DUBAI: UAE’s Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi on Tuesday called upon the world’s nations to recognize the power of culture as an engine of economic development, diplomacy and the tool to bring renewed hope to people’s lives.
Speaking at a plenary session on the final day of the seventh World Government Summit (WGS 2019) in Dubai, she stressed that “we can no longer separate culture from politics and economics, as these areas are interconnected”.
“Culture has the power to connect people, transcend boundaries, and remind us all of our common humanity. Our thoughts and actions must become correspondingly more collaborative across diverse fields if culture is to maintain a leading role in the future and in creating sustainable development for the UAE, the region and the world,” she said.
Al Kaabi shared the stage with Ernesto Ottone Ramirez, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Culture, who told delegates that culture is at the heart of each of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Culture is all about sharing our identity to become a more humanized world. Cultural diplomacy has the potential to break down barriers in areas like North Korea and the Middle East. If we don’t break down hatred, the world will fail in the future,” said Ramirez.
Earlier, Al Kaabi referred to the UAE and UNESCO’s collaboration to rebuild heritage sites in the war-ravaged Iraqi city of Mosul. The UAE-led reconstruction of the 800-year-old Al Nuri Mosque and Al Hadba Minaret in the old city has focused an international spotlight on the need to rebuild Mosul.
“We are not just rebuilding physical structures. The mosques, the Yazidi temples, the synagogues, the churches all define the spirit of Mosul,” she said.
Ramirez noted that culture offers the opportunity to foster wellbeing, drive economic growth and sustainable development, create jobs and build skills. UNESCO statistics suggest that culture can be a powerful driver of development, with community-wide social, economic and environmental impact. Particularly relevant is the sector’s contribution to the economy and alleviation of poverty.