CMU-Q alum creates Ghutra Mundo to share Qatari culture
At the beginning of 2022, with the first World Cup in the Middle East just a few months away, CMU-Q alumnus Khalifa A. Hakeem Al-Naimi and three fellow Education City graduates wondered what they could do to introduce Qatari culture to the world.
“We could tell from the media that many football fans didn’t know a lot about Qatar,” said Al-Naimi from his shop at the Souq Waqif metro station. “We wanted to do something positive, to open a conversation with the fans who would be visiting Qatar.”
Al-Naimi and his friends turned to something they know very well as young Qatari men: the ghutra. The traditional headwear of the Arabian Gulf typically includes a white or patterned scarf that is held in place with a tasseled cord.
“We are Qataris, we know ghutras, and we wanted to share this with the fans.”
The team decided to keep the design simple, with each ghutra sporting the flag of a qualifying team. They also created flag-colored thobes so fans can represent their teams in head-to-toe Qatari dress. They named their shop Ghutra Mundo, and the fans eagerly embraced the concept.
“When fans see their flags, they see it as a part of themselves. We are so thankful for how positive the fans have been, and how much they have embraced our culture.”
As a business administration graduate from CMU-Q, Al-Naimi felt confident in his ability to bring the idea into fruition. Ghutra Mundo has had pop-up shops and consignments around Qatar throughout the World Cup, as well as the main shop at Souq Waqif metro station. He has been featured extensively in the local and international press for creating a positive cultural impact during the world’s greatest sporting event.
“I thank CMU for giving me the skills to do something like this. CMU is a lot of hard work, but when you are finished, you are ready for the world.”
Ghutra Mundo will continue to sell fan merchandise in person and online throughout the World Cup, although Al-Naimi admits they are sold out of one team’s ghutras: “We have no more Morocco gear,” he said. “The Morocco fans bought it all.”
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar is a Qatar Foundation partner university.