UAE looks to world famous Smithsonian to boost cultural ties

UAE Ambassador to the US signs agreement to enhance cultural exchange
By Staff writer
Tue 19 Dec 2017 01:25 PM

The UAE has signed an agreement with the world famous Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC to enhance cultural exchange and create new opportunities for collaboration.

A memorandum of understanding has been signed by Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the US, and Dr David J Skorton, Smithsonian secretary, state news agency WAM reported.

With the opening of world-class museums, such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi, galleries, historical areas, performance centres and other cultural destinations, the UAE is seeking to consolidate its position as the centre for the arts in the Middle East.

The agreement identifies multiple areas for future collaboration, including the development of knowledge-building programmes, such as distance mentoring, training workshops, internships and fellowships.

UAE museum directors, curators, archivists and researchers will also work with counterparts at The Smithsonian to identify opportunities to co-host events, conduct joint research and scientific programmes, develop curatorial or exhibition partnerships, or publish academic articles.

The memorandum also identifies opportunities to assist with the development of new STEM education programmes in the UAE using Smithsonian curriculum and resources.

Al Otaiba said: "The UAE’s museum and cultural sector is growing at a rapid pace, and new efforts are also underway to preserve the country’s heritage and discover new knowledge. As these sectors develop, it is critical for UAE organisations to work with best-in-class partners that can share insights and best practices.

"No other organisation has the experience or breadth of expertise that the Smithsonian has, and we are thrilled to help launch this new initiative," he added.

In 2016, researchers from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute worked with the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi to reintroduce a herd of scimitar-horned oryx into the wild. The species had been extinct in the wild since the mid-1980s.

The deal follows a visit to the UAE by a delegation that included senior Smithsonian officials, curators, and educators. The objective of the visit was to identify new projects, research and events that could promote cultural exchange between the two nations.

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Last Updated: Tue 19 Dec 2017 12:44 PM GST

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