Culture at the forefront

22nd session of the Conference of Arab Culture Ministers at Expo Dubai

By Eric Dury

Having the world Expo at our doorstep has many benefits but we are most fascinated with the cultural exchange around the Expo site from all corners of the world, at a scale and concentration unlike any other seen before.

The recent 22nd session of the Conference of Arab Culture Ministers brought together representatives of governments, policymakers and international organisations to discuss a number of topics, the most important of which is the development of the five-year working map of joint Arab files for the registration of intangible heritage with UNESCO.

The 22nd edition of the Conference of Arab Culture Ministers, organised by the UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth in collaboration with the Arab Educational, Cultural and Scientific (ALECSO) saw a presence of 18 ministers in charge of cultural affairs in the Arab world and a number of important personalities.

The UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth works to enrich the cultural ecosystem of the Emirates by supporting the country’s cultural, art and heritage institutions. It provides a platform for artists and innovators, promotes cross-cultural dialogue, and delivers dynamic productions and experiences that represent the UAE’s rich and eclectic culture on national as well as international level. The Ministry’s key mandates include investing in youth and empowering them and building a knowledge-based economy for a sustainable future.

Her Excellency Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth and Chair of the 22nd session highlighted the challenges of the past two years due to the pandemic, which showed the importance of the cultural and creative industries in achieving sustainable development goals.

She praised the role of ALECSO in coordinating joint Arab cultural work and stressed the importance of modernising Arab culture and taking the cultural agenda forward, working hand in hand with other Arab countries as well as countries from around the world to promote dialogue and cultural cooperation.

Her Excellency also stated that the UAE has proposed to review the results of the World Conference on Creative Economy (WCCE) ahead of this conference, to use the outcomes to identify areas of joint Arab efforts in the cultural and creative industries.

His Excellency Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary General of the Arab League, praised the decision to hold the session in conjunction with the Arabic Language Summit, which was organised by the UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth. His speech stressed the importance of religious reform and the understanding of heritage.

His Excellency also spoke about the concept of the national state, a concept that has emerged at the forefront of the intellectual and political agenda during the last decade. He also encouraged raising the level of scientific production, accelerating the translation movement and promoting Arab digital content.

Her Excellency Dr. Inas Abdel Dayem, Minister of Culture of Egypt and Chair of the 21st Session of the Conference of Arab Culture Ministers, reviewed the results of the work of the previous sessions of the conference.

The conference resulted in several decisions and recommendations that ALECSO shared with the member states. His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Ould Amar, Director General of ALECSO explained that the Arab Culture Ministers Conference presented a comprehensive plan for Arab culture to study and review its modernisation, with the aim of promoting cultural cooperation between Arab countries and other countries of the world.

The conference works to unify Arab efforts to develop the cultural and creative industry ecosystem and discusses the programme for the ambassadors for Arab culture.

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