SHARJAH, 12th May, 2022 (WAM) — Sharjah Museums Authority (SMA) has organised a panel discussion on cultural diplomacy in the UAE with a focus on Italian-Emirati dialogue.
Organising the “Role of UAE Institutions in Cross Cultural Dialogue” discussion comes in recognition of the cultural ties and friendship with the Republic of Italy and in parallel with the opening of the “Wonder & Inspiration: Venice and the Arts of Islam” exhibition which is held by SMA in collaboration with Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia and runs until 2nd July at Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation.
Moderated by Manal Ataya, Director-General of SMA, the virtual talk saw participations from Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan bin Khalid Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman of the Department of Government Relations, Dr. Andrea Bellieni, Head of Museo Correr and Curator, MUVE, Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, Laila Binbrek, Coordinating Director of the United Arab Emirates National Pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia, and Dr. Valeria Cafà, Curator of Museo Correr, MUVE, Fondazione Musei Civici.
The conversation focused on a number of key issues including identifying the benefits of cultural diplomacy and how it can help support peace and stability.
Speakers highlighted the country’s thriving cultural scene and its long history of intercultural interfaith dialogue while also pinpointing how Sharjah has been firmly providing opportunities to people from around the world to engage through culture and art.
They spoke each about their role in building partnerships, creating ties with different audiences, institutions and museum professionals who are working in Italy and the UAE at higher levels of diplomatic relations.
Panelists also discussed how cultural activities, programmes, and cultural exchange, can create positive change by allowing peoples whether inside institutions or from the larger public, to share commonalities, acknowledge differences and learn more about one another’s cultures.
Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan remarked on the importance of diplomatic ties, providing a framework for which to understand the bigger picture of such ties that also include economic and educational relationships.
Moreover, he explained that a successful partnership is defined by the genuine personal connections made with others and secured by finding a strong path by which to build collaborations in areas of education innovation and culture.
Laila Binbrek, the Coordinating Director of the UAE National Pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia explained how the pavilion presents contemporary art and the architectural practices of the UAE to the Italian and international public and encourages them to learn about the UAE’s rich art ecosystem.
The UAE pavilion in Venice also plays a key role in advancing research and scholarship as critical resource accessible to everyone.
Emphasising the same angle, Manal Ataya said SMA’s audiences including tourists and members of the UAE public, which includes various nationalities, have the opportunity to learn about Italian culture, history and heritage through the programmes and exhibitions SMA hosts in its museums.
“These events include the most recent ‘Wonder & Inspiration: Venice and the Arts of Islam’ exhibition and the ‘Drop by Drop Life Falls from the Sky. Water, Islam and Art’ which was held in collaboration with Fondazione Torino Musei, Italy last year. These exhibitions and accompanying educational programmes are an important and effective way to encourage understanding and to appreciate our connections that run centuries old,” said Ataya.
The session which offered a lively discussion and provided insight into the work of diplomatic and cultural relations has attracted nearly 100 virtual attendees.