The State of Qatar is one of the most exciting countries in the Middle East, with the population predominantly young, the economy is expanding, and the pace of modernization is steping up every year.
As a member of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, Qatar has hosted meetings of the World Trade Organization and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. It is the home of Al-Jazeera Satellite channel and of the Qatar Foundation's Education City which is one of the most ambitious and far-reaching centers for education and research in the Middle East.
A peninsula of some 5,000 square miles, Qatar has a landscape of sand dunes in the south and flat, rocky desert with scattered cultivation in the north. The climate is mild and pleasant in winter with occasional rainfall, while the summers are hot and frequently humid.
For centuries, economic activity centered on camel breeding, fishing and pearl diving. In the twentieth century, the economy was transformed by the discovery of oil and, later on, of vast reserves of gas off the northeast coast. Qatar has the largest non-associated gas field yet discovered, and is now a major exporter of liquefied natural gas and condensates. The country is forecast to have the highest per capita income in the world within the next few years.