UPDATE | Oct. 15, 2012
Qatar Foundation has announced plans to relaunch the Doha Debates “with a specific remit to engage with the region’s increasingly politicised youth.”
The debates will now explore issues related to the Arab Spring, with a focus on what young people think. QF adds that a new presenter and “fresh content” is part of the plan to re-energize the TV debating format.
In an article in the UK’s Financial Times, Sebastian says:
“I have no idea whether the Qatar Foundation intends to continue with the Doha Debates – but at any rate it won’t be with me.”
What the future holds for the Doha Debates is uncertain as no new debates have been scheduled for the rest of the year. The FT says talks are “ongoing” at QF, and when reached for comment, a QF spokesman told Doha News he would get back to us with more information.
Sebastian’s remarks are made in an FT story about Qatar’s shrinking GDP growth to 6 percent this year from 14 percent last year.
The article asserts that Sebastian’s departure is an example of “problems infecting other state-related entities as funding fails to materialise amid the 2012 slowdown.”
“An extraordinary ten-year boom is petering out in Qatar with the state’s large-scale gas-exporting infrastructure having been completed, leaving business confidence at its lowest ebb in years.”
FT cites interviews with “officials” who say budgets have been delayed, causing some contractors to go unpaid for long periods of time. It claims business activity in Qatar has fallen by around 40 percent in 2012.
Credit: Photo by Omar Chatriwala