Qatar’s outgoing ruler likes to be known as a maverick in a conservative Gulf apprehensive of change. True to his reputation, he becomes the first Arab leader to abdicate in favour of his son, Crown Prince Tamim.
More changes are expected in Doha this week, not least the departure of Hamad bin Jassim, the powerful prime minister and architect of the country’s controversial foreign policy.
Whether he is ill, as many believe, or simply wanting to get ahead of the curve, the 61-year-old Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani has undoubtedly annoyed his neighbours with his move. Read more
Chris Cook, the FT’s education correspondent, on how the WISE conference in Qatar showcased alternative attitudes towards learning and knowledge. Read more
By Chris Cook, education correspondent
Qatar has enormous oil and gas reserves, but the little state is trying to kick the petroleum habit and become a high-tech society. It wants a sustainable economy for when the oil runs out – and a more cultured society in the meantime.
The Qatar Foundation is the institution that is leading this drive: I am in the little Gulf state this week for WISE, their annual summit on education, where I was a speaker on the finance of education. The whole thing is rather spectacular.
When they say they are going to do something, they go big – sometimes to a rather baffling degree. One of my favourite examples of this is their super-duper equine health centre, which trains horse-handlers and apparently features a sauna for the horses. Read more