Zaki Nusseibeh, UAE Minister of State, sent a message of unity and solidarity in response to current global challenges by hosting a live social media event beginning Thursday 16 April at 9am (UAE Time).
Held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the 24-hour online cultural marathon symposium was moderated by UAE Ambassadors in Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. The symposium witnessed the participation of museum directors, artists, design specialists, and heads of cultural institutions, who discussed in-depth the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic while offering insights on future trends.
The programme began with Mohammed Balfaqeeh, UAE Ambassador to Singapore, and Jason Ong of the National Gallery of Singapore, wherein they discussed how cities could be reimagined as cultural hubs.
The session was followed by a discussion between Mariam Alshamsi, UAE Acting Consul-General to Hong Kong, Willem Molesworth, Director of de Sarthe in Hong Kong, and Fabio Rossi of the Hong Kong Art Gallery Association.
Dr. Ahmed Albanna, UAE Ambassador to India, discussed with Sanjoy Roy (picture above) of the Jaipur Literature Foundation book fairs in the age of non-travel.
The session was followed by a discussion between HE Mohamed Abushahab, UAE Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg (picture above), and the European Union, and Paul Dujardin, CEO and Artistic Director of the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels (BOZAR).
Next, Hafsa Al Ulama, UAE Ambassador to Germany, held a discussion with Dr. Dorothea Schöne, art historian, curator, and Director of the Kunsthaus Dahlem in Berlin. Subsequently, Ali Al Ahmed, UAE Ambassador to France, and Mustapha Bouhayati, CEO of Luma Arles, addressed the role of private foundations and funding to support the arts.
Naser Alkhaja, Head of Political, Economic and Media Affairs at the UAE Embassy in Italy, held a session with Italian editor and curator Annalisa Rosso.
The session was followed by a discussion between Majid Al Suwaidi, UAE Ambassador to Spain, and Juan Ignacio Vidarte, Director General of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.
Mansoor Abulhoul, UAE Ambassador to the United Kingdom, then held a session with Roxane Zand, Director of Middle East Sotheby’s, wherein they discussed “The Arts and Auction Markets.” Fahad Al Raqbani, UAE Ambassador to Canada, held a session with Dr. Mahmoud Eboo, Diplomatic Representative, Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat and Aga Khan Development Network in Canada.
Leading the final session of the symposium was Abdullah Al Saboosi, UAE Ambassador to Australia, alongside Ewan McEoin, Senior Curator of Contemporary Design and Architecture of the National Gallery of Victoria, who discussed the theme “Far Away but in the Middle of Everything.”
As the UAE expands its support for the global arts community, the live conference acted as a meeting ground for arts professionals around the world to explore solutions to recover and emerge stronger from this crisis.
Concluding the successful online cultural marathon symposium, Zaki Nusseibeh said, “A crisis is a call for unity, and in response, we are pleased to lead this initiative. The participation and collaboration of arts professionals in this online gathering demonstrate a remarkable start to our recovery. Let us continue to work together as we commit to moving forward to greater heights.”