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Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, spoke on Thursday of the long friendship and mutual understanding at the heart of the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Creative Collaboration. “This Ministry is honoured to be partnering with the British Council in full support of this imaginative cultural venture,” he said. “When the joint patrons of UK/UAE 2017 – His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan – inaugurated this creative collaboration at Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain last November, we knew that a great adventure was on the horizon. Now we are getting under way.” Held at the Abu Dhabi headquarters of the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, the ceremony, which was also attended by Philip Parham, the British Ambassador to the UAE, was used to announce the events that will form the spring season of the year-long programme.

The UAE/UK Cultural Exchange Program, which will be taking place throughout 2017 under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Emirati forces and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, comes as an embodiment of the depth of relations between the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom over the past years. The program emphasizes the mutual appreciation of culture, values and tradition of both countries. The launch of the program is a clear reflection of the openness of the United Arab Emirates to different cultures of the world stemming from values of acceptance, tolerance, peace and respect for others. UK/UAE 2017 will focus on launching joint events and activities reflecting creativity and cultural, artistic and heritage exchanges between Britain and the UAE. This will be achieved through collaboration between the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, the British Council, the World Organization for Arts and Education and a large number of bodies and partners to organize a varied program of events and activities in the fields of art, literature, education, society, sports and science.

The program also aims to celebrate the relationship between both countries and work on its consolidation and development to keep pace with contemporary requirements. This will be achieved through presenting heritage and cultural programs, values and traditions established in both countries. In addition to supporting contemporary creativity in all areas and presenting creative and innovative ideas and supporting talents. All this will help to strengthen economic and cultural ties between the two countries and explore opportunities for future cooperation. Both countries believe in the importance of cultural and human communication which contributes to the increase of direct contact between the two cultures , for example the exchange of visits and experiences among the younger generation. The cultural program acts as an embodiment of the strength of the relationship between Britain and the UAE and the continuation of the successful cooperation especially after the visit of the Prince of Wales to the UAE which paved the way for this program. This program is a real addition for joint cooperation in the cultural and innovation field forming the basis of continuation of the extraordinary relationship between the UAE and the United Kingdom. Word by Sheikh Nahayan during the press conference: Ambassador Parham, Members of the Press, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen: Welcome to the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development. We are gathered to announce the spring season of UK/UAE 2017—A Year of Creative Collaboration Between the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.

This Ministry is honored to be partnering with the British Council in full support of this imaginative cultural venture. When the joint patrons of UK/UAE 2017—His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan—inaugurated this creative collaboration at Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain last November, we knew that a great adventure was on the horizon. Now we are getting underway. As many of you know, the three themes of UK/UAE 2017 are the next generation, community, and inclusion. Those three themes embody vibrant cultures. We in the UAE have always admired the culture of the United Kingdom because it has so creatively managed the education of its youth, tended to the needs and aspirations of its communities, and engaged in understanding dialogue with all elements of its diverse population and with all countries around the world. We in the UAE have been proud to call the UK our friend, a friend with whom we have enjoyed a long, harmonious, and productive relationship. Our long friendship has opened our eyes to creative forces and achievements that distinguish our respective cultures. Nothing could be more illustrative of our cultural affinity with the UK than our embrace of the English language, taught so effectively by the British Council. After all, our beloved Arabic language has served us well in all aspects of our lives. It is the essence of our souls. And it is the language that communicates our deepest beliefs. I am sure that this year’s creative collaboration will help UK citizens to better appreciate the power and beauty of Arabic. At the same time, our knowledge of English will enable us to better understand the imaginative and creative genius of the British people.

This year will be a glorious learning experience for us all. I am reminded of a brilliant epigram uttered by a twentieth-century artist who said: Our heads are round so our thoughts can change direction. The very notion of creative collaboration demands our round heads so that our thoughts can change direction. We will gain new direction-changing information. We will alter and even reject some existing ideas. We will discover new points of view and possibly adopt some of them. Using our round heads, we will enrich our lives and our own cultures. That is inevitable. We will encounter a mysterious painting or a challenging installation or a joyous folk dance or a classic architectural feature or an unforgettable musical phrase or a powerful sculpture or the soaring language of a drama or the compelling composition of a photograph or an astonishing metaphor or a deft mise-en-scène [miz-an-sen] of a movie. Our thoughts will change direction. We will strengthen our resolve to cooperate. We will creatively collaborate upon an absolutely firm foundation. The UK and the UAE have always shared common values—a devotion to our own cultures and a deep respect for and appreciation of other cultures, ethnicities, languages, religions, and beliefs. We share the desire for global peace and the safety, prosperity, and well-being of our communities.

We share the joys of civilization. This Year of Creative Collaboration Between the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates will intensify those joys. Thank you all for being here today in support of this marvelous undertaking. The spring programme includes: Cultural Excellence Fellowship programme; Capacity Building for Researchers at Heriot Watt University, Academic City; an extensive education and outreach programme to support the performances of Madam Butterfly and La Bohème from the Welsh National Opera and to accompany the six performances by the BBC Proms with BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Singers at Dubai Opera; a dedicated Science Strand at Emirates Airline Festival of Literature;

UK based artists commissions at Sharjah Biennial 13 Tamawuj; Fantastic Mr. Fox production; Crafts Council and ‘Britain Takes Shape’ exhibitions at Design Days Dubai; DEAL Live by Blooloop Experience Economy Conference; Science Collaboration Symposium: Smart Cities at Masdar Institute of Technology; Accessibility & Inclusivity for Museums workshops; The Shakespeare Globe Storytelling Workshops; Anish Kapoor: The Creative Act panel discussion; Shakespeare Under the Stars: Macbeth; Think Science: Sugar Science workshops and a Musician in Residence programme. The curatorial approach to the UK/UAE 2017 programme asks questions regarding the role of culture in future societies. Structured into four main enquiries, it looks at the future of heritage, concepts of future in science and imagination, the future of audiences, and the future of the business of culture. Exploring the ways in which cultural heritage and creative expression when shared between nations can inspire innovation across different sectors, developing and shaping the societies of tomorrow, UK/UAE 2017’s programme will stimulate and inspire the next generation and identify sources of future collaboration between the UK and the UAE.