Friday, April 19, 2024

Partnerships for Progress: The Swedish Association of Qatar’s Collaborative Efforts

Partnerships for Progress: The Swedish Association of Qatar’s Collaborative Efforts

Ann Williams

Government Relations Specialist at Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy.

Keynote Speaker, Brand Ambassador, Founder of Happy People Doha, Business Networking Club with 250 members, President of the Swedish Association of Qatar.

Expat from Sweden living in Qatar on her 7th year, a dynamic leader and influencer based in Doha.

Her background is in the media industry in Stockholm and Gothenburg, where she was working as the Director of Sales for a event company with focus on the Main Government of Sweden. Her education is in theatre and film.

As the President of the Swedish Association of Qatar, your role likely involves fostering ties between Sweden and Qatar. What are the core objectives and initiatives that the Swedish Association of Qatar focuses on to enhance relations and collaboration between Sweden and Qatar? 

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The Swedish Association of Qatar plays a pivotal role in promoting Swedish culture and heritage. Can you elaborate on the various cultural events or programs organized by the association to celebrate Swedish traditions and values within the Qatari context?

Ann Williams: The Swedish Association of Qatar arranges events for our Swedish National Day celebration on June 6, where we are happy to host both Qatari and Swedish nationals. We also arrange an Iftar during the holy month of Ramadan, where we invite you for a lovely evening together. In addition, we celebrate Sweden’s National Cinnamon Bun Day, a beloved tradition where we invite everyone to experience the essence of FIKA. Fika means “to have coffee” or “a coffee break,” but it’s about so much more than that. Fika in Sweden is when you sit with your family, friends, or colleagues and have a coffee or tea, often with something sweet on the side, in this case a cinnamon bun, which we love!

As the President of the Swedish Association of Qatar, you likely collaborate with various stakeholders. Can you share examples of successful collaborations or partnerships the Swedish Association of Qatar has established and how these partnerships have positively impacted the association’s goals?

Ann Williams: We have had some very successful collaborations with Qatar Airways Nordic through the years when they have been our partners in our events for the community. It is a great way to share awareness of our important airline that brings us all home to our mother country as well as back to the beautiful Doha. And again, of course, we are proud to have such a deep and trustworthy collaboration with our Embassy. 

You are also the founder of Happy People Doha. What makes the Happy People Doha group different from the other expatriate-based social or business clubs in Qatar?

Ann Williams: I believe that the key to our success is that there is no must in the group; it is a very relaxed environment, both in our platform and in our gatherings. There are no fees and no dues. As a member, you can just show up to our gatherings and meet old and new friends. You don’t have to walk into the room and spread your business cards to everyone if you don’t want to; it is sort of a safe haven where you come to just be yourself.


Ann Williams

Also, the fact that we have such a mix of members from all sorts of industries in the country, such as embassies, councils, chambers, oil and gas, banks and finance, hospitality, healthcare, sports, beauty, aviation, construction, etc. I am a firm believer that that’s the formula for success. Our group comprises seasoned professionals across various fields, including ambassadors, founders, CEOs, directors, owners, GMs, managers, and more. HPD is founded on the principle of holistic happiness and well-being, and we provide a supportive space for our members to forge meaningful friendships.

The group seems to go beyond conventional networking, aiming to be a place where members can truly be themselves. How does Happy People Doha strike a balance between personal connections and maintaining a professional atmosphere?

Ann Williams: Happy People Doha Business Club has an environment where our members can authentically express themselves while upholding a professional tone. 

Our monthly organized events blend social and professional aspects, and we are creating opportunities for genuine connections without compromising HPD over professionalism. Our open communication over our platform (the WhatsApp group) and our guidelines help maintain a respectful, inclusive, and fun atmosphere.

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