Since 2011, the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington, DC has developed a Cultural Diplomacy Department.
The creation of the Department is followed the request and guidance of Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba to highlight the traditions, history, culture and innovation of the United Arab Emirates through creative programming and initiatives throughout the United States of America.
Led by Dana Al Marashi, the Cultural Diplomacy Department since inception has significantly helped to strengthen UAE-US relations by building bridges of cultural understanding, encouraging engagement and creating numerous mutually beneficial partnerships.
The Cultural Diplomacy Department showcases the shared values and common interests of both nations through a variety of programmes, activations, delegations, events and discussions in music, history, sports, arts, cuisine, architecture, archaeology, zoology, environment, sustainability and more.
The Department has facilitated the United Arab Emirates’ partnership and participation in the 2021 iteration of the Smithsonian Institute’s Folklife Festival.
Established in 1967, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival honours contemporary living cultural traditions and celebrates those who practice and sustain them. Produced annually by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage on the National Mall, the Festival has featured participants from all fifty states and more than one hundred countries. Over 700,000 people visit the festival each year and more than 3 Million visit online.
The Cultural Diplomacy Department leads the embassy’s community outreach and philanthropic initiatives, facilitating programming and humanitarian aid for deserving communities and residents across the united states, including working to rebuild after natural disasters through management of funds provided for reconstruction as well as coordinating volunteers from United Arab Emirates organisations and those in the United States.
Recently, due to the Covid-19 pandemic the Cultural Diplomacy Department in coordination with the UAE embassy in Washington, DC’s communications office public diplomacy online portal, UAEUSAUnited, developed a dedicated paged to virtually experience the energy, inspiration and vision behind many of the UAE’s most well-known cultural sites and performances.
The department has also established a presence on Instagram to further promote UAE’s culture, heritage, innovation and current events with thoughtfully curated and designed posts their American audience would have a common interest in, engage with and find beneficial.
The Cultural Diplomacy Department’s initiatives have expanded in scope over the years and plans to increase its capacity to facilitate cross cultural programming throughout the United States, including providing assistance and support to UAE’s consulates in Los Angeles, Houston, Boston and New York City through its hub in Washington, DC.
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