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Spaces of freedom in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Often the media represents groups of people in very simplistic and shorthand ways. This article uncovers the complex realities behind the stereotypes of Iran.

jake threadgould

Tour Guide


I was sat on a large wicker chair in the rooftop café at my hotel in Shiraz where, in keeping with the Shirazi tradition, a group of guys next to me were reciting poetry. The scented smoke of a bubbling qaylan pipe twisted and turned on the blue tarpaulin above. Downstairs, in the courtyard restaurant, the voices of men and women competed with a cross-legged Kurdish chap in the corner, playing a sitar. Tourists and local men alike pulled chairs up to the tables of young women to chat, safely hidden from the gaze of the authorities outside. Spaces such as that hotel provide an environment of freedom in Iran. In here a woman’s headscarf can teeter tantalisingly close to sliding down the nape of her neck. In here each drag of her cigarette flies in the face of that deeply held taboo. In here large, brown eyes wandered…

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QMUN 2011

This year we had 4 entries (Jack and Millie, Dhiren, Nerea and Beth, Serene and Sophie) and 9 nominations.

We had one winner this year (although we could have had more!).

Sophie Puet, Serene Fakhra and Bethany Godley won the prize for best editing and narrowly lost out in the race for best picture.

Congratulations to all those who entered, hope you enjoyed the evening (the lamb was lovely!)…next year the competition is international so I am hoping for lots of entries.

Brand Qatar

Qatar has scored another remarkable result, first the World Cup 2022 win and now the Qatar Foundation has won a 150 million euro shirt sponsorship deal with Barcelona. This is first time ever that Barcelona will receive payment for shirt sponsorship so it marks a real coup for Qatar.

Whilst 150 million euros is a large amount it perhaps represents excellent value for the emirate. Firstly, it guarantees unbelievable brand awareness as Barcelona are among the most covered football institutions in the world. Better than that, Barcelona are very attractive brand as not only do they boast some of the best players in the world such as Messi and Xavi, it also has an ethical image thanks largely to the free sponsorship of Unicef. The Qatar Foundation logo will sit next to that of Unicef so gaining further synergy.


Of course it will be very hard to gauge the effect of this deal but it is yet another example of Qatar’s desire to become a global player in education and sport – there will be very few people who don’t know (and perhaps respect) Qatar now.