Promoting our national heritage and preserving and documenting our history and traditions for future generations is of utmost importance to preserving our national identity, said H.H. Sheikha Maryam bint Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, during the inaugural Cultural Councils Initiative meeting.

The Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development hosted the Cultural Councils Initiative, a sector-focused platform aimed at driving discussions amongst industry stakeholders to further the creative and cultural industries in the UAE.

The meeting saw the three councils meet for the first time namely, the Heritage Council, the Arts Council, and the Cultural and Creative Industries Council.

Her Highness, the Chairperson of the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, added, "These cultural councils will not only highlight the local cultural scene and enhance its presence through local and international platforms, but will also play a major role in stimulating the cultural landscape for further development and encouraging participation in all sectors."

Tasked with providing impetus to the cultural and creative industries across the UAE, the Cultural Councils will focus on championing culture by putting forward legislations, policies and initiatives that drive growth in the sectors.

Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of Ajman Tourism Development Department, said, "This initiative launched by the Ministry is a step towards enabling the cultural and creative industries and encouraging innovation.

"Innovation is the key to our nation’s future, and it is a shared responsibility of every citizen in the nation, especially the youth. The development of practical strategies and mechanisms that allow cooperation in each creative sector will support leaps in legislations, investment opportunities, technological advances, educational and financial growth."

For her part, Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, said, "The UAE continuously strives to lead as a global example of an innovative and diverse creative and cultural industry that is integrated and fully supported.

"The launch of the Cultural Councils Initiative marks a new phase for the future of our creative and cultural industries and aims to provide further support to our valued partners and stakeholders towards an assembled effort in fostering and nurturing talent and institutions. These councils will endeavour to activate creative responses to industry challenges thus enabling them to contribute to the cultural landscape and national economy. They will also be instrumental in driving the UAE’s cultural agenda while enabling the country to cement its position as a beacon of culture and creativity across the region and beyond."

During the meeting Al Kaabi noted that the initiative aligns with the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development’s strategy to champion cultural innovation, preserve the UAE national identity and promote the country’s position on the global cultural map through the innovative and creative development of the cultural sector.

She added, "The Cultural Councils will play an integral role in monitoring and analysing the various trends shaping the respective creative and cultural industries and anticipate any upcoming challenges. The regular meetings provide all council members with the opportunity to recommend policy changes and initiatives that can potentially enhance the sectors and ensure that the UAE’s cultural agenda is all-encompassing while creating a collaborative culture amongst partners."

Participating stakeholders and partners under the Heritage Council include the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, Sharjah Institute of Heritage, Ajman Tourism Development Department, Department of Tourism and Archaeology Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah Culture and Media Authority, Department of Antiquities and Museums Ras Al Khaimah.

The Arts Council stakeholders and partners include, DCT- Abu Dhabi, the Ministry of Education, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, Sharjah Arts Foundation, Ajman Tourism Development Department, Department of Tourism and Archaeology Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah Culture and Media Authority and Department of Antiquities and Museums Ras Al Khaimah.

As for the CCI Council, stakeholders and partners include the Ministry of Economy, DCT - Abu Dhabi, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, Department of Culture - Sharjah, Ajman Tourism Development Department, Department of Tourism and Archaeology Umm Al Qaiwain, Fujairah Culture and Media Authority, Department of Antiquities and Museums Ras Al Khaimah.

The meeting was attended by several prominent leaders including, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Ajman Tourism Development Department, Sheikh Majid bin Saud bin Rashid Al Mu'alla, Chairman of the Department of Tourism and Antiquities in Umm Al Qaiwain, Sheikha Noura bint Ibrahim Al Mualla, Director of Art Centres at Sharjah Art Foundation, Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, Saif Saeed Ghobash, Under-Secretary of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, Hala Badri, Director-General of Dubai Culture, Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, Director-General at Ajman Tourism Development Department, Dr. Ahmed Khalifa Al Shamsi, Chairman of the Fujairah Tourism and Antiquities Authority, Malek Al Malek, CEO of Tecom Group, Abdelmonem bin Eisa Alserkal, Founder and Patron of Alserkal Avenue Dubai.

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