Museum are definitely my favorites.
9. Favorite Arabic word?
Maktub (means fate or destiny). I actually learned it in an article from one of my husband’s books. In other words, it means to trust in the path that God has written for you.