Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 30 September 2018: Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated entity for culture, arts, heritage, and literature, inaugurated a heritage development centre in collaboration with Zayed University, Dubai. The agreement was signed between both parties by HE Saeed Al Nabouda, Acting Director General of Dubai Culture, and Dr Reyadh Al Mehaideb, Vice President of Zayed University
The new centre which was inaugurated at the university, is the first heritage development centre in a higher education institute in the UAE and the 6th centre for Dubai Heritage Development Centres, which was launched through an initiative between Dubai Culture and Dubai Education Zone in 2011. Five public schools in Dubai were established to serve as educational platforms for UAE's heritage and to embody the lives of grandparents.
Saeed Al Nabouda, Acting Director General of Dubai Culture, said: "This agreement comes in response to the directives of our wise leadership to achieve integration, coordination, and cooperation between the institutions operating in Dubai and to achieve the vision and strategy of the Government of Dubai. We will work with Zayed University to support and strengthen our existing strategic partnership, especially in preserving and sharing national heritage, encouraging younger generations to engage in it and preserving it for future generations."
Dr Reyadh Al Mehaideb welcomed Dubai Culture’s initiative to establish a heritage development centre, in cooperation with the university at its campus in Dubai. He said that this step is in line with the university’s efforts to strengthen the students’ association with the values of the UAE society established by our fathers and grandparents across generations, and to motivate them to adopt these values in their modern ideas and practices.
Al Mehaideb stressed that these students, who are in the university that proudly holds the name of the Founding Father, are launching creative initiatives, such as writing the book ‘Story Mile 2014’ that was published years ago, writings and drawings by students from Al Kharareef Storytelling Club that inspire from old tales to create new stories for today’s generation, and the book ‘UAE’s Pre-Unity Era’ which was written last year by students from the College of Communication and Media Sciences (CCMS). The latter serves as a magnifying glass through which the reader is granted a glimpse into Emirati life before the discovery of oil and the establishment of the Union in the early 60s, comparing that chapter in time with the current urban and cultural developments achieved by the country.
The university also organised the ‘Lest We Forget: Emirati Vernacular Photography’ exhibition, held by the students of the College of Arts and Creative Enterprises five years ago, gaining recognition for it inside and outside the country. The exhibition presented old photographs from students’ family albums, as well as recent photographs taken by the students themselves, with the aim to highlight the difference between the traditions of living in the past and the new methods of the present. This exhibition showcased UAE society and its culture of life, featuring oral stories and historical events narrated by grandparents for posterity, to be preserved through time, and act as an encyclopaedia for tourists and anyone interested to learn more about the UAE and its ancestral people.
These centres also contribute to instilling values among students; developing their skills by organising lectures and manufacturing sessions; hosting various specialists to provide training courses for students, teachers, and parents in the traditional crafts of various environments in the UAE; and planning heritage tool workshops to help preserve their authenticity.
The agreement identified a number of areas of cooperation, including the involvement of Emirati citizens and residents, tourists, and the public, in traditional Emirati culture to achieve a number of goals, including the preservation and promotion of traditional UAE culture, values, industries, and handicrafts. This type of agreement enables Emirati craftsmen and designers to develop traditional products for contemporary markets, and helps attract a new audience to the historic Dubai area.
The two parties will work together to spread Emirati heritage and culture through applied programmes and courses based on scientific foundations that serve different social groups, promote the cultural and heritage values and principles, consolidate belonging to the national identity in line with UAE National Agenda leading to the UAE Vision 2021, and provide a comprehensive and integrated educational experience about the UAE's long-standing heritage and its consolidation for future generations. The agreement can help create training and career opportunities for university graduates in line with the latest developments in the labour market in the Dubai cultural, arts, and heritage sectors.
Founded in 1998, Zayed University is a modern scientific institution and a global model of education. It is one of the leading national universities in the UAE and the region in terms of academic excellence and creativity.
Dubai Culture aims to enhance Dubai’s cultural scene and draw attention to the Emirate’s rich heritage with a variety of initiatives that take place throughout the year. The Authority’s mandate is to build bridges of constructive dialogue between different civilisations and cultures through enriching initiatives that benefit Dubai’s citizens, residents, and visitors, such as the Dubai Heritage Development Centre, and the Live Our Heritage Festival. The Authority works in cooperation with other entities to empower artisans and craftsmen, organises public awareness seminars, workshops to train the new generation, and also sponsors various heritage events held in the Emirate throughout the year. Dubai Culture also sponsors events outside the UAE to promote local heritage around the world, with the aim of establishing cooperation, cultural exchange and common understanding, and of spreading the values of tolerance and peace.