UAE, Saudi Arabia using culture as a cohesive force

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Time: November 29, 2019

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (left) gets a warm welcome Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan (R) upon his arrival in Abu Dhabi. (SPA)

Relations between the UAE and Saudi Arabia are cemented in a long history of mutual understanding and shared vision. This week’s visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman further consolidates the brotherly ties between the leadership of both countries and strengthens cross-border exchange.

The spirit of a shared common history is clearly reflected in the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council’s vision, where the national strategies of both countries — Saudi Vision 2030 and UAE Vision 2021 — are aligned.

Our unique model of cooperation is looked upon with great admiration as our bond reflects the vision and determination of our founding fathers. This solid foundation has brought our ancestors together through a shared history, language and traditions. Keeping these relations strong was a priority for Sheikh Zayed, who continuously worked with Saudi Arabia to support and bolster the two countries’ relations.

With the constantly evolving UAE-Saudi bilateral ties, culture remains a focal point for the two countries. There is a common understanding that unity paves the way for and achieves a better future for our people through security and prosperity. Our visionary leaders are committed to playing a pivotal role in investing in cultural initiatives and reviving features of authentic and shared Arab identity. During the last decade, cultural relations between the UAE and Saudi Arabia have taken a quantum leap forward, strengthening the ties in various fields relating to the arts, literature and heritage.

The UAE’s own national ambitions align closely with those of Saudi Arabia, as both nations strive to build a framework that is founded in support and cultural diplomacy to combat violence and disruption in society

Noura Al-Kaabi

This cross-cultural exchange was further strengthened through participation in major events such as Janadriyah, Souq Okaz, the Misk Art exhibition, Riyadh International Book Fair and, more recently, Al-Burda Exhibition, which reflects on the importance of preserving and documenting heritage and promoting dialogue and knowledge exchange. We believe in the power of culture to act as a cohesive force and a diplomatic tool to promote inclusivity, spread positive change, and cultivate a peaceful environment for future generations.

The UAE’s own national ambitions align closely with those of Saudi Arabia, as both nations strive to build a framework that is founded in support and cultural diplomacy to combat violence and disruption in society.

It is in these two countries where culture exchange happens in the social spaces of the majlises over the aromatic smell of Arabic coffee. In a landmark victory at the UNESCO Executive Board last week, Saudi Arabia and the UAE earned a platform to showcase the living heritage of falconry, generosity, and understanding that is present in the Gulf. This shared moment of success reflects the wide acknowledgement of our prominent efforts in the fields of culture, science and education.

This achievement will enable us to press on our joint efforts aimed at promoting our cultural agendas and supporting our respective organizations’ mandate. What further brings us together is our sense of responsibility to shape the future for our next generations, both locally and internationally, through relevant platforms.

This significant accomplishment adds further impetus with the Saudi delegation’s visit. The exchange of memorandums of understanding with Saudi Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan is a continuation of the path that our ancestors have laid since the establishment of our diplomatic ties. We are committed to continuing to establish, support and safeguard global cultural heritage, while ensuring the preservation of the unique and authentic Arab traditions and values.

• Noura Al-Kaabi is the UAE’s minister of culture and knowledge development.

This article was first published in Arab News

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