Abu Dhabi: An awarding ceremony was held in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday to recognise individuals who work or have previously worked in government positions to promote dialogue and understand between different cultures and people.

The Cultural Diplomat Awards is organised under the Culture Summit which is being held in Abu Dhabi, bringing together more than 300 participants from 80 countries to discuss the role of culture in society.

The winners included Dr Anwar Mohammad Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs; Madeline Albright, former US secretary of state; and Dr Zaki Anwar Nussaibah, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Cultural Advisor at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs.

“Cultural diplomacy for me was a central part of American diplomacy in terms of understanding what we could do through culture … It’s a primary tool [for diplomacy], and I was very proud with what we were able to do in office,” said Albright speaking at the ceremony.

“Even though in many ways we are connected as a result of technology … in many ways we have become more separate in terms of identities … when in fact the only thing that is important is how we find our commonalities in terms of understanding each other,” she added.

Dr Nussaibah, also speaking at the ceremony, said that cultural diplomacy was deeply embedded in the fabric of the UAE.

“I was very fortunate to have lived at the outset of seeing this miracle become a reality in the desert. It would have not become a reality had the founding father not used cultural diplomacy in order to build bridges with all those around them.

“I was equally fortunate to see when the founding father passed away and we had a new generation of leaders who continue a very strong and active cultural diplomacy based on the idea that we are here belonging to the same human civilisation.

“We in the emirates welcome 200 nationalities that work and live harmoniously … this is the message Abu Dhabi and the UAE has always had, that we need cultural diplomacy for our survival,” he added.

Other winners included the Sesame Workshop, and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.

Artists were also among the winners for their work in art and using it to bring people together. They included Idris Khan, who designed the UAE’s martyrs memorial; Tad Dun, an internationally acclaimed composer and Academy Award winner; and Liz Lerman.

The awarding ceremony itself included a host of artists and musical performances.