Qatar Friendship Fund New Projects to Invest in Japan’s Youth

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Tokyo- (PanOrient News) The Qatar Friendship Fund (QFF) has announced the launch dates for two new major projects as part of its ongoing commitment to the rehabilitation of Japan’s Tohoku region. The first initiative will see the opening of the Qatar Science Campus on the grounds of the Engineering Graduate School at Tohoku University in Sendai City, on 21 February 2015. The opening will be followed a day later by the launch of the Qatar Sports Park in Shirakawa, Fukushima prefecture.

Despite its relatively elevated position, Tohoku University in Sendai City is reported to have sustained damages in excess of JPY48 billion when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck in 2011. With an eye to supporting this pivotal hub for education in the area, QFF and its partners launched the US$1.9 million Qatar Science Campus (QSC) to establish an advanced scientific learning environment for the local community, QFF said in a press release.

QSC is one of eleven initiatives undertaken by QFF and is intended to offer elementary, junior high, and high school students in Miyagi prefecture the chance to experience advanced scientific research. By engaging in experiments that will fuel their interest in science and manufacturing technology, QSC will help accompany them on the path towards greater discovery and innovation. In doing so, it is intended to cultivate the next generation of engineers and researchers, and forge the development of new industries in the region.

"In every society, youth have always held the key to the future. Nowhere is this more evident than in Japan. Our aim is to harness their enormous potential and help them discover the technologies that will shape not only their future, but that of the world. I am both confident and excited in their ability and their continued success," Qatar's Ambassador to Japan and Chairman of QFF, Yousef Bilal, said in anticipation of the ceremony.

Meanwhile, the Qatar Sports Park Shirakawa (QSPS) is expected to benefit over 150,000 people of all ages. The local gymnasium in Shirakawa was used as a refuge centre for families seeking shelter from the disaster at the nearby Fukushima Daiichi power station, but will now serve as the source of inspiration for the region’s aspiring athletes. This pioneering US$5.8 million project will comprise of a brand new complex including a sports centre, gymnasium, and stadium.

Located around 170 kilometers from Sendai, QSPS will provide a safe and modern sporting facility for the community, which will provide extended health benefits to local residents and serve as an important venue for local competitions and other activities. Dr. Khalid Bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar, will officially launch this exciting project, accompanied by Ambassador Yousef Bilal.

"The transcendent and unifying nature of sport is truly unique. It is at the heart of all communities and has unparalleled capacity in bringing people together. In close collaboration with our Japanese friends, we have considered every aspect of Qatar Sports Park Shirakawa in order to contribute to the region’s recovery and the health of its residents. I am proud that Qatar is able to provide support to this important project," said Yousef Bilal.

Plans for the Qatar Science Campus and the Qatar Sports Park were announced in the middle of 2013. After investment of close to US$8 million in project funding, both facilities are now ready to welcome their first students and athletics enthusiasts. Both events will be attended by senior officials from Japan and Qatar, as well as project partners and local community members.

Photo: Building of Elem (knowledge) project financed by QFF in Iwaki city, Fukushima.

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