The Al-Thani Family has ruled Qatar since the mid-1800s, progressing the country from a poor British protectorate dependant on pearling, to a wealthy independent state from the discovery of significant levels of Oil and Gas. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifah Al-Thani ruled from 1995 to 2013 and has been recognized as being the driving force towards modernization, globalization, and a commitment to education, world-class health care, and international development.
On June 25th, 2013, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifah Al-Thani announced that he would be stepping down and named his son, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, as ruler. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani assumed his duties as Emir of Qatar on June 26th, 2013. Since then, Sheikh Tamim promised continuity in both domestic and foreign policy. Such continuities include investment in human capital within the domestic policy realm, paired with the strengthening of GCC, Arab, Islamic, and global ties within the foreign policy realm.
Focusing on expanding the relationship with one of its greatest allies, the United States, the political, economic and social practices of Qatar can be seen to shift towards similarities of the western world. Currently, Qatar is evolving from a traditional society to one based on more formal and democratic institutions to meet the requirements of social and economic progress around the world.
In Foreign Affairs, the Government of Qatar has become the first country in the region to resolve all border disputes with its neighbors including Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Iran. It has also shown efforts of reaching out to countries in a diplomatic fashion that are otherwise in disagreement by the rest of the region.
Since the Arab Spring, Qatar has taken a larger role in world and regional foreign affairs.