Abu Dhabi: The British Council on Thursday announced its spring line-up for the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Creative Collaboration, with a number of cultural programmes planned for the next three months.
Launched in November of last year, the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Creative Collaboration aims to strengthen the cultural links between the two countries and celebrate the long-standing historical ties. Among the cultural programmes that were announced to take place over the next three months included opera shows, theatre plays, and art exhibitions.
“We in the UAE have always admired the culture of the UK 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,” said Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, during the press conference announcing the cultural programmes.
“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,” he went on to add.
Shaikh Nahyan said cultural exchanges between different countries are vital in broadening horizons and ideas, and that he hoped the UK/UAE 2017 would achieve that.
“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 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,” he added.
Philip Parham, British Ambassador to the UAE, said it was only natural for the UK to hold such a cultural programme in the UAE in light of the strong relations the two countries have shared over the centuries.
“One of the key themes of the season [programme] is engaging the next generation and placing a modern perspective on our relations. To do so, it is important to reflect on how far we have travelled together — the partnership between the UK and the Gulf spans more than three centuries, and we have had relations with the people from the lands of what is now the UAE for much of that time,” he said.
“The strong bonds between us goes much deeper than the friendships between governments … More than 100,000 British nationals live in the UAE and they have made and continue to make outstanding contributions to the UAE,” he added.
Ambassador Parham said that the cultural programmes also aim to inspire people towards innovation, and to open up avenues for young people to showcase their creative talents.
“The sharing of cultural heritage and creative expressions between nations can inspire people to innovate across different sectors. The yearlong programmes will display diverse talent in both countries.
“We hope it will support the development of the creativity in the UAE by providing young people access to skills, experts, and cultural activities which will inspire them to pursue careers in that sector,” he added.