World Muslim Communities Council postpones its international conference

The World Muslim Communities Council announced the postponement of its international conference ‘Islamic Unity: Concept, Opportunities, Challenges’, which was scheduled to be held on 12-14 December, due to the developments of the of the new coronavirus variant Omicron.

Dr. Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of The Council, said a new date will be announced for the conference, after the end of this emergency event.

“Although the UAE, which is hosting the event, is not affected by this new variant, but the precautionary measures taken in some countries might lead to a lockdown there, making the return of guests coming from these countries very difficult,” he added.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Ministers, officials hail launch of National Strategy for Cultural and Creative Industries

Cabinet ministers have lauded the launch of the UAE’s National Strategy for the Cultural and Creative Industries today by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai.

The strategy is aimed at promoting the growth of the cultural and creative industries sector and placing it among the top ten economic sectors in the country with the aim of contributing 5% of the national GDP.

The strategy, a first-of-its-kind in the region, aims to strengthen the country’s position on the global cultural and creativity map and enhance global competitiveness indicators in this field. It highlights the UAE’s pivotal role in empowering and inspiring creative thinking, and as a destination of choice for cultural practitioners and creative entrepreneurs from around the world.

Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth stressed the importance of the cultural and creative industries as a major driver of sustainable development. It is in line with the UAE’s strategy to diversify the economy and increase the economic contribution of the cultural and creative industries to at least 5% of the GDP in the next ten years. Also on the agenda is a plan to double the number of enterprises operating in the sector as well as creating new jobs and raising the average income of workers, considering the 22 free zones around the different emirates that cater to and attract freelancers and creative start-ups to set up, live, and work in the UAE.

To achieve these objectives, the strategy focuses on 40 initiatives covering three main segments including talents and creatives; professionals and business environment; and enabling the business environment. These include 16 initiatives aimed at talents and creatives; 10 initiatives for professionals and the business environment; and 14 initiatives for enabling the business environment.

She explained that the strategy of the Ministry of Culture and Youth is based on the partnerships between the public and private sectors to implement comprehensive programs to develop the cultural and creative industries sector. The launch of this strategy reflects the interest of the government of the UAE and its leadership in this vital sector. Their efforts for the success of these industries will ensure that the creative sector supports our vision for the future and acts as a pillar of our country’s economy.”

Noura Al Kaabi has been leading the efforts to realize the vision of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE; His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai; and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, to develop the infrastructure needed to enable and promote the cultural and creative industries, which will help achieve the UAE’s ambition of becoming a global center of creativity.

She said: “Given the critical importance of the cultural and creative industries on the global economy, the United Nations declared 2021 as the ’International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development’ which underlines the strong link between these industries to achieve global sustainable development despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Her Excellency explained that the National Strategy for Cultural and Creative Industries is working to unite efforts at the federal and local levels to achieve the strategic objectives of institutions operating in this sector, in partnership with the government and private sectors, educational institutions and non-governmental organizations.

Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced technology said: “Under the direction of the UAE’s leadership and in line with the strategic targets of the Principles of the 50, the UAE focuses on enabling its economy to be one of the strongest and among the most active economies in the world. The launch of the National Strategy for Cultural and Creative Industries will support the cultural and creative sector and lead to more growth opportunities that enhance the UAE’s competitiveness globally.”

“The partnership between the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology and the Ministry of Culture and Youth comes as part of the efforts to drive growth in the economic sectors for the next fifty years, and we are committed to supporting the cultural and creative industries as part of the government’s strategy. We offer our support through the standards and technical regulations sector within the ministry, to ensure sustainability of cultural and creative industries through policies, regulations and legislation, as well as a combination of culture, creativity and advanced technology, to facilitate the availability of these products in global markets. We will also review and strengthen policies and legislation and support technological progress in the field of cultural and creative industries, while also supporting research and development in these industries.”

“We are confident that working together is part of the commitment as we move forward towards the UAE Centennial 2071. As we progress on the road towards the next fifty years, we are supported by efforts on a national level for the UAE’s bright future, especially through the national industrial strategy and advanced technology, which focuses among its objectives on: transforming the UAE into a regional and global center for future industries and enhance its value in the national economy.”

Dr. Abdulrahman Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation lauded the National Strategy for Cultural and Creative Industries launched by the Ministry of Culture and Youth, for its potential role in enhancing the quality of the workforce in the UAE by greatly improving the competencies and talents. This, in turn, would contribute to improving market competitiveness, which would positively reflect on the country’s global competitiveness.

His Excellency stressed the Ministry’s keenness to support this strategy, and to actively participate in its implementation on a national level to achieve comprehensive and sustainable development for the nation, is in line with the Ministry’s mandate within the government’s framework.

Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, affirmed that the activities of the creative economy are a way to proactively advance comprehensive and sustainable economic and social development in the UAE and prepare for the future. It contributes to achieving the vision of the wise leadership in line with the objectives of the ‘UAE’s principles of the fifty’.

bin Touq Al Marri added: “The UAE is leading the Arab world and is second globally in the field of creative goods and services. It ranks sixth in the world in the creative goods exports index, according to the results of the Global Innovation Index 2021. The launch of the National Strategy for Cultural and Creative Industries represents a huge leap in the development of the creative economy. It plays a key role in enhancing the country’s position as a leading destination in this promising, diversified and rich sector full of opportunities,” noting that the outcomes of this pioneering strategy will lead to the development of industries related to culture, heritage, creativity, arts and entertainment, including digital and new media, and support the new economic sector in the country.

The strategy will enhance the UAE’s position as a global destination for the knowledge economy based on creativity, innovation, talent and technology.

He reiterated the keenness of the Ministry of Economy to contribute effectively to achieving the objectives of the strategy by developing a legislative system for cultural and creative industries to make the UAE an attractive destination for talent and investments. It will also facilitate more businesses in the cultural and creative sector and develop the intellectual property rights system to provide protection for creative industries in all its forms, including individual creators and entrepreneurs. It will also encourage and support the exports of cultural and creative products and services, opening new global markets, and improving the work environment for small and medium-sized companies operating in this area through policies and measures that support economic growth.

Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development, said: “The Ministry of Community Development is keen to support the National Strategy for Cultural and Creative Industries prepared by the Ministry of Culture and Youth. We will be launching several initiatives and programs to promote sustainable development in this vital sector, most notably, we will be monitoring closely the work of non-governmental organizations and institutions operating in the cultural sector, and improving the mechanism for classifying and publicizing associations (technical service).

We will enable the formation of associations and non-governmental organizations in the cultural and creative sphere and help them play a more central role in the economic development of the nation. We will work to establish more such institutions for greater impact by developing the legislative system to support this sector.”

She added: “Implementing the strategy’s objectives reflects our keenness to achieve the vision of our wise leadership, and our national agenda to support the cultural and creative community in the UAE and enhance its role in the nation’s economic growth. This will also open new horizons and help us build a stronger creative community as we move ahead towards the UAE’s Centennial 2071.”

Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of education said: “The Ministry of Education is working on several plans to achieve the objectives of the National Strategy for Cultural and Creative Industries. These include designing cultural and creative education programs for early childhood, to identify creators from an early age, discover their talents, and nurture them as future creators.

It also includes developing educational policies to ensure we provide world-class education that supports the cultural and creative industries. We will also focus on the qualifying cadres and educational methods and enhance the facilities and tools necessary to produce future creators.

The ministry is also working on initiatives to stimulate creativity in the educational system and enhance creative skills development programs by reviewing curricula, to identify gaps and keep pace with recent developments in the field of cultural and creative industries.

“We will also organize programs that enhance future skills and global citizenship in cultural and creative industries. Development of grants for cultural studies and research is also part of these initiatives that will provide a balanced approach to develop the cultural and creative industries sector and align it with the needs of the labor market.” He concluded.

Hanan Ahli, Director of the Federal Center for Competitiveness and Statistics said: “The Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Center works to support the National Strategy for the Cultural and Creative Industries, as well as other national strategies. Our leaders pay special attention to the various industrial and economic sectors in the UAE as they play an integral role in boosting our national economy. These sectors, based on a strong foundation and supported by innovation and advanced technology, are recognized globally.

She added that the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Center entered a strategic partnership with the Ministry of Culture and Youth to launch the national program to develop the economic statistical framework for the cultural and creative industries, in cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the national statistical centers. These entities jointly worked to prepare and implement an action plan for collecting, analyzing and assessing the statistical data that serves the objectives of the project within an integrated statistical framework at the federal and local levels. They are also preparing a comprehensive statistical methodology to measure the contribution of the cultural and creative industries sector in the national economy.

The Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Center will also measure the economic and social indicators of the cultural and creative industries to share it with decision-makers and relevant government agencies to measure the contribution of the cultural and creative industries sector to the country’s GDP.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Our martyrs will remain in our hearts: Mohammed Al Bowardi

On Commemoration Day, Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bowardi, Minister of State for Defence Affairs, said that, on this day, the UAE commemorates its martyrs, who have made the ultimate sacrifice and went down in history as defenders of justice.

In his speech on the occasion, he said, “Commemoration Day is a precious national event on which we renew our loyalty to the UAE’s leadership, invest in our sons and reinforce the country by educating and training them and enhancing their skills, so they will be ready to assume their responsibilities and be the protective shield of this country.”

“I would like to note the country’s leadership spares no effort to support the families of martyrs, who have set the greatest examples of giving in defence of the country, and will remain in our hearts,” he added.

“We pray to Allah Almighty on this day to protect the UAE’s leadership and people and grant us continued safety and security, and live up to the expectations of our leadership,” he said in conclusion.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre continues receiving visitors of ‘Artistic Characteristics- Elegant Calligraphy and Inspiring Features’ Exhibition

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre (SZGMC) continues receiving visitors to the exhibition titled ‘Artistic Characteristics – Elegant Calligraphy and Inspiring Features’, which has kicked-off on 18 November, to celebrate the International Day of Islamic Arts, to preserve and revive the artistic heritage of Islamic civilisation.

This exhibition reflects SZGMC’s message to revive the sciences and arts of Islamic civilization, as part of the Center’s belief in arts as a common language and an effective tool for civilized cross-cultural dialogue. This comes in line with the mosque’s position as a modern model of Islamic architecture that is unique in its creative arts and architectural designs, which is evident in its corridors and halls, which has made it a leading global cultural destination on the world tourism map.

The exhibition organized at the Visitors’ Center of SZGMC in Abu Dhabi, provides an opportunity for visitors from different parts of the world to view its cultural content distributed across six sections dealing with different aspects of Islamic arts.

Cultural tour guides at the Center provides detailed explanations for visitors about the exhibition’s content, as one of the most prominent global exhibitions, and educates them about the architectural arts manifested in the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, in addition to the importance of ancient and contemporary Islamic arts. Additionally, the exhibition raises awareness of the contributions of Islamic art in preserving human civilization.

Tour guides pointed that through this exhibition, SZGMC seeks to highlight the vision and mission set by the founding father, late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, for the mosque, to be one of the most important bridges of civilizational rapprochement, a platform that encourages global dialogue, and spread values of tolerance and coexistence between different nationalities.

The organization of this exhibition reflects the UAE’s strategy, seeking to build bridges of cultural, civilizational, and human rapprochement. It also seeks to spread the noble values and lofty human concepts through different arts and cultures.

The first section of the exhibition ‘Through the Pages of History’ contains a rare collection of books, where visitors learn about the history of Islamic art in different regions of the world, through an interesting journey in the pages of eight books that are amongst the rarest worldwide, which are considered precious pearls in the dearly curated collection of Al Jami’ library.

The second section ‘Scripts from History’ takes visitors to a world of beauty that shines in the exemplary professionalism of the various kinds of Arabic calligraphy. Visitors will see samples of the Koufi script, Thuluth script, Moroccan script, Muhaqqaq script, Diwani script, and other artistic scripts created by calligraphers. They are part of the collection of Mohammed Ahmad Al Murr, an Emirati writer who held various senior positions in the UAE government and is passionate about collecting Arabic and foreign artworks related to Islamic art, with particular emphasis on Arabic calligraphy.

‘Inspired by Photos’, this section highlights a number of photos that feature Islamic art through the lenses of female students from the Higher Colleges of Technology who reflected in their highly professional and artistic photos the harmonious and symmetrical Islamic architecture of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which in turn, reflects the themes of cultural dialogue.

‘The Language of the Brush’, this section features artworks drawn by the female students of Zayed University, drawing on an unmistakable influence of, and pride in, Islamic art. The hard classic lines and freehand ones have expressed the feelings behind letters and words in color and meaning.

‘Spaces of Light Photos’, this section will take visitors to the most creative artwork of both professional and amateur photographers, reflecting the messages and themes of the mosque and the artistic and aesthetic features of the various eras of Islamic architecture. These photographers endeavored to reflect these features in their contributions to the competition called “Spaces of Light Photography Award” launched by the Mosque under the auspices of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs, who genuinely believe in the role of photography in conveying the messages of the Mosque.

The sixth section An Interactive Journey into the Islamic Culture, includes an interactive screen that takes visitors on a cultural journey to the ‘Coins of Islam: History Revealed’ exhibition, with the aim to revive the history of Islamic arts and their human values that express the Center’s message to achieve harmony among people and find a common language for civilizational dialogue.

The exhibition’s collections of photographs and paintings express the Center’s keenness to present artistic and cultural creations, as they embody the aesthetics of Islamic art manifested in the corridors and halls of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which in turn expresses the finest forms of civilized dialogue, through its harmony and comprehensiveness for several eras and cultures in a unified architectural form.

The SZGMC, an affiliate to the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, enjoys the support and the follow up of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs. It was established to represent a cultural and intellectual platform formed on the combined basis of cultural and national values. It serves as an Iconic masterpiece reflecting the concepts and values of the late founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, deeply rooted in the sentiment of the nation, and constitutes an extension of the doctrines of the tolerant Islamic religion, and the core values that form UAEs national identity.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 261.09 million

More than 261.09 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 5,455,463 have died, according to a Reuters tally on Monday.

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in December 2019.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Philippines launches campaign to vaccinate 9 million people in three days

The Philippines launched on Monday a drive to vaccinate nine million people against COVID-19 over three days, deploying security forces and using tens of thousands of volunteers to help administer the programme.

Three million vaccinations per day is nearly four times the average of 829,000 daily shots in November.

The government has said it would deploy 160,000 volunteers in 11,000 vaccination sites nationwide for the three-day campaign.

Source: Emirates News Agency