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HISTORY & TRADITIONS - HERITAGE

Time travel into Dubai's past with heritage tour
posted on 05/01/2016

You can now take a tour of the centuries-long heritage of Dubai in the historical area of Khor Dubai, also known as Dubai Creek. Trained Emirati guides have conducted the first heritage tour in the Dubai Historical District (DHD).
Aptly called 'Tales from the Past', the heritage tour highlights the importance of Dubai's historical and culturally rich areas. Covering 1.5sqkm, the development will be based on five pillars: Tradition, heritage, trade, community and place making. These will ensure the "original fabric of the area" is preserved and made easy for visitors to navigate.
Khor Dubai will have pedestrian spaces where historical stories will be displayed on smart application platforms along with monuments that depict stories of the past, brought to life by the tour guides.
The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), in cooperation with the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, trains and licenses Emirati tour guides through a specially created 'tour guide certification programme'. The initiative not only provides local talents with the opportunity to showcase their skills but also helps them introduce visitors to the UAE's heritage.
The tour will help bridge the communication gap with other cultures and draw a clear and concise image of what it means to be Emirati.
"Khor Dubai has played an intrinsic role in the fortunes of Dubai for centuries, and under the vision of Dubai's leadership ... the rejuvenation project has started bearing fruit with the first fully authentic heritage tour initiative having been completed," said Obaid Salem Al Shamsi, assistant director-general of Dubai Municipality and chairman of DHD Rejuvenation Executive Committee.
Tales from the Past
The tour starts from the heritage area of Al Shindagha next to the Shaikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum House, where one can trace Dubai's roots, when it was a pearling village. It also includes a visit to many historically significant areas that showcase the art of traditional architecture, education, commerce and social life.
The tour covers many activities that will keep the visitors engaged with accurate information and facts about the past, and will enable them to interact with authentic elements of UAE's heritage. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/general/time-travel-into-dubais-past-with-heritage-tour

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National Pavilion UAE - la Biennale di Venezia highlights transformations of Emirati Sha'abi houses
posted on 04/01/2016

Yasser Elsheshtawy, curator for the National Pavilion United Arab Emirates at la Biennale di Venezia and Associate Professor of Architecture at the UAE University, Al Ain, will present Transformations: The Emirati National House, an exhibition highlighting the transformations of the Emirati national house, also known as Sha'abi (folk) house. His focus is on how a basic housing model was adapted by residents to become individualised homes, thus reflecting their culture and life style.
The National Pavilion UAE la Biennale di Venezia is commissioned by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, and supported by the UAE Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development. The 15th International Architecture Exhibition will be held in Venice, Italy, from May 28th to November 27th.
Responding to the call of AIejandro Aravena, curator of the 15th Architecture Exhibition la Biennale di Venezia, to present examples of how the built environment can improve people's quality of life, Elsheshtawy will present case studies that can provide useful lessons on how constructing an adaptable and flexible typology, as seen in the instance of the Emirati national house, can be used to address the universal concern of providing adaptable social housing.
National houses are found in residential neighbourhoods of cities in the UAE. Initially designed in the 1970s, they were implemented throughout the 1970s and 1980s, to offer homes and modern amenities to a transient local population. The standard housing typology is composed of a series of rooms overlooking a central square courtyard, and has proved to be highly adaptable as Emirati families' lifestyles evolved. Many Sha'abi houses today show evidence of a cumulative accretion of various architectural elements over the years, a process of transformation from a basic model to individualised homes, which have become an important component of the etymology of the UAE's built environment.
"This exploration of Emirati Sha'abi housing responds to the Biennale's theme, which reflects on the ways in which the built environment can be formed to improve people's quality of life," Yasser Elsheshtawy explained. "Through the provision of a flexible model, inspired by older and existing buildings and their specific layout, the initial architects enabled residents to modify their homes to fit their needs. Changes occurred in allocated plot size and detailing but the basic framework remained the same. These houses proved to be highly adaptable with residents making a series of changes so that these models could be made more compatible with their lifestyle and local culture. Moreover, by focusing on such neighbourhoods, the architectural discourse in the UAE moves to one that is concerned with the everyday spaces of its citizens."
"For our second participation in the International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia, we are proud that the National Pavilion UAE will explore the evolution of this element of local architectural heritage," said Khulood Al Atiyat, Projects Manager, Arts, Culture and Heritage at the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation. "As the UAE emerges as a global centre for arts and culture, the National Pavilion UAE la Biennale di Venezia continues its commitment to further the arts and architectural practices of the UAE by facilitating a dialogue with the international community through its exhibitions. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395289880427.html

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Sharjah and Macedonia’s Heritage Activities discuss stronger cultural relations
posted on 29/12/2015

MACEDONIA: The Minister of Culture in the republic of Macedonia, Elizabeta Kanceska–Milevska, and Abdulaziz Al-Muslim, Director of the Institute of Cultural Heritage of the Emirate Sharjah held a meeting on the 24th of December .
The parties discussed ways to develop a good relationship between the countries and the efforts to promote heritage awareness in their respective countries.
Invitations were exchanged amongst the representatives, welcoming participation in one another's major cultural exhibitions and events.
Abdul Aziz Al Musallam, Chairman of Sharjah Heritage Institute, said, ‘The meeting was fruitful. We invited the Macedonian minister to attend Sharjah's Heritage Day, Narrative Day and other main cultural and heritage activities that occur in Sharjah. These activities attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.' Al Musallam also added that, "the Republic of Macedonia is a country with rich history and culture - that is precisely why it is of special importance to establish positive relations in the field of culture. This will enable a higher exchange of projects and artists."
The Minister of Culture, Elizabeta Kanceska – Milevska, invited the Sharjah Heritage Institute to look into promoting Macedonian culture via its strong network and platforms. She also highlighted the numerous capital investments that the Government of the Republic of Macedonia and the Ministry of Culture are implementing in all segments of cultural life.
The Deputy Minister of Education, Spiro Ristovski, the Ambassador of the Republic of Macedonia to the UAE, and the Director of the National Institute Struga Poetry Evenings, Mite Stefoski, attended the meeting. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395289725811.html

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Al Dhafra festival features 35,000 camels for its 9th edition
posted on 21/12/2015

The Al Dhafra Festival has drawn the participation of 35,000 camels, 4,000 camel owners, and 1,000 azbas, or traditional Arab camps, spread around the desert of Madinat Zayed in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi.
Mohammed bin Adhed Al Muhairi, Director of camel beauty competitions at Al Dhafra Festival, said that the ongoing festival which is organised by the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee - Abu Dhabi, CPHFC, and runs until December 30th, features some of the prettiest, and priciest, camels from all around the Arabian Gulf.
Yesterday, the festival, now in its 9th edition, kicked off the Al Dhafra Camel Mazeyna competition. "In its first week, the festival featured the Baynounah Camel Mazeyna, which was open for Emirati camel owners only, and now we started the Al Dhafra Camel Beauty contest, which is open to all GCC camel owners," explained Al Muhairi.
The different category competitions will culminate with the Bayraq categories for both Asayel and Majahim, which will crown the best looking herd of 50 camels with a cash prize of Dh 1,000,000. Second position will be awarded Dh 500,000, while the third will receive Dh 300,000, the fourth Dh 250,000 and the fifth Dh 200,000.
Each category in the competition can last for up to two hours, as the judges inspect each camel individually, including the animals body-legs-neck proportions, hair colour and texture, teeth and eyes.
"Maintaining the beauty of a camel is not easy. Much of it comes from what you feed the camel. Some people give it milk with honey and the best quality grass and fruit. Such foods would help the camel's bones, hair and general looks," said Salem Al Mansouri, one of the Emirati camel owners taking part in the festival.
"The type of food fed to the camel also has a direct influence on the taste of the milk it produces," he added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395289449370.html

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A mesmerising expanse of heritage & culture
posted on 20/12/2015

True to the Bedouin spirit, the ninth edition of Al Dhafra Festival is back this time with nearly 30,000 camels gathered at Madinat Zayed, the Western Region of Abu Dhabi. It is the first time this year that the camel beauty competition for Emirati breeders called Baynounah Mezaynah is now also part of the festival. During Al Dhafra 2015, there will be 103 camel competition rounds for both pure bred golden hair (Omani original) and black hair (Saudi original) camels, 37 of which will be for the Baynounah competitions and 66 for Al Dhafra competitions. The festival - that runs from Dec10 to 30 - features more than 15 outstanding competitions and rich heritage activities. It is dedicated to the protection of environmental and historical heritage of the UAE and is the reinforcement of the bond between the past and the present of the Emirati citizens.
The offers prizes with a total value of more than Dh55 million including 225 cars.
The number of laps at the Camel Mazayna Competition (Camel Beauty Contest) will reach 72 for both Asayel (locals) and Majahim (dark-skinned) camels. The other competitions and activities are: the Mahaleb Competition, the Heritage Camel Race, the Arab Heritage Saluki Race, the Falcon Hunting Competition (falcons bred in captivity), the Purebred Arabian Horse Race, the Dates' Mazayna, the Dates' Packaging Competition, the Photography Competition, the Handicrafts Competition, the Classic Cars Competition, the Camel Auction, the Traditional Market and the Children's Village. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/general/a-mesmerising-expanse-of-heritage--culture
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Al Dhafra Festival 2015 is back bigger than ever
posted on 12/12/2015

They came in their hundreds from as far as Nejd, the heart of Saudi kingdom, and Dhofar, the last lands of Oman before it borders with Yemen. They came in horse-powered caravans, one truck after another, loaded with camping gear and, of course, their most precious cargo - their camels! For the next 20 days they will be sitting in the desert of Al Gharbia, the Western Region of Abu Dhabi Emirate, just like in the old days. They will share stories, cook over the open fire and compete in the camel mazeyna - the camel beauty competitions.
Indeed, it's that time of the year again! Al Dhafra Festival, now in its ninth year, is back in Madinat Zayed, bigger than ever! Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi (CPHFC) organised Al Dhafra Festival is organised by from 10th till 30th December.
"Al Dhafra Festival has managed to promote the authentic Emirati heritage and reinforce the valuable efforts made to ensure its safeguard and protection. Over the years, the festival has contributed to the promotion of Al Gharbia on the map of international tourism, through introducing the region, the details of its culture and authenticity, and the different traditions of the Emirati people," said His Excellency Faris Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Chairman of CPHFC.
"Tales of ancient history, civilisation and modernity are awaiting visitors, who will experience a unique harmony between the authenticity of the past and the excellence of the present," he also added.
For the first time this year, Baynounah Camel Festival, the competition that used to be held just before Al Dhafra for Emirati camel breeders, was made part of Al Dhafra, which is opened to participants from all over Arab Gulf.
"There are several reasons why we combined the two. First we had to coordinate with the heritage festival in Al Wathba, and we didn't want two heritage festival to clash," said Abdullah Butti Al Qubaisi, Director of Projects Management at CPHFC.
"It is also more convenient for participants, as they don't have to set up camp, then pack up only to return a week later and set the camp again. Now they can set just one camp and enjoy the festival and the competitions for both Baynounah and Al Dhafra".
The first four days of the festival, until 14th of December, will be dedicated to Baynounah camel mazeyna. Just as with Al Dhafra, both Assayel, the pure bred golden camel that originates from Oman and Majahim, the black camels of Saudi Arabia may be entered in the Baynounah competition rounds, as long as they are bred in the UAE and owned by Emirati camel breeders.
Bigger than ever in terms of camel beauty contests, Al Dhafra festival will have this year 103 camel competition rounds, 37 of which will be for the Baynounah mazeyna.
There will also be a camel milk competition (for the camel that gives most milk) and a sheep beauty competition. Altogether, Al Dhafra 2015 will have no less than 15 heritage activities and competitions, as the festival grew over the years from just a camel beauty show when it first started in 2008 into a celebration of Emirati culture, traditions and heritage.
"We will have a lot of art programmes this year and also educational activities for children at the festival," said Al Qubaisi.
"There are some changes to the Emirati traditional souk, which has been built right next to the competition arena this year and it will be permanent, remaining opened all year around."
First introduced in 2014, the purebred Arabian horse and the saluki speed races are back this year, along with falcon and camel races. There are also competitions for best dates and best dates packaging, a sour milk and a photography competitions.
Winners of all al Dhafra Festival's competitions will share total prizes valued in excess of Dh 50 million! At the heart of it all, though, remains the camel mazeyna. Thousands of Arabia's most beautiful camels will gather here over the next three weeks.
"In terms of participation, we expected 20 percent more than last year, when we had 1500 camel owners and about 25,000 camels joining the festival," said Obaid Khalfan Al Mazrouei, Director of Heritage Competitions at CPHFC. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395289111906.html

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Mohammed bin Rashid, Mohamed bin Zayed attend Union march at Zayed Heritage Festival
posted on 06/12/2015

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, attended yesterday the Union procession organised by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs at the Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival 2015 at Al Wathba area as part of the 44th National Day celebrations.
In attendance also were H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region, H.H. Sheikh Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Ruler`s Representative in the Eastern Region, H.H. Sheikh Surour bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, H.H. Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation, H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court, H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Advisor to the UAE President, and Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development.
The procession, which attracted large crowds from tribes across the country, passed through the grand stand amidst rendition of national songs and folkloric performances. Marchers held the UAE flags in a show of loyalty to, support for, and pride in the wise leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
As Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Mohamed bin Zayed hailed the marchers, they reaffirmed that the UAE, under the leadership of President Khalifa, is proud of its loyal sons and men who always prove their dedication and loyalty in the service of their nation.
They added that the UAE blended its heritage and traditions into its future vision in a balanced approach that achieves development, excellence and innovation and also preserves its identity and originality. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395288858887.html

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Mohammed bin Rashid visits Zayed Heritage Festival, praises founding fathers for safeguarding cultural legacy
posted on 06/12/2015

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, accompanied by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, yesterday toured the Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival 2015, held as part of the 44th National Day celebrations to view folkloric and traditional products and get an insight into the heritage, culture and history of participating countries.
The festival, held from November 19 to December 12 under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, in Al Wathba – Abu Dhabi, sheds light on the heritage of the UAE and showcases the richness and the diversity of Emirati traditions and culture through interactive educational methods. In recognition of the historic role played by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in founding the United Arab Emirates, the festival will present a comprehensive view of the nation's heritage through the ‘Memories of a Nation' wing.
As part of his tour which also included pavilions of Saudi Arabia, Oman and Morocco, Sheikh Mohammed spent some time at the UAE pavilion where he viewed historic documents chronicling the evolution of the modern UAE state and its heritage, culture and tradition.
Sheikh Mohammed lauded the UAE's rich heritage as a mirror that reflects the image of an Arab-Muslim people which is deeply embedded on this good, generous land like an ever-growing date palm tree. H.H. also praised the tireless efforts made by the forefathers to preserve and protect the heritage so that the next generations may learn about the same and preserve it forever.
'The Zayed Heritage Festival is one of the important annual cultural festivals in our State which seeks to refresh the memory of its people to safeguard and adhere to the founding fathers' historic and cultural legacy so that each generation passes it on to another and protects it and interacts at the same time with other cultures to present our open humanitarian culture,' H.H. added.
H.H. Sheikh Surour bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Sheikh Sultan bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, Advisor to the UAE President, and Chairman of the Emirates Camel Racing Federation, and Khalifa Saeed Sulaiman, Director-General of Dubai Protocol Department, also accompanied Sheikh Mohammed during the tour. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395288863492.html

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Unesco nomination adds flavour to UAE heritage
posted on 06/12/2015

The nomination of Arabic coffee, Al Razfa and Al Majlis to the Unesco Intangible Heritage of Humanity Representative List by the international intergovernmental committee tasked with safeguarding cultural heritage is a hugely positive step that will help promote global cultural understanding, a United Arab Emirates newspaper has said.
"All three of these hold a significant historic value and are an integral part of the heritage of the Gulf region," the English language daily 'Gulf Today' said in a commentary yesterday.
Unesco's Representative List includes forms of expression that testify to the diversity of the intangible heritage and raise awareness of its importance.
Al Majlis, Arabic coffee and Al Razfa have joined Falconry, Al Taghrooda and Al Ayala on Unesco's list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, while Al Sadu has been inscribed on the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in need of Urgent Safeguarding.
"There can be no doubt that these milestones promote cultural diversity, human creativity and dialogue among civilisations. Arabic coffee is a symbol of generosity. Serving Arabic coffee is an important aspect of hospitality in Arab societies. Traditionally prepared in front of house guests by men and women, it is also served by sheikhs and heads of tribes. The beans are roasted, ground with a mortar and pestle then brewed in a pot. The most important or oldest guest is served first. The practice is passed on within families and includes young people visiting the market with their elders to learn how to select beans," the paper added.
Al Majlis (sitting places) are community spaces where people discuss local issues, settle disputes, exchange news and be entertained, playing an important role in the transmission of oral heritage. The areas are usually large, comfortable and equipped with beverage-making facilities.
Elders with extensive local knowledge are the main practitioners, while judges and religious sheikhs adjudicate on disputes.
Al Razfa is a traditional performing art of the United Arab Emirates and Sultanate of Oman that was initially used in victory celebrations. Now, it is a popular form of communal entertainment seen at festive events, involving groups of men holding wooden replica rifles while chanting verses, often featuring traditional Nabati poetry, to music. Sometimes girls participate by swinging their hair to the music.
To appeal to a younger audience, instruments and music have been adapted.
"Top UAE heritage officials deserve kudos for their relentless efforts to get these elements inscribed on Unesco's representative list. The move is certainly a global recognition for the Emirates' efforts to maintain and preserve the traditions of the past," the paper concluded. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395288842802.html

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Arab Parliament Speaker, UNESCO discuss mechanism to protect cultural heritage
posted on 05/12/2015

PARIS: Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Jarwan, Speaker of the Arab Parliament, has discussed with Irina Bokova, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in the French capital, Paris, ways to protect the global cultural heritage.
The meeting comes in line with the initiative of the Speaker of the Arab Parliament to form a committee under the auspices of UNESCO, the League of Arab States and the Arab Parliament, to preserve the Arab and world historical heritage. The initiative was launched by the International Conference on the Protection of the World Cultural Heritage Threatened with Destruction, held in Rabat, on 15th May, 2015.
They discussed the importance of joint action to preserve the historical heritage of the region. Bokova strongly welcomed the initiative of Al Jarwan, saying the UNESCO is ready to back the initiative.
Al Jarwan said the Arab Parliament, as a representative of the Arab people, "strongly condemns the infringement on the cultural and humanitarian heritage in any way," noting that "the cultural heritage of the area is not a history for the Arabs alone, but for all humanity."
He said that the Arab Parliament accords priority to contribute to the joint action to protect this heritage from the terrorist organisations that seek to destroy the cultural heritage. Al Jarwan called for putting into practice innovative methods of defending this heritage as soon as possible.
The two parties agreed to form a joint committee of UNESCO and the Arab Parliament to tackle this issue.
The meeting was attended by Ambassador Butrus Askar, Representative of the Arab League in Paris, and Ambassador Abdullah Al Nuaimi, the UAE representative to UNESCO.
Al Jarwan also met with the Arab Group in Paris and the Arab ambassadors to UNESCO. They discussed ways of enhancing the joint Arab action in international forums in the best interest of the Arab world. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/international/1395288838280.html

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Arabic coffee, Al Razfa and Al Majlis nominated to UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Heritage of Humanity
posted on 04/12/2015

The international intergovernmental committee tasked with safeguarding cultural heritage has accepted the nomination of Arabic coffee, Al Razfa and Al Majlis to the UNESCO Intangible Heritage of Humanity Representative List.
Representatives from 175 countries attended the tenth session of the Intangible Heritage Committee, which took place at the Country Club and Resort of Windhoek in Namibia from November 29 to December 4.
The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Sultanate of Oman nominated Al Majlis and Arabic coffee while the UAE and the Sultanate of Oman also proposed Al Razfa. All three of these hold a significant historic value and are an integral part of the heritage of the Gulf region.
"This acknowledgement reflects years of dedication and expertise for which I am immensely proud as we strive to ensure the Emirate is recognised globally for its efforts to maintain and preserve the traditions of the past. Inscribing these heritage elements on UNESCO's representative list is the culmination of the achievements and efforts of our mandate to register, revitalise, preserve, document and sustain the UAE's heritage components as a cultural legacy for future generations. It also sheds more light on our deep-rooted heritage, and increases global awareness of its authenticity," Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, TCA Abu Dhabi Chairman.
He added that Al-Majlis, Arabic coffee and Al-Razfa have joined Falconry, Al-Taghrooda and Al-Ayala on UNESCO's list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, while Al-Sadu was inscribed on the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in need of Urgent Safeguarding. These milestones promote cultural diversity, human creativity and dialogue among civilisations by discovering cultural, social, and human origins of heritage elements."
Al Majlis is considered a cultural and social tradition that both rulers and community members have been keen to maintain for its role as a communication bridge that strengthens social cohesion. Arabic coffee symbolises generosity, hospitality and other authentic values associated with the region. Al Razfa is a popular performance in the UAE and Oman, symbolising masculinity, chivalry, gallantry and the region's equestrian heritage.
"We prepared the files with great accuracy before submitting them to the UNESCO Committee of Experts for evaluation. After passing the evaluation phase, the files then moved on to the annual Intangible Heritage Committee meeting, which provides the final approval and acknowledgment of registration," said Dr. Nasser Ali Al Humairi, director of the Intangible Heritage Department at TCA Abu Dhabi.
"The unlimited support by our local stakeholders and the UAE's respectable position in UNESCO boosted our ambition to register these authentic Emirati elements. Recording Al Majlis, Arabic coffee and Al Razfa, along with other heritage elements is just a step closer towards our goals," added Al Humairi. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395288807081.html

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Head of Sharjah Heritage Institute wins second four-year term in Rome-based ICCROM's Council
posted on 22/11/2015

Abdul Aziz Al Mussalam, Head of Sharjah Heritage Institute, has won a second four-year term as representative of the UAE in the Council of the Rome-based ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property).
The members of Council are chosen from amongst the best-qualified experts in the field of conservation and restoration of cultural property, taking into consideration the desirability of achieving equitable representation of the major cultural regions of the world and an appropriate coverage of the different fields of specialisation relevant to the work of ICCROM.
With 132 member states, ICCROM is the only intergovernmental organisation and institution of its kind with a worldwide mandate to promote the conservation of all types of cultural heritage. The UAE joined ICCROM four years ago and won a seat at the organisation's council.
In a statement following his win, Al Mussalam said he could not have won the second term in the international cultural heritage organisation without the unequivocal support from H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, patron of culture, heritage and knowledge.
He attributed his win to the influence the UAE had in the previous term and thanked many sisterly Arab and friendly foreign countries for voting in favour of the UAE.
'We will be the voice of the UAE and Arab World as well as of those who are making tremendous efforts to safeguard, preserve and restore cultural heritage across the world,' he added.
The Government of the United Arab Emirates and ICCROM, established by UNESCO in 1956, signed a Headquarters Agreement which lays the foundation for the establishment and operation of the ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre in Sharjah.
ICCROM-ATHAR (Architectural and Archaeological Tangible Heritage in the Arab Region) is a regional conservation centre founded by ICCROM and the Government of the Emirate of Sharjah. ICCROM's 27th General Assembly, convened in Rome in November 2011, decided to establish ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates where it is based since its inception in 2012.
ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre in Sharjah is a continuation of ICCROM's ATHAR programme, which has dedicated its activities since it was launched in 2004, to the protection of cultural heritage in the Arab region and to broadening access, appreciation and understanding of its rich history. Basing its philosophy, goals and activities on its wide knowledge and experience in the field of cultural heritage in the Arab region, ATHAR Centre today is working to enhance the capacity of official heritage institutions to manage heritage sites, historic monuments and museum collections on a sustainable basis. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395288299403.html

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Sheikh Zayed Heritage festival lights up the sky
posted on 21/11/2015

A celebration of Emirati culture drew visitors to the opening of the Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival on Thursday.
Emirati goods and professions were the mainstay of the festival, at which a replica fort was the central attraction, but there were also displays from other countries, such as Bosnia, Kazakhstan and North African and Gulf countries.
Antique vehicles and carriages ignited the imagination of guests, as did a selection of antiques from Afghanistan that dated back hundreds of years.
One of the Afghan treasures, a 550-year-old huge copper pot used to brew green tea, was being displayed by Mohammed-Daoud Ghazniwall.
The teapot, worth about Dh15,000, was used "for party times, two people had to hold it”, Mr Ghazniwall said.
He was showcasing another ancient pot – a huge stone one. As he set it on the floor and opened the lid he explained that it was used for cooking meat, which, when kept inside the pot, would stay warm for 24 hours.
"It would have taken 10 hours to cook meat in it,” he said of the 250-year-old pot worth Dh10,000.
He also showed off some blackened coins that originated in Ancient Greece, a helmet thought to come from the time of the Mogul Empire in India, and some plates of armour.
These, said Mr Ghazniwall, were worth up to Dh10,000.
In the Saudi Arabian pavilion, a woman sat on the floor sewing dolls and attaching baskets to them. "We put chocolates or nuts in the baskets for serving,” said Muhra Al Hibshi. Each doll takes about 90 minutes to make.
Alongside her was her business partner, Mawar Al Abdullah, who was sewing a plastic bag to hold tea or coffee pots. "We use plastic instead of fabric so it doesn't get stained,” she said.
The pair began their business in Riyadh 27 years ago and it has grown to be a success story.
"The Saudi tourism authority nominated us to participate in the festival,” Ms Al Abdullah said. "We hope this will open doors for us to be known in Abu Dhabi like we are in Riyad,” she said.
In the adjacent tent at the middle of the festival, an Emirati Bedouin woman wove natural white wool. "Natural is always white or black, before they used to add colour to the white one,” said Shameya Abdulateef.
She showed the end result, which is in the shape of a wraparound satchel. "We place this around the camel's waist,” she said. She then held out another, smaller, satchel. "We attach this to the bigger one to cover the udders of the camel if we don't want its children to drink the milk,” she said. "That is when we need to preserve some of the milk for our own use.”
Such products cost between Dh750 and Dh1,000 "because it is natural wool”, Ms Abdulateef said.
After sunset, attendees and officials gathered in the theatre area for the opening ceremony.
After music from a marching band, a film explained the rapid transformation of the UAE under the late Sheikh Zayed, the Founding President of the UAE. – The National - http://www.thenational.ae/uae/heritage/sheikh-zayed-heritage-festival-lights-up-the-sky

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UAE’s fallen servicemen to be honoured at Zayed Heritage Festival
posted on 19/11/2015

The Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival this year will pay tribute to the country's fallen servicemen with a special exhibition.
The event, which starts on Thursday, will feature the Martyrs of the Nation exhibition, which will honour the soldiers who have given their life for their country.
This will form part of the Memories of a Nation area of the festival, which will showcase the historic images and documents depicting Sheikh Zayed's efforts to build the country.
Sheikh Sultan bin Hamdan, chairman of the organising committee, said the festival would embrace the vision of the late Sheikh Zayed, founding President of the UAE.
He also said that President Sheikh Khalifa had worked hard to "enhance our customs and traditions and preserve the achievements of our forefathers as a worthy successor to the best predecessor”.
Other attractions at the festival include an exhibition dedicated to Sheikh Zayed the First, who ruled the emirate of Abu Dhabi from 1855 to 1909.
He played an important role in the social, economic and political development of the area, as well as helping to preserve traditional poetry and the Arabian horse. There will also be a replica of Al Bediya Mosque, the oldest mosque in the country, which was built in Fujairah in the 15th century.
The replica is built using the same stones and clay as that of the original, ancient mosque.
The exhibition will include displays featuring camels, Arabian horses, salukis and traditional rowing boats.
The event continues until December 12 at Al Wathba. – The National - http://www.thenational.ae/uae/heritage/20151118/uaes-fallen-servicemen-to-be-honoured-at-zayed-heritage-festival

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Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum donates over $6 million to UNESCO
posted on 06/11/2015

PARIS: HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance of the United Arab Emirates, has made a significant donation of more than US$6 million to UNESCO during his visit to the Organisation on the first day of the 38th Session of the General Conference and within the framework of the 70th Anniversary.
Director-General Irina Bokova and the UAE Minister of Education, Hussain Al Hammadi, signed two agreements in the presence of HH Sheikh Hamdan. These agreements formalise the donation of $1.2 million for the project "Implementing the Postgraduate Diploma in Curriculum Design and Development in the Arab region" and $5 million for the renovation and improvement of Room I, the main assembly hall, at UNESCO headquarters.
In his speech before the General Conference, H.H. Sheikh Hamdan said, "The desire of the United Arab Emirates drives us toward working more and exerting our efforts, in cooperation with UNESCO, to provide more opportunities to reward outstanding practices of teachers in developing countries."
At the signing ceremony, the Director-General stated that this new cooperation "strengthens the Organisation at headquarters and bolsters our action in a key priority area on the ground. It reflects the deep commitment of HH and the United Arab Emirates to UNESCO and to the values we share and to the objectives we hold in common, for which I am deeply grateful."
The donations are in the spirit of the successful cooperation established between UNESCO and the "Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Prize for Outstanding Practice and Performance in Enhancing the Effectiveness of teachers" since 2008. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395287623576.html

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Memory of the World programme summit to be held in Abu Dhabi next year
posted on 08/10/2015

ABU DHABI, 8th October, 2015 (WAM) -- The Advisory Board of the Memory of the World Programme, affiliated to UNESCO, has agreed on a proposal to hold a summit for the programme in Abu Dhabi towards the end of 2016.
The proposal stipulated that all national commissions, regional branches and specialised committees of the Memory of the World programme from all over the world, along with the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, and the International Council on Archives, should meet at the summit.
The vision of the Memory of the World Programme is that the world's documentary heritage belongs to all, should be fully preserved and protected for all and, with due recognition of cultural mores and practicalities, should be permanently accessible to all without hindrance.
Impetus came originally from a growing awareness of the parlous state of preservation of, and access to, documentary heritage in various parts of the world. War and social upheaval, as well as severe lack of resources, have worsened problems which have existed for centuries. Significant collections worldwide have suffered a variety of fates. Looting and dispersal, illegal trading, destruction, inadequate housing and funding have all played a part. Much has vanished forever, much is still endangered.
The National Archives suggested changing the working system entirely in the programme. It also proposed amendments to the primary system and the implementing regulations, as well as on the procedures of entering documents in the Memory of the World programme.
Abu Dhabi hosted the discussions of the 12th meeting of the Advisory Board under the auspices of the National Archives this week at the St. Regis Hotel Corniche, where Abdullah Al Rayes, Director-General of the National Archive, was chosen as its chairman until 2018. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395286444775.html

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UAE selected as Chair of UNESCO Memory of the World programme
posted on 05/10/2015

The International Advisory Committee for the Memory of the World programme, which is affiliated with the Organisation of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, yesterday chose the UAE as Chair of the programme until 2018.
Abdullah Al-Rayes, Director-General of the National Archives, will chair the programme and oversee the project that aims to register original documents with global humanitarian features, and to facilitate preservation, by the most appropriate techniques, of the world's documentary heritage.
The International Advisory Committee, which is meeting in Abu Dhabi until 6th October, includes a number of leading experts and heads of National Archives from 16 countries, as well as a representative from UNESCO.
The vision of the Memory of the World programme is that the world's documentary heritage belongs to all, should be fully preserved and protected for all and, with due recognition of cultural mores and practicalities, should be permanently accessible to all without hindrance. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395286287512.html

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Sultan bin Zayed named "Man of Arab Heritage"
posted on 01/09/2015

MUSCAT: H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President's Representative and Chairman of the Emirates Heritage Club, has been named "Man of the Arab Heritage" for 2015 by the Arab Centre for Tourism Media (ACTM) in recognition of his efforts to preserve Arab history and heritage.
This was announced during the award ceremony held yesterday in Muscat under the patronage of Omani Tourism Minister Ahmed bin Nasser al Mehrizi and in presence of ministers, senior officials and ACTM members.
Emirati businessman Khalaf al Habtoor won the "Best Arab Tourism Investor" award, while Mohammed Kara, from Al Ittihad newspaper, was selected as the "Best Arab Tourism Journalist". – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395284875713.html

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Sharjah Heritage Days festival introduces three new villages
posted on 10/08/2015

A number of new attractions designed to entertain families, heritage experts, and UAE nationals and residents have been added to the 13th edition of Sharjah Heritage Days festival.
Sharjah Heritage Days devises new activities annually and has this year introduced three villages; Five Senses, Children's Heritage, and Artisan.
His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, attended the opening ceremony.
Sharjah Heritage Days is held in different locations including the Heart of Sharjah and the Middle and Eastern districts.
The event this year, themed "Heritage … The Base of Our Originality”, also includes UAE environment-related features such as marine, mountain, agriculture and desert life exhibits, folkloric art and various cultural and intellectual activities, symposiums, lectures, and photographs, recital of old sayings, "Lageit Yadooh” ("I Found Grandfather”), wit, and daily riddle competitions.
Abdul Aziz Al Musallem, Chairman of the Sharjah Heritage Institute, said, "Sharjah Heritage Days aims to acquaint participants with the authenticity, originality and heritage of the UAE, allowing them to preserve, benefit from, and build on it.”
The event, he said, aims to introduce different aspects of UAE heritage to the world and inspire a generation proud of its roots and willing to develop its community.
In terms of the new additions, the Five Senses Village is an attempt to satisfy the five human senses by giving visitors a tour of the Heritage Area in the Heart of Sharjah so they can see different heritage products, listen to UAE folklore stories, taste delicious savoury dishes and desserts, and admire unique handicrafts. A new "five senses” advertising campaign has also been designed based on the concept of heritage.
The Children's Village includes workshops for colouring and performances of old folk tales and other forms of Arab heritage. Visitors can also enjoy folklore music and displays that highlight the UAE's vast and diverse mountain and desert landscape.
The Artisan Village shines a light on traditional craftsmanship by showcasing the tools used and crafts created, including jewellery, clothes, household utensils, decorative items, storage containers and musical instruments, via this skilful method.
Large numbers of visitors have flocked to the Heart of Sharjah since the festival's start, where they have been greeted with UAE art and dance performances, as well as the popular traditional Emirati fashion show. – The Gulf Today - http://gulftoday.ae/portal/4ccbbee3-588a-40c4-ba83-b6084bd3b20e.aspx

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TCA Abu Dhabi to organise specialised workshops to focus on Emirati Traditional Handicrafts
posted on 08/07/2015

Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) is organising a series of specialised Emirati traditional handicrafts workshops focusing on transferring the skills and expertise of Emirati artisans to new generations.
Supervised by TCA Abu Dhabi-accredited Emirati craftswomen, the workshops will feature three crafts adroitly mastered by Emirati women over the years including ‘Talli' embroidery, ‘Khos' palm frond strand braiding and ‘Sadu' weaving, and will be organised at Abu Dhabi National Theatre from 26th July to 20th August, 2015.
The workshops' artistic production will then be displayed at an exhibition that will accompany the second National Traditional Handicrafts Festival, which is set to return to Al Ain's Souq Al Qattara in October 2015.
Participants will learn the intricate techniques of ‘Talli' using ‘Zari' bright threads to decorate women's clothes and ‘Sadu' wool and cotton yarn weaving to make colourful, decorated fabric used in Bedouin tents. The workshops will also feature ‘Khos' dried palm frond braiding to make baskets, mats and various other items.
"Aligning with our commitment to preserve the UAE's heritage and culture, the workshop series complements the authority's support of expressive arts and cultural events that contribute to promoting Abu Dhabi's heritage, balancing deep-rooted tradition with the creation of modern customs that can make our ancestors proud," said Sumayya Al Suwaidi, Community Events Manager at the Culture Sector of TCA Abu Dhabi.
"The traditional handicrafts practiced by UAE women throughout history are characteristically innovative, pay much attention to minute artistic details and require highly technical skills to retain the piece's aesthetic elements, particularly the ‘Sadu' which has recently been inscribed on the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, becoming a world heritage component. These workshops will keep the skills of artisans alive by transferring them to new generations, in conjunction with developing new products to help crafts maintain their value and position as important elements of Abu Dhabi and the UAE, and for all humanity," added Al Suwaidi.
Accredited craftswomen receive TCA Abu Dhabi's support with the aim of protecting traditional artisanship by giving women the chance to participate in cultural and heritage-related events, heritage competitions and productive families' programmes inside and outside the UAE, thereby developing traditional products with modern day use.
The return of the National Traditional Handicrafts Festival follows a successful inaugural 2014/15 season, and the introduction of the new exhibition will cast a modern light on traditional products and arts in an effort to further develop handicrafts and inspire art from them. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395282983147.html

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MBRF workshop at UNESCO headquarters in Paris examines challenges in transfer and localisation of knowledge
posted on 07/06/2015

PARIS: Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation (MBRF), in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), organised a workshop on the Third Arab Knowledge Report at the headquarters of United Nations Organisation for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) in Paris on June 3, 2015.
The workshop, held in the presence of ambassadors, academics and youth from French universities, was the third in a series of workshops lined up in key Arab and international capitals as part of MBRF's preparations for the second edition of the First Knowledge Conference 2015.
The speakers at the workshop included Dr. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO; Jack Lang, President of Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) and former French Minister of Culture and Education; Saif Al Mansoori, the Corporate Affairs Advisor of MBRF; and Yakup Beris, Regional Programme Coordinator at UNDP's Regional Bureau for Arab States.
The workshop was also addressed by Prof. Eric Fouache, Vice-Chancellor of Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi; Dr. Badr Aldden Arodaky, former Deputy-director of IMA and a prominent writer and literary expert; Prof. Joseph Dichy, Lumiere-Lyon2 University, CIDEA Secretary General; Nada Al-Nashif, Assistant Director-General for Human and Social Sciences, Dr. Najoua Ghriss, Associate Author and Core Team Member; and Inaam Kachachi, writer and journalist.
In an opening speech, Dr. Bokova stressed the importance of fostering knowledge in the region stating "The integration of the youth in the transfer and localisation of knowledge in the Arab world will remain a key priority in the current times as well as in the future."
Speaking on the occasion, Saif Al Mansoori said, "This workshop comes within MBRF's plans to contribute to sustainable development in Arab communities through the transfer and localisation of knowledge. This is the third workshop that follows similar events organised in Jordan and New York to discuss the findings of the Arab Knowledge Report."
He added, "We are pleased to have the support of a distinct group of specialists in the field of knowledge who have come forward to offer their opinions and experiences in this initiative. This workshop has offered an opportunity to discuss the role of youth in the exchange, transfer and localisation of knowledge and the challenges in this process. The outcome of this workshop will support our preparations for the next First Knowledge Conference 2015, and contribute to strengthening its position as one of the most important international events in the field of knowledge."
On the occasion, Jack Lang commended the efforts to organise such knowledge initiatives, stating that culture, education and knowledge offered the remedy to extremist tendencies.
Highlighting two main features of the Arab Knowledge Report, Yakup Beris said the report has responded to the need for an evidence-based approach by offering quantitative and qualitative evidence relying on more than 30 background papers and an extensive database. Secondly, the report has been built on the basis of a participatory approach using the expertise and voices of more than 600 experts and 5800 university students, Beris said.
"The report has been prepared with a belief that a society that connects with knowledge and drives its economy with innovation is more likely to achieve its development objectives. We foresee youth as the primary agent to make this happen and eventually contribute to the creation of inclusive and resilient societies," Beris stated.
Dr. Najoua Ghriss presented the findings of the Arab Knowledge Report, followed by a question and answer session that drew considerable interaction and engagement from the audience on the outcomes of the report.
The event also included a panel discussion that explored the exchange, transfer and localisation of knowledge in the context of European and Arab institutions. The panel discussion witnessed the participation of Prof. Eric Fouache, Dr. Badr Aldden Arodaky and Prof. Joseph Dichy. The session, moderated by Inaam Kachachi, looked at the roles of the various sectors and the main challenges in the production and transfer of knowledge, including areas such as translation and language development. The panel discussion concluded with closing remarks by Nada Al-Nashif.
The Third Arab Knowledge Report highlights the effective integration of youth in the transfer and localisation of knowledge as one of the most pressing issue facing Arab societies. The report explores the current status of Arab youth in relation to skills and values required for the effective integration of knowledge and their contribution in cultural, political and social arenas. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395281533100.html

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Where Dubai’s old and new co-exist
posted on 03/05/2015

The drive to preserve Dubai's heritage received a boost on Thursday with the official launch of wasl district souq. The development from wasl properties is designed to reinvigorate established areas of Dubai by blending modern amenities with traditional architecture and design.
The launch ceremony for wasl district souq, located in Naif area of Deira, was attended by Hesham Al Qassim, CEO of wasl asset management group. Al Qassim reiterated his company's commitment to revitalising the city's traditional areas.
"It was a delight for me to officially inaugurate wasl district souq, wasl properties' premium heritage project, which has been launched to rejuvenate parts of Dubai that have tended to be overlooked and that are just as important and dynamic as the newer areas of the city. wasl district is the result of wasl's vast experience in the fields of real estate development and its deep understanding of the country's history and heritage. It blends traditional character with modern amenities to create an authentic retail and shopping environment,” said Al Qassim.
Wasl district is being constructed in two phases — phase one consists of a 211-retail unit souq that sells heritage items such as rugs, antiques, furniture, perfumes and spices alongside more modern offerings and F&B outlets. Phase two of wasl district incorporates residences, offices and a Hyatt-managed hotel. The development is expected to be a strong pull for tourists keen to see traditional Emirati architecture and culture.
"Wasl district's souq is playing a number of important roles in the fabric of the city. It has contributed to re-energising the Al Maktoum area of Deira and is a development that forms a stunning showcase for the anticipated millions of visitors in the run-up to Expo 2020, enabling them to discover the traditional identity of the city. The official launch of the project is the crowning testament to wasl's commitment to reviving Dubai's traditional character and to foster its identity with premium developments that offer the perfect mix of the old and the new,” added Al Qassim.
The audience enjoyed performances by a classical Arabic band and a display from a Tanoura dancer. Characters from TV show Shaabiat Al Cartoon performed and interacted with visitors. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?xfile=/data/uaebusiness/2015/May/uaebusiness_May14.xml§ion=uaebusiness

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Sharjah showcases UAE, Arab heritage
posted on 07/04/2015

Folkloric arts and dances attracted national, Arab and non-Arab visitors and lovers of heritage and music since the launch day of the 13th edition of Sharjah Heritage Days.
Visitors in various locations in the Heritage Area of the Heart of Sharjah spent hours enjoying the folkloric dances including Alayala, Al Maled, Al Souma, Al Tarej, Al Razeef and Al Arda, in addition to other colourful forms of folk arts that have proven to be a major source of attraction.
Khawla Al Shamsi, general coordinator, Sharjah Heritage Days, said: "Folkloric arts and dances are regularly presented at Sharjah Heritage Days. They are a major source of attraction and appeal to large crowds of UAE national and non-national visitors who move from one location to another to take pictures and shoot videos that capture memories, moments, movements, sounds and charming music delightful to all ears.
"We are always keen on presenting diverse forms of colourful folkloric arts and dances in different locations of the event, be it the Heart of Sharjah or the Eastern and Middle Districts. We know that UAE nationals and visitors enjoy folklore and we provide all information and details of each dance,” she added.
As soon as folkloric music, dances and songs end, watchers rush to ask about the words, tunes and meanings, exploring more about Al Razeef or Al Ayala. A visitor who spent his day watching the enjoyable dances in the public area, the mountain and Bedouin environments said he would come daily to continue exploring the new treasure and the rich world of folkloric arts and music.
"When someone watches Al Ayala, for example, we do not only tell him the name of the dance but make it a point to explain its full meaning. As you know, it is a collective art replete with dancing, singing and music, involving players of drums, tabors, traditional Twaissat and brass instruments, and singers. State officials are keen on highlighting it as it is a huge embodiment of local history and art. It is an Arab dance of war or pre-war victory,” Khawla explained.
Al Razeef, she added, is a collective, spontaneous non-instrumental Bedouin performance presented with great enthusiasm and eloquent classical Arabic language in Bedouin weddings. Al Razeef is one of the most prominent arts in the GCC, and it frequently recites poems of pride and chivalry and some love songs.
Also, Al Arda, is an authentic Arab urban art simulating Al Ayala folkloric dance to a large extent, using different musical instruments and rhythms. Like Al Ayala, the dance is performed in the same sort of events with similar chanting system and singers standing in two rows carrying swords. Yet, it is composed of triple rhythms and uses special extra instruments like Al Kaser, Al Rahmani, Tarat (tambourines) and brass instruments.
Khawla pointed out that Al Tarej is a consoling tune to a traveller on desolated roads, where he improvises his own melodies similar to the famous form of art in other Arab countries called Al Mawal. Poems describe nature, life and public events, sung in charming tunes soothing to the ears and souls.
Al Yola , Khawla said, is a popular authentic and colourful Bedouin dance and a derivative of Al Ayala. Appealing to the young UAE national generation, the dance is a public display of courage and chivalry that has been developed to include performances with riffles accompanied by modern rhythms and enthusiastic songs.
Al Souma, on the other hand, is an ancient UAE art performed collectively in a circle to the rhythms of two drums, traditionally known as Al Kosar and Al Rahmani. The dance, starting with clapping hands and charming movements, is often presented on special occasions and stopovers after long travel, Khawla explained.
"All these folkloric dances and arts are performed during the Sharjah Heritage Days and were presented during the opening ceremony attended by His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, on April 1,” Khawla stressed.
"They are a major attraction of the event and are aimed at acquainting all with the authenticity and distinction of UAE folkloric arts filled with musical, artistic and poetic innovation. The dances and arts, a major component of the UAE national identity, represent a variety of local environments — Bedouin, mountains, marine and urban life,” she added. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/inside.asp?xfile=/data/nationgeneral/2015/April/nationgeneral_April57.xml§ion=nationgeneral

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Sultan Al Qasimi opens 13th Sharjah Heritage Days
posted on 02/04/2015

His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah attended this evening, in presence of H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, opening of the 13th Sharjah festival Days.
The opening ceremony saw traditional shows about UAE's diverse cultures, as well as folklore dances. Also taking part were folklore groups from Kuwait, Morocco, Algeria and Korea.
In attendance at the opening ceremony were Sheikhs, senior officials, guests and diplomats.
Following the opening, Sheikh Sultan toured the heritage area and was briefed about the festival's programmes and activities.
The month-long Sharjah Heritage Days festival is held under the slogan "Heritage The Base Of Our Originality". Its activities will include lectures, symposiums and competitions, with the participation of several Arab, Islamic and international government organisations. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates-arab-international/1395278798012.html

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Sultan bin Zayed named 2015 Arab Heritage Personality
posted on 27/03/2015

AMMAN: The Arab Centre for Tourism Media has granted H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President's Representative and Chairman of the Emirates Heritage Club (EHC), the 2015 Arab Heritage Personality.
Hussain Al Mannai, Chairman of the Arab Centre for Tourism Media said that the honour is in recognition of efforts exerted by Sheikh Sultan in preserving heritage and holding festivals which calls for protection of the forefathers' heritage.
He added that members of the centre from all Arab countries have agreed that the efforts of Sheikh Sultan play a prominent role in preserving GCC heritage.
These remarks were made during a press conference held by the centre in Amman, Jordan in the presence of Jordan's Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Nayef Al Fayez and a number of Arab journalists specialising in tourism.
Also, Emirati businessman Khalaf Al Habtoor was honoured with the Best Tourist Investor award in the Arab nation in recognition of his huge tourism projects.
The UAE Air Arabia also won the best low-cost carrier award for supporting Arab Tourism. In addition, the best Arab tourism journalist award was clinched by Mohammed Kara from Al Ittihad, an Arabic language newspaper published daily in the UAE. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395278499930.html

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