Dubai: His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has directed the launch of the UAE Cultural Development Fund, which will be overseen by the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development.
The fund’s key objectives include providing necessary funds to support cultural activity within the country and encouraging projects and initiatives aimed at promoting the development of the UAE cultural product.
The fund will also ensure the participation of all segments of UAE society in the implementation of cultural development plans, which is one of the main components of comprehensive development. The fund will additionally encourage the role of the private sector in the process of cultural and knowledge development.
Shaikh Mohammad has also directed the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development to work on the launch of the Creative Industries Contributions Index, which will reflect an unambiguous structure of the economic returns of cultural activities and highlight the role of the cultural sector in supporting economic development within the country.
“Our culture represents the identity of our generations, and reflects the depth of our history. It is our message that we want to convey to the world in the most creative way. Our Emirati culture promotes the spirit of love, tolerance, and calls for openness to other cultures. The spirit and identity of our culture is inspired from the Arabic and Islamic Civilisations,” Shaikh Mohammad said.
Highlighting the importance of Arabic, Shaikh Mohammad said: “Arabic language is the backbone of our culture. Preserving our language is a pivotal prerequisite to develop our knowledge, instill our identity and develop our culture.”
“UAE’s drive towards leadership of the future, and its pursuit to be among the most advanced countries in the world won’t be realised unless we enhance our cultural heritage. The future of our cultural development should be based on creativity and innovation,” he said. “Economy, culture and politics are components that interact to create a nation, and build a state…The development of our country depends on a well-established and forward-looking culture.”
He made these remarks at the Future of Culture Retreat, organised by the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The retreat was also attended by Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.
The retreat brought together a number of cabinet ministers and senior government officials, in addition to some of the most prominent politicians, diplomats, cultural leaders, business leaders and media figures to work on the implementation of a comprehensive developmental plan for innovative cultural initiatives and projects.
Speakers during the nine sessions of the one-day retreat included Abdul Rahman Mohammad Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention; Dr Anwar Mohammad Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs; Hessa Bint Eisa Bu Humaid, Minister of Community Development; Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, Minister of State; Shamma Suhail Faris Al Mazroui, Minister of State for Youth; Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence; Mohammad Al Murr, Head of the Board of Trustees of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Arabic Language Award; Mohamad Kalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority; and Shaikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman of Sharjah Department of Government Relations.
In her keynote speech announcing the beginning of the retreat, Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, expressed her gratitude to Shaikh Mohammad and his ongoing support and acknowledgement of the role of culture, knowledge and intellectuals.
“The Future of Culture Retreat marks the start of a new phase in the future of culture in line with the role of the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development in realising the UAE Centennial 2071 Vision. The ministry is taking an active role in the development of a cultural and intellectual society to keep pace with the rapid cultural and technological developments witnessed within the UAE”, she said.
Al Kaabi underscored the ministry’s keenness in cooperating with various ministries, governments, private bodies and institutions to develop capacities of the cultural sector and UAE society in line with global cultural development and the technological advancement witnessed within the UAE.
She said the retreat marks the start of the activation and development of cultural work within the UAE. It marks the emergence of the future of culture and promotes the culture of innovation, carrying within its fold our genuine spirit, values and national identity, in line with modern intellectual industries.
“Today, we take pride in the UAE and its achievements, proving to the world that Emirati citizens are not only capable of keeping pace with global development in various fields and sectors but are at the forefront of such developments. Today’s retreat proved that the cultural sector falls in the heart of this development, enabling our dear nation to earn its international position and competitiveness. Through nine different sessions, we brainstormed a wide range of visions, suggestions, initiatives and ideas related to the future of Emirati culture,” she added.
She added, “More than 17 recommendations and outcomes were derived from the nine panel sessions: The Future of Arts; Cultural Diplomacy; Funding and Cultural Longevity; National Identity, Values and Community Cohesion; The Arabic Language; Science and Technology; National Talents; The Infra-structure of UAE Culture and Cultural Innovation and Creativity.
The National Talents session recommended proposing work agendas for Creativity Leave, the National Orchestra and the Ministry’s Youth Council. The Creativity and Innovation in Culture session recommended the development of a hub for cultural and creative work to ensure their development and promotion among UAE youth.
The Funding and Cultural Longevity session suggested the implementation of work plans to support cultural work and creative industries within the country, in addition to creating a cultural developmental fund.
The Science and Technology session suggested undertaking a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development and the Office of the Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence promoting community awareness and addressing the role of the latest technology and its use in cultural, community, intellectual and economic development.
In line with the directives of the UAE's wise leadership to support Arabic language, recommendations of the Arabic Language session focused on initiatives to support Arabic digital content and promoting its position among the swift contemporary scientific progress.
The National Identity, Values and Community Cohesion session recommended the development of a plan to promote the culture of the UAE within UAE society through joint initiatives with the Ministry of Community Development.
Participants in the Infrastructure of UAE Culture session proposed a number of recommendations including the development of an Emirati culture project map and cultural open data.
The Cultural Diplomacy session recommended a number of initiatives to develop cultural diplomacy such as cooperating with UNESCO and promoting the role of cultural attache to strengthen ties with other countries.
The Future of Arts session proposed a number of suggestions, initiatives and projects to ensure the development of UAE art and its creative scene including developing an Art Works’ index according to specific criteria.
On the sidelines of the sessions, Al Kaabi said the retreat is in line with the UAE’s wise leadership in reinforcing the pillars of the UAE cultural renaissance and increasing the presence of the UAE youth in the UAE cultural scene.
She said the choice of location, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, to host this event stemmed from the UAE’s willingness to highlight its interaction with various cultures from around the world. She also said the retreat, held at the beginning of the Year of Zayed, reflects the nation’s commitment to follow in the footsteps of its founding father, Shaikh Zayed Al Nahyan, who always prioritised cultural development as part of national work.