Abu Dhabi: Construction works at Louvre Abu Dhabi, the first universal museum to be built in the Middle East, has started officially in the UAE on Tuesday.
General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, welcomed French President Nicolas Sarkozy to a commemorative ceremony to mark the start of the construction work.
In a presentation before dignitaries at Emirates Palace, Shaikh Mohammad and Sarkozy accepted a time capsule for the museum from children from UAE and France which will be placed in the Louvre Abu Dhabi at a future date.
Shaikh Mohammad and Sarkozy also inaugurated a new preview experience of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, being presented through July 2 in Gallery One of Emirates Palace.
Titled Talking Art: Louvre Abu Dhabi, the preview features a brief film about the design for the Louvre Abu Dhabi by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, an illustrated talk, and a guided tour of selected artworks specially chosen to demonstrate the curatorial vision of the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
"Abu Dhabi's ultimate goal in creating the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and indeed the entire Saadiyat Island Cultural District, is to build a platform for deeper and more meaningful exchange among people from our own region and from all parts of the globe," stated President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
"With deep admiration for the people of Abu Dhabi, and for their leaders who believe, as we do, that the arts lie at the very heart of civilisation, the Republic of France joins in celebrating this auspicious day," said Sarkozy. "Together, we have embarked on an extraordinary journey of cultural exchange and collaboration and I believe that our two countries will forever be strengthened by this partnership."
Sarkozy said the UAE is a dynamic country which values stability and is proud of its national identity that is open to other cultures.
He also noted that during one generation, the UAE has become a balanced and globalisation centre, open to the dialogue of cultures.
Sarkozy touched upon the dynamic partnership between the UAE and France, and that it deserves to be called a unique strategic partnership in its size, as its vision and targets surpass the bilateral agreement.
Sarkozy also pointed out in his speech a new aspect of cooperation between the two countries in the field of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.