11 April 2018, Wednesday
Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA), the UAE’s leading international relations and diplomatic institution, held a panel discussion titled ‘The Diplomacy of Culture’ as part of Culture Month, an annual initiative that aims to enhance cultural awareness, soft power and tolerance.
Panellists included His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Chairman of UAE Unlimited, Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi, Founder of Barjeel Art Foundation, and Manuel Rabaté, Director of Louvre Abu Dhabi. Her Excellency Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo, Founder of Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and Founder and Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival, opened the session with a keynote address. The panel discussion was moderated by Joud Al Marar, Senior External Affairs Officer at Louvre Abu Dhabi.
Highlighting the role of arts and culture in diplomacy, the panellists discussed key topics of interest, such as the influence of Arab art on the world and the pivotal role of art in promoting cultural diplomacy as part of a broader approach to soft power in today’s geopolitical landscape. They also examined the importance of cultural understanding in diplomacy and the integral part diplomats play in deepening this understanding across sectors.
The interactive discussion is the latest in EDA’s series of presentations that invites high-profile leaders and practitioners from across the world to share insights from their lives and careers with the Academy’s students, offering them understanding into the crucial cultural and soft skills required for leaders of the 21st Century diplomacy.
His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan said: “It gives me great pleasure to address the audience at EDA today. Many countries place great emphasis on promoting their art and culture internationally, as they recognise the strategic benefits this brings. In showcasing who they are through cultural heritage, they reinforce a positive image of their country, thus helping to accomplish their foreign policy priorities.”
He added: “I am pleased that EDA has taken the lead in highlighting the UAE’s art and culture through this wonderful initiative. I encourage other academic institutions to follow the Academy’s exemplary success in promoting intercultural understanding through thought-provoking and stimulating events such as this one.”
Drawing on his rich experience in the art world, Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi said: “As an art enthusiast, I strongly believe that a nation’s art is of social, cultural and historical importance. I fully support initiatives in the UAE, such as Cultural Month, that offer an opportunity to learn about diverse forms of Arabic art and heritage. I congratulate EDA for organising such a fascinating raft of events, and praise the Academy’s students, whose thoughtful questions today demonstrated a deep understanding of the importance of the art sector.”
His Excellency Bernardino León, Director General of EDA, said: “When it comes to diplomacy, the UAE is an international leader due to its policies that promote peace, tolerance and mutual respect. As part of EDA’s mandate to enhance its students’ understanding of and appreciation for different cultures, Culture Month provides an ideal platform to drive intercultural exchange and awareness.” He added: “We were honoured to host our high-profile speakers at this panel discussion, and I thank His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi, and Manuel Rabaté for sharing their expert insights. It was also a pleasure to listen to Her Excellency Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo, our distinguished keynote speaker at the launch of Culture Month. Our guests have dedicated their lives to shaping the growth of the art, music and culture sector, and are outstanding role models for all aspiring UAE leaders.”
The programme will continue with various cultural activities, such as a workshop on traditional Arabic calligraphy, exhibitions showcasing the works of local and international artists, a special movie screening, and visits to various cultural and heritage cities.