Dubai: Discussing the diversity of human cultures at the “world’s largest cultural event”, Expo 2020 Dubai, will highlight the position of the Arab region as a springboard for cultural exchange.
This was underscored by Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, during a press conference on Saturday at the UAE pavilion at the Expo while announcing the 22nd session of the Conference of Arab Ministers of Culture to be held on Sunday and Monday 20 at the Dubai Expo. Center at the Expo.
“This session of [conference] is really important to be held in conjunction with [Expo]the largest cultural event in the world that celebrates the diversity of human cultures and provides the opportunity to experience the cultures of 192 countries,” said Al Kaabi.
“Events like these reiterate the position of the Arab region as a springboard for cultural exchange and encourage meaningful and constructive human and cultural convergence. The conference also marks World Arabic Language Day [December 18].”
The conference is part of the cooperation relations between the Ministry of Culture and Youth and the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) in areas of Arab cultural work joint and opening new horizons for the development of cultural projects that will elevate the status of Arab culture at the regional and global level.
Also present at the press conference were the Director General of ALECSO, Dr. Mohamed Ould Amar and Dr. Ines Abdel Dayem, Minister of Culture of the Arab Republic of Egypt.
Al Kaabi said that in 1973 Arabic was adopted as an official language at the United Nations (UN). “It was a decision that underlined the status of Arabic as a global language. Arabic is the language of more than 420 million people around the world and has played a pivotal role in enriching human civilization and made key contributions to science during the golden period of Arab civilization,” said she added.
Hope in the face of the pandemic
Al Kaabi said a powerful contribution of culture is to give hope amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “This conference is taking place at a time when the world is experiencing many challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Culture, creativity and the arts gave people hope to face the pandemic as the world witnessed lockdowns. This shows why we need to pay particular attention to our cultural and creative industries and strengthen them so that they can become a major contributor to sustainable development,” she added.
Al Kaabi said: “The UAE wishes to strengthen the existing relationship and partnership with ALECSO in aspects related to all areas of work of the organization, as it is an active partner in the direction Arab cultural cooperation efforts and strengthening coordination at the Arab country level. Hosting the conference is a translation of our leaders’ vision to support Arab culture as a link between the peoples of the region, and it confirms the central role of ALECSO in this field”.
The agenda of the conference centers includes modernization and the development of a comprehensive plan to promote Arab culture and cultural cooperation between Arab nations and the world.
“We also aim to unify Arab efforts in various cultural fields, including joint efforts to register intangible heritage with UNESCO and develop cultural and creative industries in the region. The conference will discuss the role of Sheikha Alyazia bint Nahyan Al Nahyan, who has been appointed Ambassador of Arab Culture by ALECSO,” the minister said.
Dr. Ould Amar highlighted the importance of the strategic partnership between ALECSO and the UAE, and its role in achieving cultural integration among Arab countries. He also highlighted the role of culture in promoting dialogue and peace and in restoring relations between nations.
“At the top of ALECSO’s agenda is the common Arab cultural project, which must be carried out as a matter of priority. Arab countries should forge cooperation in the field of culture and heritage protection and support cultural institutions in the region,” he said.
Dr. Dayem said: “Our goal is to review the overall plan for Arab culture and seek new ways to improve communication and cultural cooperation between Arab countries. As we reflect on the achievements of the past few years, we will also take stock of the current situation in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has put all cultural activities at risk, due to social distancing protocol. … We will implement a draft plan aimed at developing Arab culture and strengthening joint Arab work on the ground”.