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The two-day conference started on Sunday at Expo 2020 Dubai with 18 ministers from the Arab world Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The 22nd edition of the Conference of Arab Culture Ministers, organised by the UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth in collaboration with the Arab Educational, Cultural and Scientific (ALECSO), kicked off on Sunday with the presence of 18 ministers in charge of cultural affairs in the Arab world.

Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth and Chair of the 22nd session, said: “The 22nd session of the conference is important as we look into the responsibilities to adopt the strategies to fulfil our cultural agenda. The challenges of the past two years due to the pandemic, showed the importance of the cultural and creative industries in achieving sustainable development goals.”

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Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth and Chair of the 22nd session of the conference on Sunday at Expo Image Credit: Supplied

She praised the role of ALECSO in coordinating joint Arab cultural work and stressed the importance of modernising Arab culture. She also stated that the UAE has proposed to review the results of the World Conference on Creative Economy (WCCE) ahead of this conference, to use the outcomes to identify areas of joint Arab efforts in the cultural and creative industries.

New report on Arabic

The minister noted that the UAE has prepared a scientific report on the status and future of the Arabic language, and suggested that it review the results of discussions and studies on the preservation and promotion of the Arabic language, to come up with joint initiatives to attract attention to the language on a global level.

“Arab youth are the future, and cultural institutions aim to serve this group and provide them with opportunities to achieve their goals and aspirations. For the success of any Arab cultural project, the UAE has proposed a meeting between ministers and Arab youth along with ALECSO, to forge communication between decision-makers in the cultural sector at the Arab level.”

Reform as a core theme

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary General of the Arab League, praised the decision to hold the session in conjunction with the Arabic Language Summit, which was organised by the Ministry of Culture and Youth.

He said: “Reform has been a core theme on the Arab agenda since the time of its first renaissance, but the reform project has stalled, was overshadowed by other intellectual, cultural and political projects, such as the national liberation project, as well as the project of Arabism and unity.”

Dr Inas Abdel Dayem, Minister of Culture of Egypt and Chair of the 21st Session of the Conference of Arab Culture Ministers, reviewed the results of the work of the previous sessions of the conference as the twentieth session issued the ‘Tunisia Declaration against Terrorism and for Tolerance and Solidarity among Peoples, Cultures and Religions’, and the twenty-first session issued the Cairo Statement on the ‘Arab cultural project facing the current challenges.’

Dr Mohamed Ould Amar, Director General of ALECSO, said: “The World today relies heavily on the Internet, to ensure people-to-people communication, and to provide services in various fields including education, health, social, cultural and economic. We have achieved some of the goals through distance education and the implementation of virtual visits to archaeological sites, museums and through awareness programs. However, the biggest challenge in achieving these goals are technological, cognitive and material gaps between Arab states. We should address this as a priority and seek collective solutions that ensure social, economic and cultural sustainability for all.”

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