The UAE’s official new agency WAM used the occasion of National Day to produce a series of reports on the state’s achievements over the past year – including one on the UAE’s Culture and Heritage. We’ll have our own roundup at the end of the year, but we picked out some highlights from WAM’s report.
The year 2016 was designated the Year of Reading in the UAE “to create a generation of book lovers and lifetime readers”, and thereby to foster “new generations of scientists, intellectual, researchers and innovators”.
Plans were confirmed for the AED 1 billion Mohammed bin Rashid Library in Dubai (above). The library will hold more than 1.5 million volumes, a million audio books and two million e-books, making it the world’s largest electronic collection and the biggest library in the Arab World. The library, which will be able to accommodate more than 42 million visitors annually, will host more than 100 cultural and intellectual events each year.
This year’s Sharjah Book Fair broke records for both attendance and participation, in what was described as the most exciting edition yet of the event.
In 2016, the first Fujairah International Arts Festival ran on the Fujairah Corniche.
Dubai Opera opened in August with a concert by Placido Domingo. The Opera District apparently includes “art galleries, museums, design studios, and other cultural venues”.
Etihad Museum, due to open in Dubai before the end of the year but including contributions from all seven emirates, focuses of the foundation of the UAE.
ADIHEX, the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition, is the only dedicated hunting, equestrian, and outdoor sports exhibition in the region. In 2016 the event welcomed over 100,000 visitors, the largest number in its history.
The UAE authorities are actively preserving and promoting the Arabic language in order to counter the effects of globalism on communication with initiatives including the enforcement of a target date of December this year for all business establishments in Dubai to use Arabic as the main language across menu cards, invoices and price tags.
Excavations on Marawah Island in Abu Dhabi’s western region revealed more evidence of late stone-age activity. The island has more than 20 major sites, with two late Stone Age villages now discovered at its western end.
A new international partnership aimed at protecting cultural heritage during armed conflicts is to be announced between the UAE and France at the Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage Conference in Abu Dhabi under the patronage of UNESCO in December.
In November, the Prince of Wales presented a digital replica of ancient Quran fragments discovered by Birmingham University during his visit to launch the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Culture, a year of creative collaboration and cultural exchange between the two countries. Throughout 2017, the British Council will collaborate with British and Emirati partners to create a diverse programme that spans the arts, literature, education, society, sport, science and trade.