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Interview with Oreste Del Rio Sandoval

Q. Tell us a little bit about yourself

My name is Oreste Del Rio Sandoval; I am from Panama and have been living in Qatar for almost 5 years, since 2015. I’m a lawyer and political science expert. I became Panama’s ambassador to Qatar in 2016, before that I was Chargé d’affaires of the Embassy. 

Living in Qatar, I have had the chance to promote the exchange of expertise in different fields such as education, culture, the commercial sector, and importantly: in cooperation. Last year (2019), I married Maria Fernanda in Qatar. We had two weddings: a civil one with 35 people and then we had an amazing gift from the Ministry of Culture and Sports to celebrate our wedding in the traditional Qatari way, more than 200 people attended.  I finished my term as ambassador in September last year, and I’m very proud to say that I’m still living in Qatar, but now, I’m working for the government of Qatar as an advisor. 

Q. How did you get into the diplomatic field?

I love politics and from a young age, I used to work with youth from different countries in Latin America. There I realized my love of exchanging knowledge and experiences in different fields for the benefit of our people. I was working on the campaign for the election of the former president of Panama H.E. Juan Carlos Varela and after he became President of the Republic of Panama,  he decided to give me the honor and privilege of joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Director of Foreign Affairs and furthermore Director of International Economic and Political Relations. It was then decided that I should go abroad and so I was appointed Economic and Political Counselor of the Embassy of Panama to the UAE and later on, one of the greatest honors of my life, I became Ambassador to Qatar. 

Q. What inspired you to write the book?

I truly believe that when we have the chance to know different cultures, behaviors, and knowledge more closely we are all called to exchange and share with our people the things we learn. That’s why I decided to write this book; thinking first to share with my region the amazing things I learned from the gulf region, particularly from this beautiful country, so this is how and this is why I wrote Warriors In Times Of Sacrifice. 

It is my humble gift to His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and to my new family: the Qatari people. 

Q. How long did it take to finish the book?

I started writing the book in August 2018 and we launched it in January 2020. The complete writing process took around one year. 

Q. Who supported you to accomplish this achievement and how?

I have been supported by a lot of people, (alhamdullillah!)—from friends and family in Panama, to universities in Europe. 

Many friends in Qatar, my wife, the President of the Pallas Arts Alvaro Mejía, Carlos Rey, Dalia Higuera, Lusail Publishing Agency, and our family from The Ministry of Culture and Sports helped to make this possible. 

Special support came from the internationally renowned artist, Olga Sinclair, mentioned by Forbes Magazine as one of the most influential women in Latin America; who did a piece of work specifically dedicated and inspired by Qatar for the cover of the book. 

Also, I had the honor of having the foreword of the book written by Doctor Mehram Kamravah, Director of the Center for International and Regional Studies of Georgetown University Qatar.

Q. To whom do you dedicate this book and why?

My Grandma Leticia, my Mom Isaura, and my wife Maria Fernanda! They are the motors of my life, the reason that pushes me to be the best version of me every day. 

Q. What is your favorite place to visit in Qatar?

There are so many beautiful places, to pick one! My wife and I enjoy the Museum of Islamic Art and the Qatar National Museum very much. But I think in Qatar it depends on the season, so I will say that I love when it’s winter and we can enjoy desert places such as Zekreet or Sea line, and in summer Katara and Mahjlis with friends! 

I’m very much impressed with the exquisite job that Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser is undertaking in Musherib as well; I love that place. 

Q. What is your next project?

We have just started our family in Qatar and I think the best project we can have in life as human beings is to be happy in our profession. Right now our goal is to keep support Qatar as much as we can to continue making our regions, cultures, and people closer. We think that being close to His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani is the best way to learn from the very best and in future, to use our knowledge to help in our countries. 

I also want to support my wife in some great ideas she has, that I love (but you will need to do an interview with her to know the details).

Q. Where can people buy the book and is there a digital version?

Warriors In Times Of Sacrifice is available in different bookstores such as Fnac and Jarir, and also on the website of Lusail Publishing Agency. 


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