From 16 February to 8 March 2007, the Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) in Doha sponsored a series of programs on the American arts, entitled the American Arts Festival. The Center at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Qatar), conducts programs of scholarship, research, and public outreach in the fields of international and regional affairs. CIRS keeps in touch with its surrounding environment by providing various cultural and educational programs that communicate with both the local population and the larger international arena.
The Opening Ceremony of the American Arts Festival took place on February 16, 2007 at Al Bidaa Park on the Corniche Road in Doha. The Ceremony was open to the public.The American Arts Festival 2007 was designed to provide an opportunity for Qatar, and the region, to experience and engage with different aspects of American culture through its arts. The festival focused on three areas: poetry, photography and jazz. Each program included multiple activities over a number of days. All three programs were designed to present — through performance, lectures, and discussion — the art-form in question; to show what the American expression of this art form reveals about American history, culture and society; and to engage and promote dialogue with Qatari and Arab artists and students of art.James Reardon-Anderson, Dean of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar, gave the welcome speech and introduced the Keynote Speakers Abdulla Al Thani from Qatar Foundation, Aisha Al Thani from Reach Out to Asia (ROTA), and US Ambassador to Qatar Chase Untermeyer.