Dubai: Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and Member of the Dubai Council, on Wednesday asked Arab media to provide organic content that makes the young generation proud of their identity and portray the true stories of the region’s culture and heritage.
She was speaking at a session titled ‘Culture and Media: Crafting a Creative Vision for the Future’ at the 21st Arab Media Forum in Dubai on Wednesday.
Addressing the region’s largest annual media gathering, Sheikha Latifa pointed out that one cannot separate media from culture and culture is a symbiosis of all forms of media.
“Both sectors have a role to convey the true story of our world, the true heritage of the Arab world and this partnership must be strengthened,” she said.
Helming the cultural sector in Dubai since 2020, Sheikha Latifa said her research had found a dearth in organic Arabic and Emirati content targeting children and the youth.
She pointed out that much of the content targeting children were either “Western content” or its adaptation in a localised way which did not provide a feeling of belonging to Arab children.
Hence, Sheikha Latifa called for strong, organic content that attracts children and gives them the proud feeling about being Arabs.
“It is important for children and young people to see role models embodying the Arab culture at its best.”
Most determined role model
Talking about her own role models, Sheikha Latifa recollected how she used to be inspired by her father His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid bin Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and his father the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
She recalled growing up seeing her grandfather, who was then the Ruler of Dubai, driving around the emirate every morning when she used to prepare to go to school. She said her father continued to showcase the same passion in ensuring the people’s welfare and the nation’s development.
“My father used to work day and night. His ambition was to see Dubai or the UAE among the most shining countries. I haven’t seen anyone with the same determination as my father. I grew up seeing him as my role model, making achievement after achievement. That gave me the passion for serving my country,” she said.
Sheikha Latifa also spoke about her proud legacy of being born in a family that values arts and culture, with her father and brothers being poets and her aunt being a painter and photographer.
She also took the opportunity to recall how Sheikh Mohammed entrusted her with the job of revolutionising the cultural scenario in Dubai to implement his vision to make the emirate a global cultural capital. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic that soon followed, she said her team managed to seize the opportunity to boost a creative economy that benefitted the nation’s overall economy. Among the efforts was an initiative to offer virtual tours to the museums in Dubai which witnessed a massive response from people in the country and abroad.
“Today, our role is to create a work environment that attracts creative talents and offers them keys to success in this sector.
“Cultural fields are not just a hobby and it is our duty to change the old concept. I see that the concept of culture has developed and become more comprehensive than it was. And it is now called creative economy, and the development of countries also depends on the creative economy.”
‘We are by your side’
In her message to young creative people, she said: “I would tell them, have confidence in yourself, in your talent. And our role is to support you to with a favourable environment for you. We are by your side.”
Foreseeing a bright future for the creative youth in the country, Sheikha Latifa said people in the culture sector should use new and advanced tools in technology to create innovative content and disseminate it. The attention span of the media users has become very short and the intellectuals in the creative field must learn to use new tools and develop methods to deliver their content to the public, she said highlighting the need for embracing social media for conveying cultural content to a large audience and the need for people in the culture industry to work as a team to reap success.
Use AI to share culture
The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not a threat to human creativity and should be embraced to enhance creativity, she said.
“AI still depends on human beings to enter information and data. It is able to give you a good outcome only if it is fed with correct data. Technology is evolving and some people are concerned that they will be substituted with machines. At the same time, jobs and positions have also evolved. So, there is no threat to human creativity [from AI], but rather it complements it.”
She also highlighted that the Emirati community has remained rooted to its culture and heritage even after it opened its arms to multiple cultures and even after the desert country reached space.
“We live with the ethos of coexistence and tolerance. We should reflect our culture to the world and tell our story to the world. With every development, we should remain rooted to our culture and heritage,” she added.