Culture and Knowledge… The UAE’s Soft Power

  • 4 May 2016

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces said, during a reception in honour of the winners of the 2016 Sheikh Zayed Book Award at the Sea Palace, that one of the salient features of the UAE’s soft power lie in promoting sciences, knowledge and culture. These features, he said are drivers of social progress. His Highness also made it clear that “ culture has been and will remain the first measure of civilization, development and welfare,” adding that the UAE considers science and culture an integral part of our civilizational heritage as well as the development process and open identity in line with our authentic values and heritage.

There is no doubt that investing in science, knowledge and culture is the ultimate gate to the 21st century at all levels. The wise UAE leadership is aware of this and has spared no effort to support thinkers and artists. The UAE also ensures to invest in all fields of knowledge in its efforts to maintain the development momentum at all levels. His Highness Sheikh His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan pointed said in this regard that the Abu Dhabi Book Fair and the Sheikh Zayed Book Award as well as other cultural institutions and initiatives held the country, under the leadership of His Highness President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan- may God protect him- reflect the importance attached to the promotion of science and knowledge and mirror an awareness of their roles in training human resources and preparing for the future through developing though, raising awareness, adapting to changes and anticipating future challenges.

The multiple activities that are held in Abu Dhabi show the prominent place occupied by culture and knowledge, which came to be a feature of the UAE’s soft power. For instance, the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair has become one of the landmark cultural events, not only because it attracts prominent global figures from the worlds of thought, culture, literature and the media, but also in light of its role in enriching the cultural scene and showcasing the heritage of the UAE and its culture to the outside world. In addition to that, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award is increasingly attracting a large number of intellectuals and artists and adds momentum to the cultural scene in the Arab world. The main goal behind this prestigious award is not only limited to encouraging artists and intellectuals in all fields, but also aims at giving impetus to creativity through books, whether in terms of writing, publishing, translation and distribution.

The congratulations of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed to the winners of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award in its tenth edition and their commendation on their role in promoting science and knowledge through their intellectual and artistic production reflects a farsighted vision about the role of culture and knowledge in societal development. This vision attaches particular importance to the cultural and knowledge dimensions in achieving comprehensive development as well as in building bridges of understanding and exchange between peoples. In this regard, the UAE enjoys a distinguished position on the Arab and international cultural maps. Culture has become of the salient features of its soft power. This is manifested, not only through cultural and intellectual events, but also through its intellectual elite who are actively enriching the world cultural and intellectual scene. On the forefront of these intellectuals is H.E. Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi, Director General of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, who won the 2016/2015 Sheikh Zayed Book Award in the category of Development and Nation Building for his book The Mirage, which is available in Arabic, English and French and is being translated to other languages. The book has become a main reference in several Arab and International universities and think tanks.