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The emirate of Dubai is globally recognised for its architecture and glamour, a blend of people and their traditions, and an economy that continues to thrive and bring prosperity to the nation.

But Dubai can be more than the sum of these constituent parts — and is determined to be recognised too for its deep cultural ties and dedication to the spoken and written word, to art and form, to music, sculpture, dance and performance.

Now, the emirate has launched the world’s first long-term cultural visa to attract artists, authors and innovators to firmly establish Dubai as an incubator for the arts.

The new cultural visa category lays the foundations, and is a key practical step, for securing Dubai’s reputation integral to artistic talents from across the Gulf, from across the Middle East and from the full international community.

The emirate has launched the world’s first long-term cultural visa to attract artists, authors and innovators to firmly establish Dubai as an incubator for the arts

- Gulf News

Earlier this week, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, formally launched the cultural visa category while chairing a meeting for the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, and also approved a new strategic plan to turn the vision of Dubai as a cultural hub into a reality.

Already, as Sheikh Mohammed pointed out in a series of tweets, there are some 6,000 companies that are engaged in art and culture-activities in the emirate, while there are also five creative complexes and some 20 museums that together lay the foundations for a broad scope of cultural activities and growth in the arts.

Already, the annual Dubai Literary Festival, sponsored by Emirates airlines, is firmly established on the global events calendar, while the annual Dubai Film Festival attracts A-list stars and is a highlight in the region for fans of all genres of films. Indeed, as Sheikh Mohammed noted, there are some 550 cultural events peppering the events calendar each year, attracting millions of visitors and tourists.

Dubai, however, has a clear vision for growing its cultural importance.

Seven Schools of Life cultural centres will be set up to equip future generations with life skills in art, innovation and creativity, nurturing and fostering a love and appreciation for the written and spoken word, in performance, visual arts and creative works. And Art for Good will allow the sales of art and crafted sculptures globally to fund causes that make a very difference to people in need.