Continuing its work in refreshing local heritage and championing global cultural exchange, the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) collaborated with Majalis Abu Dhabi Affairs Office and the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi for a symposium entitled ‘Korea and the UAE: Cultural Heritage and Prospects for Encounter’. Held at the Majlis Mohammed Khalaf in Abu Dhabi, the talk was hosted in the presence of H.E. Huda Ibrahim Alkhamis, Founder of ADMAF and Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival, Issa Saif Al Mazrouei, Vice Chairman of the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi and H.E. Francisca Mendez Escobar, Ambassador of Mexico to the UAE.
The symposium forms part of ADMAF’s ‘Cultural Heritage Preservation’ initiative, celebrating varied international cultures and identifying ways in which they can be used to build bridges and bring about positive change. The event honored the vast cultural and artistic heritage of the Republic of Korea, the Abu Dhabi Festival’s Country of Honour during 2019.
The talk was moderated by Sultan Al Amimi, Director of Poetry Academy in Abu Dhabi, and featured insights from H.E. Park Kang-Ho, Ambassador of Republic of Korea to the UAE; Lee Jun-ho, Cultural Attache, Embassy of Korea and Korean Cultural Centre; and Humaid Al Hammadi, Chairman of the Emirates-Korean Friendship Society.
H.E. Huda Ibrahim Alkhamis, Founder of ADMAF and Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival, said: “The Cultural Heritage Preservation initiative, in collaboration with the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festival Committee – Abu Dhabi, replicates our shared vision to celebrate heritage by expanding cultural meeting spaces and encouraging cultural dialogue that advocates identity, values tolerance and demonstrates openness to others.”
She added: “The initiative is part of the Festival’s nonstop efforts to bring together thought leaders to participate in talks reflecting our investment in cultural and creative spaces and forums. The Festival’s Country of Honour this year – the Republic of Korea – is a perfect example of this cultural interaction of music, art, dance, crafts and tradition. Such initiative strengthens the bridges of communication among nations by harnessing the power of the arts.”
The symposium started with a welcome address by the Korean Ambassador, exploring the robust bilateral relations between the Republic of Korea and the UAE, the shared cultural vision and values of the joint association, as well as the importance of celebrating the vibrant cultural legacy of the Republic in this year’s Abu Dhabi Festival. This was followed by insights from the Chairman of the Emirates-Korean Friendship Society, who further discussed Korean cultural heritage with an Emirati perspective – particularly the importance of exploring the common values that are culturally and ethnically similar between the two nations. The Cultural Attaché of the Embassy of Korea and the Korean Cultural Centre, meanwhile, discussed the varied efforts, initiatives and events organised by the Center and highlighted the Korean heritage and the commonalities between it and Emirati cultures. The symposium concluded with remarks by the Director of Poetry Academy in Abu Dhabi, who further stressed on the common values that are shared by the two nations, and the beauty of cultural heritage and the importance of preserving it.
H.E. Park Kang-ho, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the UAE, commented: "It is very meaningful that we – the UAE and Korea – are taking time to talk about cultural heritage together. In this regards, I believe Abu Dhabi Festival 2019 will be a milestone for the cultural exchanges between the two countries, with this talk added to the previous programs including Korean National Ballet and Korean Symphony Orchestra. I’m so grateful to everyone who contributed in this achievement of two countries including the audience."
Sultan Al Amimi, Director of the Poetry Academy in Abu Dhabi, said: “We are extremely proud to witness the unwavering international cooperation between the UAE and the Republic of Korea – particularly across the medium of culture, underscoring the existence of a number of shared values between the two great nations.”
On the sidelines of the symposium, an exhibition was held in the halls of the Mohammed Khalaf Majlis to showcase Korean traditional costumes, works of art, artifacts and handicrafts that celebrate the country’s cultural heritage.
The Abu Dhabi Festival is presented and organised by Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation. ADMAF is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that seeks to nurture the arts, education, culture and creativity for the benefit of society and advancement of Abu Dhabi’s cultural vision.