By R.C. Srikanth and Ramesh JainNew York Times Staff WriterWhen the Hawkeyes came to Doha, Qatar, for the annual conference of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), their first stop was the main hotel.
Their receptionist, who was a former newspaper reporter, took us into the reception area and showed us around.
We were shown the hotel’s lobby and were greeted by the hotel manager, a friendly man in a red shirt.
He was there to welcome a group of journalists who had flown in to cover the event.
The first thing the journalist in question said to us was that there were a lot of journalists from other parts of the world who were going to Dunyan, a Gulf city that borders Qatar and hosts a number of major news organizations, including Al Jazeera English.
There were other reporters from other Gulf countries who were visiting Qatar, as well.
In Qatar, they were also expected to meet a number in-house journalists, including a couple of the Qataris who had traveled from other Arab states.
We sat down at a table, and the reporter in question, who is from South Africa, introduced himself as an Arabic-speaking reporter from The Hawkeye, a newspaper based in Doha.
He explained that there are more than a dozen journalists in Qatar.
They were in Dunyan for an event organized by a network of Arab-owned media companies.
A reporter from Al Jazeera Arabic, the Arabic-language satellite network owned by Qatar’s state-owned broadcaster, was among the guests, but not one of them would speak Arabic.
When the reporter asked what was going on in Qatar, we were told that the conference was sponsored by Qatar and was held at a hotel, which we were to see and speak to only on a small, off-site table.
After a while, the reporter stopped and asked if we would like to meet one of the journalists, who, like us, are Arab-Americans who live in the United States.
The reporter was clearly nervous.
“There is no way you can be a reporter from Doha and be in Duaq without knowing a bit of Arabic,” he said.
He introduced us to a member of the group who was also from South African descent.
The man was sitting across from us.
He had a thick South African accent and spoke to us in a low voice, but he looked like he could have been in his early 20s.
I asked him what we were doing.
“We are here to cover a conference,” he told me.
“It’s a conference about the Arab world, and we are here because we think it’s important for journalists to have a voice.”
The reporter explained that the Qatar conference was not the first Gulf news conference the group had attended, but it was the first time he had ever been there.
The Arab world is a huge market for journalism in the Middle East, and Qatar is one of its largest markets.
The journalists were invited by a consortium of Arab media companies to participate in an event that was organized by an Arab-based network of media companies in Qatar to promote regional and global news and opinion.
The group included Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, Al Jazeera English, Al Rai, Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, Al-Aqsa TV, Al Sumaria TV, al Jazeera Arabic and other outlets.
The media organizations are a consortium comprised of the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait.
They have a joint venture with Al Jazeera International, the English-language channel based in Qatar that covers the Middle Eastern region.
Qatar is a major supplier of oil to the United Kingdom and the United Nations, as are Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
The event was a partnership between the Qatar government, Al Jaish Media Group, and media outlets in the Gulf countries.
The Qatar government said the conference had no agenda.
“This is an event in support of Qatar’s contribution to the Arab-American community, to the Middle-East and to the wider world,” the Emirati government said in a statement.
The government also noted that the event was aimed at promoting democracy in the Arab region and for its own regional stability.
“The aim of this conference is to raise the profile of Qatar in the world,” it said.
The conference was organized as a way to address issues related to the region, including regional issues such as the conflict in Yemen, the fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and regional issues, such as migration, such that there is no reason why this event cannot be held in any other Arab country.
There was a sense of camaraderie in the room.
There seemed to be a sense that we were not alone.
“Everyone was talking to each other, and it was really nice,” said the man from South American descent.
“And it is true that there was no Arabic.
But people were able to understand what was being said.”
The journalists all agreed