SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich hosted His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Amir of Qatar, at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, marking the second Head of State to visit the museum. The first visit by a Head of State was President George W. Bush who was joined by the First Lady on April 19th for the museum’s official dedication ceremony. During today's visit, the Governor and the Amir signed an official agreement to establish a shared understanding and friendship between Illinois and Qatar and to develop mutual economic and cultural cooperation.
“It is an honor to host His Highness, the Amir of Qatar, in the museum and I welcome him to Springfield and the state of Illinois. I believe this world class museum, dedicated less than one month ago, will continue to attract Heads of State, international leaders, scholars, historians and visitors from all regions of the world,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “Additionally, I look forward to a strong partnership with the people of Qatar. Through this agreement, we will explore business ventures, cultural exchanges, tourism opportunities and education opportunities.”
“We’re pleased to visit such an impressive museum for a great man. This museum demonstrates that America does not forget a president that united the country,” said Hamad Al-Thani, First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar.
Just smaller than Connecticut, the State of Qatar is located on a peninsula extending north from Saudi Arabia into the Persian Gulf. Joined by a delegation of twelve, the Amir visited Springfield for a cultural tour. He also made two other stops for official business in Chicago and New York.
The official agreement reads as follows:
THE STATE OF ILLINOIS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
AND THE STATE OF QATAR
OFFICIAL AGREEMENT ESTABLISHING FRIENDLY RELATIONS
Whereas, it is the intent of the government of the State of Illinois of the United States of America and the State of Qatar to join together to establish a shared understanding and friendship between the two peoples of Illinois and Qatar and to further strengthen relations between the United States and Qatar;
Whereas, it is recognized that the State of Illinois and the State of Qatar wish to develop mutual economic and cultural cooperation; and through this Agreement;
Declare and agree to the following:
It shall be the goal of the partnership formed by the State of Illinois and the State of Qatar to develop mutually beneficial commercial, economic and cultural cooperation by:
- the development of commercial undertakings, cooperation in manufacturing, creation of combined business ventures, which shall include joint ventures;
- the implementation of academic exchanges in areas representing mutual interest, of contact between scientific research institutions and academic institutions in general;
- the organization of guest performances of creative groups and performers, the establishment of art exhibits; the implementation of contacts between cultural figures in various artistic genres, including exchanges in the area of education;
- the advancement of tourism opportunities.
State of Illinois and the State of Qatar will pay special attention to the development of contacts between women and young people including collaboration between academic institutions of the State of Illinois and the State of Qatar. This may include exploring university exchange programs, educational collaborations or the development of a satellite campus from an Illinois institution of higher learning in Qatar.
State of Illinois and the State of Qatar will give proper observation to the corresponding laws of both countries.
Contacts between the Governor of the State of Illinois and the Emir of Qatar will be continued, including personal meetings.
On the17th day of May, 2005, we set our hands forth in the interest of peace and prosperity and hereby endorse this agreement and the new partnership between our respective people and government.