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It is harder to imagine a more wonderful gathering of leaders dedicated to the cause of children and the youth in art and innovative expression.

Art has impacted the world in more powerful ways than perhaps all the Industrial Revolutions put together, and continues to do so. A nation where people can devote themselves to art forms, be it painting, sculpture, dance or poetry, is the strongest indicator of freedom — of the mind, body and soul, of elevated thinking and a higher state of life itself.

The leadership of Sharjah and the UAE recognise the central place of children in the age of sustainable development, as both its benefactors and future facilitators. The nation’s public policies and initiatives are all designed to bring out the best in every individual, especially the youth.

Sharjah in particular is committed to offering Emirati generations an enabling environment for their individual journeys of innovation and leadership. To realise this goal, Shaikha Jawaher Bint Mohammad Al Qasimi, wife of the Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, established Rubu’ Qarn — Foundation for Creating Future Leaders and Innovators in 2016 as a strategic umbrella for human capital development.

The Sharjah Children Biennial is yet another tribute to the exemplary vision of our wise leadership. It is a free space designed for children and young adults where the only things that matter are their voice, their ideas, and their view of the world, and what it can become painted by their bold, innovative and diverse artistic expressions.

We want to make our participants’ approach to learning, work and life as elegant as possible. Through the biennial, we nurture young creativity and turn individuality and innovation into a way of life — an essential component of the youth’s national identity as well as their careers.

Keen eye for beauty

Why? Because doctors who have a special appreciation for art will channel that into being more holistic and creative in their approach with their patients. Similarly, engineers, managers and employees. Any profession, business or enterprise adds more value to itself and to the community it operates within by having a keen eye for beauty and aesthetic detail in every aspect of life.

Active involvement in the arts is key to building knowledge-based and culturally vibrant societies and economies. It is an imperative when we think of ways to elevate the status of our country on the world map.

Most importantly, art is a mirror; it shows us who we truly are and our ability to give.

Sharjah Children Biennial was born out of the purity and innocence of childhood, the message of art and the beauty of shared human values. It is a carnival of innovation and artistic expression that seeks to support our leadership’s goals to nurture a confident young generation who will take the UAE’s beauty to the world with pride and inspire us to achieve more.

How can we achieve this? By freeing our minds and by elevating our thinking — through art.

Reem Bin Karam is president of 6th Sharjah Children Biennial.