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On a mission to preserve the past
posted on 28/02/2015

The UAE's history has not been lost in the sands of time; neither has its culture, heritage and the way in which Emiratis lived.
Thanks to the Hamdan bin Mohammad Heritage Centre (HHC), everything linked to this 43-year-old nation's past is being preserved and revived for generations to come so as to strengthen Emiratis' sense of national identity and familiarise residents with the country's rich heritage.
"Preserving heritage and keeping traditions alive is essential for any country,” Fatma Arif Al Bannay, director of Al Oula radio station and general manager of the Media Office at HHC, said. "A country's heritage is its link to its past, and preserving and promoting national heritage among younger generations is imperative to familiarise them with ancient traditions and ways of life.”
The centre was established on April, 6, 2013 under a decree issued by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.
It has a vision to not only nurture traditional sports and cultural pursuits through various events and competitions such as falconry, youlah, poetry, diving, shooting and hunting, but also preserve and document the UAE's intellectual, scientific and cultural heritage.
"Promoting and popularising Emirati culture and heritage among citizens and residents is at the heart of the founding vision of the centre. Enlisting public support and participation in our events, tournaments and initiatives is fundamental to achieving our objectives,” Fatma said.
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The centre also conducts research on the UAE's heritage, cultural pursuits, history and its people with the aim of building a strong body of reference material for researchers.
Competitions such as the Fazza Championships have today gained global recognition and are considered among the most important heritage sporting events worldwide, thanks to a strong field of competitors and a generous prize fund.
"This has helped connect young Emiratis to their heritage and culture and created opportunities for them to be introduced to traditional sports and to actively participate in them,” Fatma said.
Another initiative called Wathiqati (My Document) aims to provide a strong historical reference for future generations and researchers by preserving and archiving historical documents and collectibles.
However, preserving and promoting heritage is an exercise that demands unwavering commitment, targeted efforts and continuous community engagement, Fatma said.
The centre has so far seen an active response with their Wathiqati initiative with many contributors coming forward with old documents and manuscripts, which has been helping the centre in preserving the history of the UAE.
"True to the inclusive spirit of the UAE, the HHC welcomes everyone in the UAE — whether Emirati or expatriate — to contribute to and participate in our initiatives. Our Fazza Championships, for instance, have been drawing an increasing number of participants and spectators from among the expatriate community as well as tourists, particularly in the falconry championships,” Fatma said.
She pointed out that a 12-day camel trek that the centre organised recently had a half-American, half-British participant apart from 15 Emirati youth, who joined Emirati voyagers on a fascinating cultural expedition through the deserts of the UAE. – Gulf News -


Sultan bin Zayed urges youth to preserve ancestors' heritage
posted on 05/02/2015

H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President's Representative and Chairman of Emirates Heritage Club, has received a group of school students of Al Ain City.
At the meeting which took place at the main stand of the Sultan bin Zayed Heritage Festival in Sweihan City, H.H. Sheikh Sultan urged the 25 youth to take interest in their country's national heritage as an important component of national character and identity.
H.H. Sheikh Sultan also urged them to avoid being negatively influenced by traditions and habits that are alien to their society so as to be able to contribute to the development and building of the UAE.
The students later toured the venue of the festival taking place between 1-14 February in Sweihan City.
Hundreds of nationals, tourists and residents are still thronging the popular festival which hosts traditional camel races, beauty contests and a Saluki race. Besides the races and competitions, members of the public are being treated to an exciting line-up of heritage and entertainment programmes including traditional games, Yolla, falconry and Emirati cuisine and traditional Majlis.
Adding to the experience, visitors enjoy a traditional market, a heritage village and traditional activities every day in addition to a traditional souq and contests for handicrafts and horse riding. Furthermore, visitors can even expect prizes for attending the festival.
A heritage village set up at the racecourse features Rababa performers, pottery and souvenir exhibitions and performances by Bou Theib stables' horsemen. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Young Emiratis make heritage trip by camel
posted on 22/01/2015

A 10-day camel trek began on Tuesday, taking young Emiratis on a journey to discover their heritage.
The camel caravan, organised by the Hamdan bin Mohammed Heritage Centre in collaboration with the Yemeni voyager Ahmed Al Qassemi, took 15 young people from Al Naqba through the UAE desert. The initiative is to help the current generation discover and appreciate their heritage.
Mr Al Qassemi, has undertaken a number of trips across the world and has covered more than 40,000 kilometres to date. Participants on the 200km journey will use traditional navigational techniques such as maps and sun positions to guide them.
Under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, "The centre seeks to promote activities such as this camel trek that offer interesting and engaging opportunities to introduce young Emiratis to their heritage and culture”, said Abdullah bin Dalmouk, chief executive of the heritage centre. "Our goal is to instil a sense of belonging and pride and foster a stronger national identity among Emirati citizens, while at the same time creating inclusive opportunities to showcase the country's heritage to all residents and visitors to the UAE.”
The participants have received camel care training and lessons on map-reading and navigational techniques. The journey is being documented for cultural preservation purposes.
The centre also organises events and competitions as well as studies and specialised research for the preservation and documentation of the UAE's national heritage. It acts as a data centre for researchers and the local community. – The National -


Sharjah Ruler lays foundation memorial stone in Khor Fakkan
posted on 21/01/2015

H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has laid the foundation stone of the memorial building in the shape of a helmet to symbolise the resistance in Khor Fakkan city.
Cheerful people welcomed the event attended by key officials and dignitaries.
Upon his arrival at the mountain top at the entry of the city, where the memorial will be built, Sheikh Sultan was received by Sheikh Saeed bin Saqr Al Qasimi, deputy chairman of the Ruler's office in Khor Fakkan, and a number of senior officials.
Sheikh Sultan said, "It is a blessing day to lay the foundation stone of this beautiful building at the entrance of the city to tell the history of this city to the whole world. This building will include a park for those who come to Khor Fakkan seeking pleasure. The memorial building will be in the shape of a helmet to symbolise the resistance in the city." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Camel beauties head for Al Dhafra fest
posted on 19/12/2014

For several days now, the Western Region highway has been busy with trucks arriving from all over the Arabian Gulf, bringing in some of the most beautiful and most valuable camels from the region to compete in this year's Al Dhafra Camel Festival.
Taking place in Madinat Zayed from December 20 to January 1, the annual festival of Bedouin traditions is expected to be bigger and more eventful than ever.
Organised by the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi (CPHFC), the festival will give away more than Dh55 million in prizes, which include 225 four-wheel drive vehicles for the 15 competitions that will take place daily.
"We don't know yet how many participants are going to come, as camel owners are arriving everyday from the UAE and other parts of the Gulf, setting up camp in the desert and they will register for the competitions daily. We do expect, though, thousands of camels to be here for the next 10 days,” Abdullah Al Qubaisi, director of Projects Management at the CPHFC, told Khaleej Times.
Apart from 72 competitions for the camel beauty shows, the festival is organising this year 14 other contests related to Emirati traditions, including the best milking camel, saluki race, falconry, dates and dates packaging, photography, handicrafts and classic cars competition.
For the first time this year, there will be a horse race too and a competition for the best handmade cover for the winning camels.
Opened to Emirati artisans aged between 20 and 60 years, the heritage camel cover must be handmade and include traditional Emirati ornaments such as Al Tarabish (tassels) or Al Telli (weaved silver and golden threads).
The top 10 winners will receive a total of Dh100,000, with Dh30,000 awarded to the best looking cover.
"We would like to reactivate and stimulate the practice and dependence on handicrafts among Emiratis in general. The competition and the prizes were set to encourage our people to give their best in the field of traditional crafts, so as to meet the significance of the event and its key heritage and historical merit,” said Obaid Khalfan Al Mazrouei, director of Al Dhafra Festival's Heritage Competitions.
Favourites from the past eight editions of the festival are back this year too, including the traditional souq, where about 100 Emirati women will sell their hand-crafted products (anything from oil perfumes to dresses and spices), and the camel auction, where racing camels may fetch hundreds of thousands of dirhams.
The festival will be open to the public from 9am till sunset daily. – Khaleej Times -§ion=nationgeneral


Sharjah Ruler guest of honour in UNESCO's celebration of World Arabic Language Day
posted on 19/12/2014

His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah was the guest of honour in a ceremony organised yesterday by UNESCO in Paris to celebrate World Arabic Language Day.
Sheikh Sultan was received by Abdullah Mohammed Al Owais, Chairman of the Sharjah Department of Culture and Information, Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, Abdullah Muharib, Director General of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO), Abdullah Musabah Al Nuaimi, UAE Permanent Representative to the UNESCO, senior officials, diplomats, writers and artists.
The celebration opened with a poem extolling the Arabic language and a welcome speech delivered by Dr. Ziad Aldrees, President of the Advisory Board of the Plan for the Development of Arab Culture and Saudi Arabia's Permanent Representative to UNESCO who highlighted the link between the Arabic language and Islam.
"Islam did the Arabic language a great favour. It protected it from the threats of extinction like what happened to other languages," he said.
In her speech, Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, welcomed Sheikh Sultan and thanked him for his continuous support to the organisation's activities related to Arabic language, including the Sharjah Prize for Arabic Language, which is organised by the UNESCO since 1998.
She added that Sheikh Sultan's attendance of the event was of great significance as it highlighted the link between the Arabic language and other cultures which is evident in the Arabic Alphabets and the Arabic calligraphy.
Sheikh Sultan opened the Arabic calligraphy exhibition, held as part of the event and displayed works by leading Arab and foreign calligraphers. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Mohamed bin Zayed directs building permanent heritage village
posted on 18/12/2014

His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has given a directive for building a permanent heritage village in Al Wathba City at the site of Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival 2014, taking place from 20 November to 12 December, said Sheikh Sultan bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, Advisor to the UAE President, Chairman of the Emirates Camel Racing Federation and the chairman of the higher organising committee of the festival.
Sheikh Sultan greeted President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan on the occasion, thanked His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed for his supportive initiative and H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs for following up on the event.
He hailed the success of this year's edition of the festival which attracted more than 60,000 Emirati and expatriate families.
Sheikh Sultan noted that the UAE leaders who provide full support to the country's rich heritage are walking in the steps of the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
The festival celebrates the UAE's culture and heritage, showcases the rich diversity of its traditions and provides an educational platform for the public. It also illustrates that the UAE's development and progress has not been a coincidence but a legacy of the forefathers' inspiring achievements. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Sultan opens Heritage Institute
posted on 15/12/2014

His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, on Sunday opened the Sharjah Heritage Institute (SHI), which houses ICCROM-ATHAR (Architectural and Archaeological Tangible Heritage in the Arab Region), a regional conservation centre founded by the Rome-based ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property).
Sheikh Sultan also unveiled a memorial plaque detailing the opening of the Institute, which coincides with the selection of Sharjah as the capital of Islamic Culture 2014, and then toured various areas of the Institute, whose design was inspired from Islamic architecture.
The Institutes has four galleries and exhibitions, all cantered on Arab and Islamic heritage and civilisation, as well as works of students from the American University of Sharjah and paintings depicting heritage and culture, having been created by students from the schools.
The Ruler of Sharjah was also briefed on the mission and diverse training programmes and services provided by ICCROM Sharjah.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Abdul Aziz Al Musalam, Chairman of SHI, paid tribute to Sheikh Sultan for his pioneering cultural and heritage initiatives.
‘'SHI is one of the latest mega-projects launched by Sheikh Sultan and coincides with the opening of ICCROM Sharjah, coming from a longstanding partnership between the Government of Sharjah and ICCROM beginning in the 1990s, to provide professional training programmes aimed at enhancing conservation practices and recognition of professional accomplishments in the Arab World. Sheikh Sultan allocated a permanent building for ICCROM Sharjah at the SHI,'' he said. – The Gulf Today -


Mohammed bin Rashid visits Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival
posted on 06/12/2014

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, on Friday visited the Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival 2014 taking place between 20 November-12 December in the Al Wathba City.
H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid toured the venue of the festival which is named in honour of the UAE's founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. He visited the four sections of the event which focuses on four areas that have shaped life in the UAE – desert, oases, the sea and mountains- and examines the pivotal role that people from the past have played in preserving the nation's history.
The festival celebrates the U.A.E.'s culture, heritage and showcases the rich diversity of its traditions, to provide an educational platform for the public. It also illustrates that the UAE's development and progress has not been a coincidence but a legacy of the forefathers' inspiring achievements.
He also visited a special pavilion that showcases Sheikh Zayed's life and achievements since the establishment of the UAE 43 years ago.
He also viewed historical documents and photos put on display for the first time for the public in order to showcase the history of the UAE.
Expressing his admiration of the event, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid concluded his tour by commenting, "The Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival refreshes the memory of our people and serves as an eye-opener for the young generation to see the heritage, culture and history of their forefathers." He emphasised that the wise leaders of the U.A.E. will continue to nurture the authentic Arab heritage, traditions and noble values of the U.A.E. people while, at the same time, reaching out to the world's cultures and civilisations to build humane bridges with them, regardless of race, geography or religion.
He also hailed the organisation of the festival under the patronage of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan with the support of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and under the personal supervision of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.
Additionally, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid urged the nation's young generation to cling to their national identity and heritage and to be, at the same time, open to others to explore foreign cultures and tap into knowledge to enrich their own culture and promote it globally.
H.H. Sheikh Mohammed was accompanied during his tour by Sheikh Sultan bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, Advisor to the UAE President and Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee of the festival, Khalifa Saeed Suleiman, Director-General of Dubai's Protocol Department, Hamad Saeed Al Niyadi, Director of the Office of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs and Deputy Chairman of the Organising Committee and Saeed Humaid Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Meydan City Corporation. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Sultan orders renaming Heart of Sharjah’s bid for UNESCO World Heritage Sites
posted on 29/11/2014

Under the directives of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, the Higher Committee of the Heart of Sharjah's bid to be entered on the list of World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) announced updating the bid submitted by Sharjah to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
The new title of the bid is "Sharjah, a Gateway to Trucial States" instead of "Heart of Sharjah".
The move aims to highlight the historical role played by the emirate of Sharjah in the political, economic, cultural and social contexts within what was known the "Trucial States Council" which was established in Sharjah during the era of British rule.
The council played a great role in paving the way for establishing united ties based on the brotherly relations of the rulers of the seven emirates, leading to the announcement of the formation of the U.A.E. on the 2nd of December 1971.
UNESCO has registered the Heart of Sharjah in the tentative list of World Heritage Sites, in a testimony of the archaeological and historical richness of the U.A.E.. The announcement was made in February 2014, in concurrence with the official celebrations of Sharjah Islamic Cultural Capital 2014.
The achievement comes two years after the international organisation's approval to study the file of the Ancient Sharjah and the Emirate's bid for registration on the tentative list of the World Heritage Sites.
Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Higher Committee of Heart of Sharjah's bid to World Heritage Sites, said that the "Sharjah, a Gateway to the Trucial States" file gives the Heart of Sharjah more value, as the new name highlights the political, economic, cultural and social roles played by the area in the previous century, when it hosted the first meetings of the Trucial States Council, creating a shared vision among leaders of the country and leading to the formation of the United Arab Emirates. She added that the Heart of Sharjah was the haven of trading activities and cradle of cultural exchange and served as a point of convergence of civilisations and a meeting point between peoples and tribes over many decades.
Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi extended thanks to Sheikh Dr Sultan for supporting the "Sharjah, a Gateway to the Trucial States" bid and for his directives to highlight the human heritage and cultural legacy of the area.
She also lauded the efforts made by Sharjah Department of Culture and Information and the National Council of Tourism and Antiquities, saying that any achievement made by the emirate of Sharjah is an achievement for the entire nation as it will highlight the rich heritage of the U.A.E. and boost tourist traffic driven by increased interest in the area.
Abdullah Al Owais, Chairman of the Executive Committee of Heart of Sharjah's World Heritage Site bid, commended the update of the initial file submitted to UNESCO, affirming that the new title will help expand the geographical scope of the area nominated to be inscribed as a World Heritage Site, and will highlight the role of Sharjah during one of the most vital periods in the region's history – the mid-twentieth century.
He added that the update of the file coincides with the nationwide celebrations of U.A.E. National Day, which reaffirms the steadfast commitment of the U.A.E.'s prudent leadership to unity, not only as a means to growth and prosperity, but also as a vital need of life, a need for reinforcing solidarity among brothers, confronting challenges, and maintaining national gains.
Shurooq is developing the Heart of Sharjah in what is considered as the first and largest ever heritage development in the region. Seeking to reflect what Sharjah was like over half a century ago, the project will restore and revamp the city's traditional areas to create a tourist and trade destination with contemporary artistic touches that retains the feel of the 1950s.
Scheduled for completion in 2025, the first of five phases is already underway, and Shurooq has set up a joint committee – comprising representatives from leading governmental and private bodies, to oversee the implementation of this first phase. The Heart of Sharjah will also be realised in accordance with international standards of sustainable development and environmental principles.
The "Sharjah, a Gateway to Trucial States" bid is expected to be inscribed on the list World Heritage Sites, after evaluation by the relevant UNESCO bodies, which will conduct a number of visits and assessments, in collaboration with the local supervisory bodies, during the remaining period of 2014 and the next year, before recommending whether to inscribe the landmarks on the list. Final inclusion in the list will serve as international recognition of the exceptional international value of the historical area in Sharjah, and will help to maintain the area in accordance with UNESCO standards, promoting and highlighting it at the global level.
The National Council of Tourism and Antiquities has nominated seven Emirati sites for entry on the tentative list of the UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. The nominated places included three sites from Sharjah (Sir Bu Nair Island, the Cultural Landscape of the Central Region – Mleiha – and Heart of Sharjah). – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival attracts over 15,000 visitors on its third day
posted on 26/11/2014

The Higher Organising Committee of Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival 2014 has announced that this year, the festival attracted more than 15,000 people on its third day, following a grand opening ceremony that rallied over 20,000 U.A.E. citizens, residents, and tourists.
The festival, which will run until December 12, is being held under the patronage of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, having been launched by H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and held with the support of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces.
Delegates from Belarus, Georgia, and Saudi Arabia toured various attractions such as the "Memories of a Nation" wing, which included rare historical and cultural pictures of the U.A.E., and the "Zayed and Horses" gallery, where portraits of legendary horses from the Al Nahyan stables were on display.
Humaid Al Neyadi, Vice Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee of Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival 2014 and General Manager of the Private Office of H.H. Sheikh Mansour, attributed the strong turn-out to the diverse attractions in this year's festival.
Al Neyadi pointed to the Memories of a Nation display of historical milestones and facts being shared with the public for the very first time as one example of these attractions. "(The wing contains) nine sections that display some of the rarest pictures of the U.A.E.'s late founder, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, in addition to many other exhibitions that portray his great accomplishments in various fields at various stages of the U.A.E.'s foundation," Al Neyadi explained. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Nahyan attends Heritage Village functions at Yas Marina Circuit
posted on 23/11/2014

H.H. Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, on Friday attended the functions organised at the Heritage Village on the sidelines of the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit.
During his tour, H.H. Sheikh Nahyan viewed various activities, including the traditional oyster processing and handicrafts.
He also visited the stand of the General Women's Union where he was briefed on the efforts to promote the role played by Emirati women.
He also attended a performance of rebab, the traditional one-string and violin-like musical instrument, and viewed one of the old cars owned by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nayhan.
H.H. Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed also visited the stand of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, that highlighted efforts to showcase the emirate's tourist attractions and promote it as a major tourist destination in the region.
He lauded the organisation of the Heritage Village for the second year in a row and underscored the role of the wise leadership of the U.A.E. in preserving the national heritage. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Emirates Photography Society launches ‘Best Traditional Image’ contest for Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival 2014
posted on 13/11/2014

The Emirates Photography Society has announced that it will launch a ‘Best Traditional Image' contest within the activities of Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival 2014, being held from 20th November to 12th December at Al Wathba in Abu Dhabi.
Abdullah Al Muhairi, the General Coordinator of Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival 2014, said he was happy with the addition of this contest, explaining that it adds a qualitative aspect to the festival's strategic goal of preserving national heritage in all its forms. He added that this will instill in the younger generation an appreciation of the U.A.E.'s authentic traditions, which make up the national identity and cultural scene.
Jassim Al Awadhi, the Chairman of the Emirates Photography Society, said, "We are very proud to participate in this festival, and this is a significant step towards even greater cooperation. It is in line with our goal of supporting the Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival, which offers numerous attractions to enrich our national pride and identity, while preserving our rich diversity of authentic national traditions." He explained that the contest embodies national values and will shed the cameras' lights on the fascinating facts and attractions at the heart of the festival. This will consolidate the U.A.E.'s traditions, safeguard the pillars of national heritage and strengthen the social fabric. The photographs will promote U.A.E. culture by illustrating the nation's past greatness and enabling a renewed understanding of the future.
He said that the contest will attract participants from various segments of society and motivate both amateur enthusiasts and accomplished professionals from various age groups to embrace this visual art. "Their festival photographs will capture an authentic picture of the emirates' culture and embody the originality planted by our forefathers," he explained.
Outlining the conditions for participation, he said that the contest is open to all U.A.E. citizens and residents, saying, "It will run from 20th November to 12th December, and the judging process will be guided by the ancient lifestyles of our ancestors. The results will be announced within two weeks of the festival's end and prizes will be given for the top 3 winners." - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival 2014 launches 6 new competitions
posted on 11/11/2014

The Higher Organising Committee of the Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival 2014 has revealed six diverse competitions that will debut at the festival.
This is in line with the framework of strengthening partnerships with various stakeholders in this cultural event, which takes place at Al Wathba in Abu Dhabi from 20th November to 12th December 2014.
The Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival 2014 is held under the patronage of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan with the support of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces. The festival is conducted under the supervision of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.
Commenting on the adoption of the six competitions within the festival schedule, Humaid Al Neyadi, Vice Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee of Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival 2014 and General Manager of the Private Office of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said, "The Higher Organising Committee of the festival seeks to strengthen ways of communicating with the various parties that contribute to the quality of this edition, supporting all efforts to expand the circle of interaction in this exceptional festival." The events schedule includes six key competitions: ‘Our Emirati Heritage', ‘Sheikh Zayed Our Idol', ‘Best Heritage Image', ‘Best Heritage Press Coverage', ‘Best Supporting Hotel' and ‘Best Supporting Tour Operator'.
Al Neyadi pointed out that the competitions are innovative and ensure greater involvement by various stakeholders, different sectors of society and age groups. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Handicrafts depicting Emirati culture take centre stage at DWHC’s Heritage Village
posted on 02/11/2014

The Heritage Village of the coming second edition of the Dubai World Hospitality Championship (DWHC) has added 53 new traditional crafts — which will be part of the many activities and programmes designed to highlight authentic Emirati hospitality during the exciting three-day competition.
Alia Rasheed Al Shanqeeti, events manager and director, Heritage Village, DWHC, said: "The DWHC is the first global event of its kind to celebrate Emirati culture, along with its rich heritage, cuisine, antiquities and the hospitality that Emiratis are well known for. The event, which is being organised by Zabeel Palace Hospitality and held in cooperation with the Emirates Culinary Guild and WACS, will also have an Emirati Celebrities competition, a Guf Exhibition and Heritage Village that will display traditional Emirati handicrafts.”
Al Shanqeeti further explained: "The Heritage Village will involve 710 participants, including 130 participants within the traditional crafts category while 40 children will be taking part in workshops and events for children. In addition, the traditional crafts section will include 57 different categories — ‘Alkerkhana,' ‘Talli,' ‘Sadu', ‘wool yarn', ‘wool dyeing' and ‘Kaytan.' Many participants will participate in the village's activities ranging from popular games and workshops teaching kids and workshop like colouring pottery as well as folk art.”
She added that the championship plays a pivotal role in maintaining the popular tradition and the arts of traditional cooking and creation of household products — keeping at pace with the age requirements of time itself, as well as highlighting the global spotlight on the nobility of the heritage of the state and its people. The DWHC also aims to encourage dialogue and exchange of information about the U.A.E. culinary segment.
Al Shanqeeti highlighted the 12 popular types of Emirati folk arts, which will be highlighted to the public during DWHC. Zaabeel Palace Hospitality is keen to highlight these arts in the championship as it represents a part of Emirati folklore and its showcase of cultural diversity among the people and society. – Khaleej Times -§ion=uaebusiness


This year’s Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival ‘different and unique’
posted on 29/10/2014

The four elements of the natural world that have moulded life in the U.A.E. – the desert, oasis, sea and the mountains – will be represented at this year's Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival.
Audience interaction will be a key part of the festival, which promises to be the biggest and best yet, said Humaid Al Neyadi, vice chairman of the higher organisation committee of the Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival.
"This year's edition will be different and unique,” said Mr Al Neyadi. "The 2014 festival is a living museum which will have live interactions for the audience and incorporate the latest technology.”
The annual celebration of the U.A.E.'s heritage and history will be held at Al Wathba from November 20 until December 12. Organisers hope that extending the festival's run to 23 days will help to increase visitor numbers, especially among the young.
"It is essential that we pique the interest of young Emiratis and educate them about their forefathers' heritage,” said Mr Al Neyadi. "This will highlight their role as a link to transfer U.A.E.'s heritage from parents to children and future generations.
"I assure you, children will learn and enjoy themselves immensely this year,” he said.
Horses and camels will be an integral part of the festival's oasis area, offering visitors the chance to ride the animals and watch equestrian displays, as well as exhibitions of the founding President Sheikh Zayed's love of camels and the Arabian horse.
An exhibition on the 17th century poet Majidi bin Dhaher will be the main attraction of the desert environment. Focusing on details of Hilali poetry, readings and competitions will be held every night, while a replica of Al Badiyah mosque – the oldest mosque in the U.A.E. dating back at least 500 years – will feature in the mountain section which will also focus on agriculture and the use of Aflaj, an irrigation system that catches mountain water and controls its movement down man-made subterranean channels.
Also included will be an exhibition on the Arabian Saluki, the breed of dog used by Bedouins.
The sea section will feature an exhibition on dhow building and sailing, while visitors will be able to drink coffee in a traditional coffee house and view the works of Ahmed bin Majid, a famous Emirati navigator, poet and scholar from the 15th century who was known as the Lion of the Sea.
"With more than 200 nationalities making up the population of the U.A.E. it is important to inform them of the heritage and culture of the country they reside in,” said Dr Abdulla El Reyes, Director General of the National Archives.
The festival will reported on by Abu Dhabi Media Company. "We intend to cover the event from beginning to end on all facets of media, including TV, print, and digital media,” said Abdulraheem Al Bateeh, director of public service affairs at ADMC, adding that at least three hours of live coverage from the festival will be shown on the Abu Dhabi Emirates and Abu Dhabi Sports TV channels.
"Abu Dhabi Media's reporting this year will reflect the real on-goings of the festival from multiple angles, including those of the children, women, history, and heritage to name a few.” - The National -


Emirates Heritage Club to launch heritage exhibition
posted on 23/10/2014

The Emirates Heritage Club on Thursday will launch an exhibition under the slogan of 'Thank You Khalifa' in Al Ain, to familiarise the public with the club's vision and goals of reviving the U.A.E. legacy as well as attracting the young to participate in spreading awareness of traditional U.A.E. culture and national heritage.
The implementation of launching the exhibition comes under the directives of Emirates Heritage Club Chairman, H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President's Representative.
Juma Salem Al Darmaki, Director of Museums and Artefacts at the Zayed Studies and Research Unit, said that the unit will participate in presenting rare photos, collectibles, documents and souvenirs which will highlight the great legacy of the late Father of the Nation, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Restoration of U.A.E. heritage and historic sites a priority, says Hamdan bin Zayed
posted on 30/09/2014

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region received on Monday at Al Nakheel Palace members of the executive committee for the restoration and conservation of historic forts in the Western Region which is part of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (ADTCA).
Following a presentation on the planned restoration and renovation of forts in the Western Region, Sheikh Hamdan said the historical sites in the region tell of families and tribes who inhabited areas for hundreds of years and who formed a rich heritage for the current and future generations.
He stressed the importance of renovating historical and cultural landmarks according to the highest standards.
Sheikh Hamdan referred to Western region's tourist map, launched last year by ADCTA which features all of the region's attractions, including desert, oases, forts, towers, in addition to archaeological and wildlife conservation sites. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Celebrating centuries of Al Nahyan poetry
posted on 01/09/2014

379-page book contains poems from Abu Dhabi's ruling family over the course of five centuries — from the 16th to the 20th century.
A collection of verses from 17 poets from Al Nahyan family has been published by the Poetry Academy under the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee umbrella.
The 379-page book contains poems from Abu Dhabi's ruling family over the course of five centuries — from the 16th to the 20th century.
The editors of the collection said the selected works is a "social contribution” to a literary genre that constituted an important part of the local identity and the region's culture and history.
It records the oldest versions of Al Wanna poetry, a form of poetry that characterised the Abu Dhabi society, dating back to Sheikh Dhiab bin Issa Al Nahyan, the first ruler of the emirate to establish a settlement on Abu Dhabi island.
The collection also records the oldest versions of Al Taghrouda poetry, which dates back to Sheikh Sultan bin Shakhbout Al Nahyan in the 19th century.
The Al Nahyan poetic experience also provides an insight into the lifestyle, personality and ideology of the members of the ruling family, who created verses for various purposes — from wisdom and advice to politics, love and enthusiasm.
Al Nahyan poets knew very well that poetry had a huge impact on communicating with all groups and was a perfect channel to explain many social, humanitarian and political affairs. In political poetry, the ruling Sheikhs were actually practicing politics through poetry. The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was a master of this genre.
The collection, which comprises 132 poems with text and vocabulary explanations, is available at the Poetry Academy, National Library and bookshops across the country. - Khaleej Times -§ion=nationgeneral


Dubai Municipality to build Guest House in Al Shindagha area
posted on 07/08/2014

Dubai Municipality held a follow-up meeting regarding its proposed Guest House Project, which will be implemented by its architectural heritage department in Al Shindagha area to discuss the detailed plan and design of the project such as titles, rooms, services and facilities to welcome official delegations and tourists.
The discussion covered different aspects such as providing a hall for exhibitions, a museum to display municipality's projects and photos of heritage that decorates the walls with attractive lighting. The amended design will submitted to the director general Eng. Hussain Nasser Lootah for final approval.
The guest house will be located near by the metro station in Al Shindagha area and expected to include 13 rooms with attached toilets which will be used to accommodate DM's external delegations in addition to two meeting rooms and room for displaying awards and recognitions.
‘The guest house will be executed in line with the vision of Dubai Municipality in preserving the architectural heritage and traditions of the emirate and it will serve as cultural monument,' said Eng. Rashad Bukhash, director of architectural heritage department. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


TCA Abu Dhabi organises National Traditional Handicrafts Festival in October
posted on 07/07/2014

Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, TCA Abu Dhabi, has announced the launch of a National Traditional Handicrafts Festival in the emirate's heritage heartland of Al Ain this coming October.
Running from October 23rd – 29th, and in line with the Authority's objectives to preserve, celebrate and promote the intangible heritage of the U.A.E., the festival will take place at the historic Souk Al Qattara and will feature a series of activities and initiatives, including a souk for crafts, and showcasing heritage material, and traditional products.
A full public programme will accompany the festival and will include heritage competitions for visitors of all ages, such as the Al Yola dance contest for children, a craftsmanship competition, preparation of traditional dishes and the traditional making of Arabic coffee in addition to traditional performances of Al Harbiyah, Al Ayyalah, Rebaba music and Al Shillah.
The festival aims to shed light on the importance of traditional craftsmanship in Emirati heritage and support craftsmen's efforts to preserve, revive, and transfer their skills to future generations. It will be supported by a number of Emirati organisations.
"Craftsmanship was a major source of income for our forefathers and is deep-rooted in our heritage," said Dr. Nasser Ali Al Hamairi, Director of TCA Abu Dhabi's Intangible Heritage Department. "Craftsmanship reflected the very essence of social values at the time and the deep bond between local people and their surrounding environment. Despite the scarcity of natural resources, people were able to invent tools to help them withstand harsh living conditions and these crafts added an aesthetic touch to the details of their daily lives.
du recognised as one of top 50 companies in Arab world by Forbes Middle East
The Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, du, has been recognised by Forbes Middle East as one of the top 50 companies in the Arab world, ranking at number 47 out of 500 companies.
The announcement was made during a ceremony organised by Forbes in Dubai, which listed the best 500 companies in the Arab world for 2014.
Osman Sultan, du's CEO, said, "It is an honour to be listed as of the best companies in the region. Since our launch in 2007, we have been committed to the concept of 'adding life to life' and to using the most innovative methods in our services.
Mr. Sultan continued, "du has had many significant and ground-breaking successes in the U.A.E., in the region and in the world, which is the reason for it being recognised on the list of top companies in the Arab world." The Forbes Middle East's Top 500 Companies in the Arab World listing is based on financial statements of publically-listed companies in 2013. The ranking is based on the company's total revenue, net profit, total assets and market value. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


U.A.E. chairs UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage meeting
posted on 06/06/2014

PARIS: U.A.E. on Wednesday chaired the fifth session of the General Assembly of the States Parties to the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage which took place from 2 to 4 June 2014 at the headquarters of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in Paris, and has become the first Arab country to chair such a meeting in the history of the international organisation thanks to the support of the 158 members of the organisation.
U.A.E.'s Awad Ali Saleh, Foreign Relations Advisor at the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Heritage Authority, and chairman of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee the chaired the session which was attended by representatives member countries.
"U.A.E's chairmanship of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee and its annual meeting reflects all member countries' appreciation of the efforts it made in the past years to protect the world tangible and intangible heritage and to encourage and help poor countries to protect their heritage by listing it at the international organisation," Mr. Awad Ali Saleh told WAM.
"It also shows all member countries' recognition of U.A.E.'s support for the international organisation's activities and its close cooperation with all members, on safeguarding of the tangible and intangible cultural heritage, locally, in the Arab region as well as internationally." More than 600 participants attended the fifth General Assembly which concluded with substantial resolutions.
Mr. Saleh added that the successful discussions were positive and successful and contributed to the success of the fifth general assembly.
Starting from 2015, all nominations will be evaluated by a single Evaluation Body of twelve members appointed by the Committee, six experts representing States Parties non-Members of the Committee and six representatives of accredited NGO, taking into consideration equitable geographic representation and various domains of intangible cultural heritage.
The general assembly also decided to allocate more than US$4 million from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund to support safeguarding efforts of States Parties. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Nahyan takes note of Federal Antiquities Bill
posted on 13/05/2014

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development yesterday received an update on the federal draft law on antiquities prior to its submission to the Federal Cabinet for action as he chaired the 21st meeting of the National Council of Tourism and Antiquities (NCTA).
Sheikh Nahyan was also briefed on a proposal to establish the first e-register for documenting antiquities in the State which classify archaeological items locally and internationally.
Sheikh Nahyan also took note of a recommendation calling for reviewing strategic indexes and operational plans of the council.
Director General of NCTA Mohammed Khamis Al Muhairi stated that the proposed antiquities bill will provide a legal framework and an international stature which enable the UAE to inscribe archaeological sites in the UNESCO's World Heritage List. The legislation defines the national archaeological treasures, their history and best mechanisms to safeguarding them from extinction.
He added that Sheikh Nahyan had instructed the NCTA to better organise the statistical work, and expanding customer service base through setting up counters at commercial and shopping centres to deliver detailed tourism information to visitors.
The meeting also discussed a series of initiatives aimed at promoting UAE tourism attractions locally and internationally. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid attends 7th Saluki Hunting Championship, gives contest thumbs up
posted on 28/03/2014

Over 200 exotic Arabian greyhounds competed in another exciting edition of the 7th Saluki Hunting Championships in Al Marmoum area in Dubai amidst cloudy conditions while H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai watched the contest unfold from a distance.
The Saluki Hunting Championships are organised by the Hamdan bin Mohammed Heritage Center under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid and are touted to be the most prestigious and expensive games in the traditional line up of sporting events.
Records were broken in the amateurs and professionals category this year by 2 and 4 seconds respectively, reaffirming the high quality of the greyhounds and the efforts of the contestants.
Salukis are some of the oldest known breeds of domesticated dogs in the world and this year's contest witnessed participation from South Africa, Australia and Syria apart from the UAE and the Gulf region.
45 males and 48 female salukis competed in the professional category covering a distance of 1 kilometer while 54 males and 59 females competed in the amateurs' category covering a distance of 2 kilometers. The qualifying rounds saw salukis chasing live prey, while a dummy gazelle was used in the finals.
Emirati contestant Ahmed Abdullah who has been actively involved in greyhound racing since 1999 participated with two hounds this year - a Turkish greyhound and a high breed Arabian saluki. "I train the hounds five days a week and take them through a running and swimming routine so that they are sufficiently prepared for the championship." Ahmed Saif Al Zafin, head of the organising committee of the Saluki Hunting Championships said, "Attractive prizes, including luxury cars for the first three winners and the thrill of competing in a traditional sport have contributed to enhancing the overall appeal of the championship this year.
Souad Darwish, Director of the Fazza Championships added, "The technical management of the championship has improved and the Hamdan bin Mohammed Heritage Center is honoured to be a part of the revival of one of the oldest traditional Emirati sports." – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UNESCO announcement on Dubai Creek set for June 15
posted on 23/03/2014

The committee responsible of the Dubai Creek bid aimed in becoming a World UNESCO Heritage Site have to patiently wait until June 15 when the confirmation of its status will be announced.
A heritage site, according to UNESCO, must be representative of historical events, traditions, cultures and activity as well as showcase a unique authentic scene.
"At the beginning of March, we had 10 ambassadors to UNESCO from different countries, come to visit Dubai. And at the start of May, we expect ICOMOS [International Council on Monuments and Sites] to release their report on Dubai Creek,” said Rashad Bukhash, Director of Architectural Heritage Department at Dubai Municipality, who also heads the UNESCO bidding committee.
ICOMOS is a subsidiary of UNESCO, and is an international non-governmental organisation of professionals, dedicated to the conservation of the world's historic monuments and sites.
"By May 2, ICOMOS will hand a copy of their report over to us so we can have an idea of where we stand. Even though we cannot make any modifications at this time, having the report will prepare us in responding to questions at the time of the vote,” explained Bukhash.
The World Heritage Centre, which is based in Paris, had already received Dubai Municipality's report last February on their role in the site. Meanwhile, the World Heritage Committee, which consists of representatives of 21 of the States Parties to the Convention elected by the General Assembly, will be casting their votes from June 15-25 in Doha.
"During the meeting, members can also decide to defer its decision and request further information on the sites, giving a limit from one to three years. Or they can also decide to reject the bid if they feel that there is no outstanding cultural significance, but we do not expect that to be the case,” he said.
Dubai Creek's proposed heritage site is made up of 16 areas, including Shaikh Saeed Al Maktoum House, Dubai Heritage and Diving Village, the Gold Souq, and Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood. – Gulf News – Read more:



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