- Your Highness, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, Amir of Qatar
- Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
I am very happy, to once again have the opportunity to take part in this anti-corruption event.
I congratulate the award winners. Recognizing such efforts helps to prevent corruption from becoming a way of life.
First, I want to congratulate His Highness, as well as the organizing committee, and the people of Qatar, first for something else, I’ll come to the corruption part later, for the enormous success hosting the FIFA World Cup.
The first time I visited Qatar was in 2008. I have been able to witness the progress since then and the tremendous achievement in the lead up to this World Cup. This was the very reason I took off time to come and enjoy the experience.
FIFA was right to select Qatar to host this tournament, and the results on the ground make that fundamentally clear.
There are different stories told about this, and the veracity of which I have no way of knowing. So I would rather focus on what I can see.
The relentless onslaught of negative propaganda, to which Qatar has been subjected by some countries needs to be called out, and analysed for what it is.
I am glad that Qatar did not have to respond to all of it in words and instead let the facts speak for themselves.
After all, there is nowhere in the world without fault.
The real subtext of these criticisms, is that only certain countries and people, deserve the honour of hosting events of such global importance.
The main lines of attack we have seen, for example on migration labour, illustrate the hypocrisy.
It is as if such problems have ceased to exist in other parts of the world, especially where the criticism originates from. In fact, the situation for them is often much worse.
Yet, tens of millions of migrants drive the agricultural and services economies of rich countries, while being denied basic rights and protections including even the right to legally exist as residents in those countries.
This is an example of an orchestrated campaign to put a country like Qatar, according to them, back in the inferior place it is supposed to occupy, according to them.
In this globalized world, we need to be respectful of each other’s cultures and beliefs in our co-existence and interaction.
Yet many of us consistently experience similar treatment. Ironically, the more you achieve, the more important it becomes, to remind you, that you are not equal.
Of course, no matter how far any country has come, there is always room for further improvement.
Over the past generation, Qatar has been on a steadfast quest to improve the well-being of its citizens, and share its prosperity with the wider world, including through the Qatar Foundation and other philanthropic initiatives.
Indeed, many of the countries behind these criticisms have seen huge benefits from the investments made by Qatar in their own economies.
The money spent to prepare for the World Cup, is in fact a wise investment in the future of Qatar.
A big portion of the amount which the media complain about, includes the construction of an entirely new city, Lusail, which will be an anchor of new growth and development for decades, if not centuries.
Qatar is not the only country in the world to be blessed with enormous natural resources.
What sets Qatar apart, is that it has used its natural advantages, to create incredible value that will stand the test of time. In other contexts, we have seen such wealth squandered through corruption.
In any case, where and how Qatar chooses to invest its revenues, is not something to be dictated by others.
The people of Qatar should take heart, and be proud of the success of the World Cup. We are proud alongside you.
Corruption represents the corrosion of societies, and His Highness has been a champion of the anti-corruption struggle for years, through the Anti-Corruption Excellence Awards.
And corruption is not just about abusing power to steal public funds.
It includes the abuse of power and influence to create double standards, and manipulate the perception of truth, in favour of those who hold such influence.
In some instances, this has become a way of life, as already mentioned.
Social media and other tools is making it easier to expose those habits and assumptions and the structures of moral inequality that they unjustly reinforce.
This fight against corruption, is a forever one, and requires endless effort.
The ultimate goal, for all of us, should be to build and sustain societies of integrity and fairness, and for the different cultures of our world to interact with each other as equals.
That is the spirit embodied here, and once again I commend His Highness for supporting the broader fight against corruption, and for hosting the world in this extraordinary country.
I thank you for your kind attention.