Emirati – French Cultural Dialogue

The United Arab Emirates and France have built up ever closer ties since the creation of the Federation in 1971. The Founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed, whose memory was honoured in 2018 for the 100th anniversary of his birth, has continually sought, as all his French counterparts, to promote a relationship based on friendship and trust. This relationship is nurtured by a privileged strategic partnership, a close political and defence cooperation, strong economic bonds and flagship projects in the fields of culture and education.

This long-standing and strong friendship between the authorities of our two coun­tries was reaffirmed on the occasion of the inauguration of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, on November 8th 2017, by the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, the Vice-President, Prime minister, Minister of Defence of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

This friendship is also the result of mutual understanding between the peoples of our two countries, as illustrated by many joint initiatives: the Louvre Abu Dhabi, first universal museum of the Arab world, Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, an Emirati uni­versity delivering French degrees to students from various nationalities, INSEAD and ESMOD, leading French institutions settled in the UAE, as well as other French schools and universities which have partnered with prestigious Emirati institutions, notably in the fields of medicine, law and arts.

The “Emirati-French Cultural Programme” dedicated to the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, marked the success of the last ten years of cultural cooperation. This success had to carry on. It is for this reason in particular that we signed, on  November 9th 2017, a new cooperation agreement that implements the “Emirati-French Cultural Dialogue”, in order to raise the level of our ambitions for our exchanges and encounters, in France and in the UAE.

Since a dialogue can only truly exist if we share the same languages, we have taken firm commitments to promote both of our languages. The teaching of French has been reintroduced this year in Emirati public schools for the first time since 1988. We welcome this concrete achievement and are very grateful to the pilot schools leading the way, with the support of French curriculum schools in the UAE. We also welcome the project of opening an intensive training session in Arabic media and Gulf dialects and cultures at Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, along with other numerous initiatives to promote Arabic teaching in France, in schools and lear­ning centers, supported both by French government authorities and cultural institu­tions such as the Arab World Institute (IMA).

Initially planned for 2018 only, it was decided to extend the “Emirati-French Cultural Dialogue” for another year following its tremendous success. This Cultural Dialogue is the occasion to renew our long-standing friendship through initiatives demonstrating the boundless energy of our creative communities and their willingness to use this momentum to achieve innovative projects.

This third and last publication offers a comprehensive look at the activities and events to come, until the closing of the Dialogue in March 2020 two years after its launching.

We would like to warmly thank all the actors, explorers, artists, sponsors and institutions taking part in the Emirati-French Cultural Dialogue for their invaluable contribution to the meeting of our two cultures.

H.E. Noura bint Mohammed AL KAABI

Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development of the United Arab Emirates

H.E. Ludovic POUILLE

Ambassador of France to the United Arab Emirates

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