Museum of Future Dubai
Dubai Future Museum wrapped in red colour Image Credit: DMO

One of the most enduring questions when it comes to creativity is the extent to which our ideas are the product of our genes or acquired influences in our environment.

While new research attempts to demystify the nature versus nurture debate, the UAE is making significant strides to cultivate creativity across the nation through innovation-enabling environments, high quality education, technology infrastructure and investment.

On April 21, the UAE will join nations in celebrating World Creativity and Innovation Day to raise awareness of the importance in this field and encourage people to drive future innovation.

With ambitions to become one of the most innovative nations in the world, the UAE has already made extraordinary efforts to foster creativity and innovative thinking, with successful outcomes.

Hope Mars Mission

An exemplary case was the launch of the first Arab interplanetary research expedition, the Hope Mars Mission, which was made possible through cooperation with dozens of countries and led by the UAE’s Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, a hub for creative talent and expertise.

Having the firm belief that gender equality strengthens innovation, the UAE has celebrated creativity in women across various industries, which has yielded positive outcomes at the national level. The Mars Mission scientific team, for example, is 90 per cent women.

For the UAE, diversity has always been a key component to unlocking creativity.

In a country that is home to over 200 nationalities, ideas are never in short supply, and productive debate and cooperation produces breakthroughs, innovation and positive outcomes.

This could not be more apparent than at the World Government Summit 2022, in Dubai, which ushered hundreds of global thought leaders into the future with greater collaboration and a focus on how to harness innovation to solve challenges facing humanity.

Since its inception in 2013, the summit has successfully showcased the latest government and leadership innovation to inspire, shape and enable the future of governments.

Cultural and creative industries

Furthermore, the UAE is distinctly demonstrating its ability to advance cultural and creative industries.

Last year, Abu Dhabi announced plans to invest AED 22 billion over the next five years in the cultural and creative sector. It comes after the UAE pledged AED 8.5 billion to develop new museums, and invest in the performing arts, music, media and gaming sectors.

Meanwhile, through initiatives such as Expo 2020 Dubai the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and the forthcoming Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, we have positioned the nation as a hub for international museums and exhibitions.

This level of cultural diplomacy, through our creative and innovative industries, works to builds bridges of understanding between nations, increasing cooperation and mutual efforts to promote tolerance, coexistence and peace.

When it joins the Louvre in the Saadiyat Cultural District, the Guggenheim Museum will become the region’s pre-eminent museum of global modern and contemporary art, with 28 galleries of collection displays and special exhibitions with a specific focus on West Asia, North Africa and South Asia, serving to highlight the interconnected histories and cultures that have helped shape our world.

The Abrahamic Family House is another welcome addition to Abu Dhabi’s culture and creative scene. This Sir David Adjaye-designed building, dedicated to interfaith harmony and peaceful coexistence is due to open this year and comprises a mosque, church and synagogue in one place, bringing together Christian, Jewish and Muslim houses of worship.

And completing the incredible development of the Saadiyat Cultural Precinct, the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi will feature some of the rarest prehistoric exhibits in the world. Visitors will be taken on a 13.8 billion-year journey through time and space, including a thought-provoking perspective into a sustainable future for planet Earth.

Creativity is also becoming an essential component of preparation for the future of the UAE.

On Feb. 22, 2022, the UAE opened Museum of the Future, which was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to explore the future of science, technology and innovation.

Dubbed the ‘living museum’, this beautiful, eye-catching building is equipped with innovation labs, attracting researchers, inventors, research centers and companies, in one place. It is a global hub for inspiring different aspects of future thinking, and the curation of solutions to the challenges and opportunities of human development.

One of the UAE’s ten guiding principles for the next 50 years is to position the nation as a global hub for talent, companies and investments in the digital, technical and scientific sectors.

A new visa regime

In creating a modern investment environment to ensure the continuous flow of opportunities in these sectors, the UAE has enhanced its ease of doing business by increasing eligibility of Golden Visas and introducing Green Visas.

In Abu Dhabi and Dubai, long-term residence visas are now being offered to professionals in support of talent within its cultural and creative industries. The visas will provide creatives access to world-class facilities and infrastructure, as well as an attractive, safe and inspiring living and working environment for individuals and families.

In the realm of education, the UAE is driving digital transformation via Artificial Intelligence (AI). The UAE is home to Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) — the world’s first graduate level, research-based AI university.

By investing in human capital with an exceptionally talented cohort of staff and students, the university could contribute to the potential AED 734 billion productivity gains in the UAE by 2030.

When it comes to creativity and innovation, the future is yet to be written but its boundless potential can already be felt across the nation.

As the UAE transitions to become a world-leading hub for innovation, it has much to celebrate and even more to look forward to.

Omar Ghobash is Assistant Minister for Public and Cultural Diplomacy at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation