The Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi continues its preparations for the implementation of its action plan that covers the whole year of 2014.
Adviser for Culture and Heritage in the Court of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi, HE Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei said that the Committee had developed an “ambitious action plan” for the year 2014, according to the timetables set for this purpose.
“This plan aspires to achieve the Committee’s objectives and comply with its vision. We continue to work towards the sustainment of the national identity and Emirati heritage through the preservation of popular legacy and the encouragement of the local society to practise heritage and its various forms. Our mission consists in the promotion of the activities and practices of cultural heritage and associated customs, traditions and folklore, in order to sustain identity and strengthen human and social bonds,” he said.
Mazrouei noted that “the vision of the Committee embraces the reinforcement of the efforts aimed at creating a society that believes in common roots and collective future, and this according to the main principles: the national unity, the common roots, and the collective future. The main objective consists in contributing to the creation of a conscious society that is committed to the principles of identity, national unity, and the ensuing concepts.”
He revealed that “the Committee is working, this year, on the organisation of 10 major events, including competitions and heritage festivals, with prizes worth more than AED 104 million. The Committee manages, organises and supervises the required logistical, promotional, and media affairs of these events to guarantee the achievement of objectives and mission. The Committee also collaborates with the various concerned parties, and works towards the encouragement of the local and regional societies to participate in these events and programmes, in a way that serves both the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates.”
- The Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi is preparing for the launch of the 6th season of the Million’s Poet competition. The live broadcast of the programme from the Al Raha Beach Theatre will begin on the 12th of February, 2014 and run until the 21st of May. The Million’s Poet seeks to preserve and promote the heritage of the Nabati poetry in the Arab region. It also works towards the promotion and the consolidation of the position of this form of poetry at the forefront of Arab literature. The Million’s Poet stands for a unique platform to discover and reveal Emirati, Gulf and Arab talents that have not had the chance yet to appear in the media. The programme presents these talents appropriately from the cultural capital, Abu Dhabi.
The Million's Poet offers the participating poets prizes and incentive rewards that are worth more than AED 22 million, of which AED 15 million go to the winners of the top five positions. The holder of the first position, winner of the Million’s Poet title, and Bayraq-bearer gets AED 5 million. AED 4 million go for the winner of the second position, AED 3 million for third, AED 2 million for fourth, and AED 1 million for fifth. The Poetry Academy at the Committee also publishes poetry collections of winners and all participants.
- Once every two years and alternately with the Million's Poet, the Committee organises the Prince of Poets competition and programme for classical Arabic poetry. The 6th season kicks off by the end of the year 2014. The programme aims at promoting eloquent classical poetry, raising its status, and that of its poets. The Prince of Poets also seeks to position classical poetry at the forefront of Arab literature, and discover new Arab talents. The idea of the programme comes in line with the identity of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, of which culture constitutes one of the key elements in the eyes of the world. The Prince of Poets has managed to market and promote the Arab poetry and creativity through a unique media vision that has grabbed the attention of the viewer, and attracted about 145 stars of Arab poetry so far.
In addition to the Burda, the gown which represents the Arab historical heritage and the ring which stands for the title of the Emirate, the cash value of the top prize received by the winner of the Prince of Poets title is AED 1 million. The holder of the second position gets AED 500,000, the third AED 300,000, the fourth AED 200,000 and the fifth AED 100,000. There are also incentive rewards for participating poets, which pushes the total value of the prizes to AED 3 million. The Organising Committee of the Competition sponsors the publishing of print and audio poetry collections.
- The Committee is currently intensifying its preparations for the launch of the 6th edition of Al Gharbia Watersports Festival, from the 17th to the 26th of April in the city of Mirfa in Al Gharbia (The Western Region). The Festival seeks to promote Al Gharbia as an ideal destination for visitors and tourists interested in marine and beach sports. It also highlights the many attractions in Al Gharbia, and increases the number of tourist activities with the aim of raising the occupancy rate of hotels, and promoting local products.
The Festival features several activities and diverse competitions, with prizes that reach up to AED 4,380,000. Among these activities and competitions are: Kite surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, Al Bwanish sailing race, Tfares Dhow Race on Marwah Island, modern sailing boat race, traditional rowing boat race, kayak race, swimming, games for kids, beach football and volleyball, traditional market, shows, theatre competitions, parasailing, and cooking contest.
- Al Shara Cultural Programme is produced by the Committee and aired annually on Abu Dhabi TV during the holy month of Ramadan. The programme aims at preserving the popular heritage of the UAE, and the local dialect. It helps young people learn about old terminology and find out about the history of their country. Al Shara is a successful information programme that derives its prominent standing from its large passionate audience, and its high approval ratings in the Arab world.
The programme is a bouquet of daily competitions, held throughout the holy month. These competitions include all fields of heritage life in the UAE, with a total value of prizes that reaches about AED 4 million, starting from AED 1500 up to AED 20,000, in addition to the award of a number of Asayel camels from the descendants of Banat Jabbar (one of the best breeds of camels) from the production of the Camel Research Centre in Abu Dhabi.
- The Committee organises the 10th edition of the Liwa Date Festival between the 18th and the 25th of July, 2014, during the holy month of Ramadan. The Festival seeks to promote and encourage the efforts made to improve the cultivation of palm trees in the UAE. It motivates farmers to be more concerned about the quality of the production of half-ripe dates (without chemical additives). The Festival also raises farmers’ awareness about modern agricultural techniques so as to obtain an economically lucrative harvest. The Liwa Date Festival is an annual event for the exchange of technical expertise among farmers to guarantee the cultivation of the best and finest half-ripe dates, and raise the quality of the different varieties of the Emirati dates to further excellence. This endeavour will ensure a local and international competitiveness while retaining the beneficial and nourishing natural characteristics.
The Festival features outstanding activities and competitions, like dates, mango and lemon Mazaynas (beauty contests). The total value of the prizes exceeds AED 5 million. Also on the programme of the Festival are a number of lectures aimed at raising awareness about the significance of the palm tree, special training courses to teach children how to look after palm trees, a traditional market for handicrafts and popular games for children.
- In cooperation with the Emirates Falconers Club, the Committee organises the 12th edition of the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (ADIHEX 2014), from the 17th to the 20th of September. ADIHEX seeks to promote the heritage of the UAE, and highlight the entrenched history of the Emirati people. The main objective consists in attracting a larger number of exhibitors and visitors, and strengthening the position of Abu Dhabi as a key cultural hub in the region. A unique Exhibition specialised in hunting, equestrian, marine sports, safari, art, and artefacts, ADIHEX has gained a broad international renown. In the previous edition, the number of visitors topped 118,994, the highest turnout in the history of ADIHEX.
The total value of ADIHEX prizes is more than AED 500,000 for competitions of painting, photography, Nabati poetry (poems written to describe birds and preys), the beauty contests for Saluki and falcons, and a competition for the preparation of Arabic coffee in the traditional way.
- The 2nd edition of the Baynounah Camel Festival will be organised on the 15th of November in Madinat Zayed in Al Gharbia in Abu Dhabi. The six-day Festival constitutes a unique opportunity for Emiratis to collect prizes, as the competition is exclusively open for the UAE nationals to take part with the best of their camels. Baynounah Camel Festival boasts a form and content that are abound with the authentic Bedouin spirit which still characterises the Gulf people until today.
The Baynounah Camel Festival allocates more than AED 4 million in prizes for 32 laps. The competition is characterised by the participation of more than one type of camels, namely Asayel (locals) and Majahim (dark-skinned). Each of these types of camels has its significance and special status in the region’s social and economic life.
- The Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi and the Abu Dhabi Falconers Club organise the Third International Festival for Falconry from the 7th to the 13th of December, 2014 in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The Festival will witness the participation of about 75 countries represented by 500 falconers, experts, researchers, officials and representatives from the UNESCO and other international organisations concerned with the preservation of the falconry heritage and the protection of the environment.
HE Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei said that “the Festival enhances Abu Dhabi's stature as a top cultural destination on both regional and international levels. The Festival also provides an outstanding environment for the exchange and dialogue between civilisations and cultures, and offers a rare platform for the gathering of peoples, organisations and individuals who hold a special interest in falconry. The main objective consists in the promotion, protection and development of this heritage. Considered as one the most significant pillars of the national identity, falconry is also inscribed on the UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.”
The International Festival of Falconry features several activities, and special educational, art, and cultural competitions that will leave a strong impression on the lovers of falconry and desert environment. The Festival is also an occasion to display the various efforts of the UAE in the fields of sustained hunting and the protection of falconry as part of the international heritage.
The programme of the Festival includes the establishment of desert camps, the organisation of a scientific conference and a rich set of activities as well as cultural and art competitions that appeal to all interests and age groups. The programme also features stunning folklore performances that reproduce the aspects of the falconry practice in various societies in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Japan, China, Eastern Asia, and the United Sates.
On the 13th of December, the one-day Al Mawred Mazayna will be organised in Madinat Zayed in Al Gharbia to encourage Emirati camel owners to hold on to their authentic customs and traditions and contribute to the efforts of heritage preservation. As part of its financial and moral support to the camel owners, the Organising Committee of the Mazayna buys the camels that secured the top position for AED 2 million, and those in the second position for AED 1,5 million. As for the winner of the third position, the deal is sealed based on the request of the Organising Committee. The Mawred Shara is a Mazayna open for camel owners from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, and it includes the quotation laps for the category of Majahim for tribes, that is four laps from the age of Haqqa to the age of Thanaya. As far as the Mawred Shara is concerned, there are ten positions for winners and the value of prizes reaches up to AED 1,5 million.
- From the 15th to the 29th of December 2014, the 8th edition of Al Dhafra Festival kicks off in Madinat Zayed in Al Gharbia in Abu Dhabi. The Festival will feature 14 exceptional heritage activities and competitions. The total value of the prizes reaches more than AED 55 million, including 225 cars. After adding two key laps to the main Mazayna competition, the numbers of laps has topped 72 for local Asayel and Majahim. The Mazayna serves the objectives of the Festival, notably the preservation the pure breeds, the promotion of the Bedouin culture, the stimulation of the heritage tourism, the creation of a market for the sale and purchase of camels, the promotion of the Emirati handicrafts, the revival of the traditional crafts, the positioning of Madinat Zayed on the map of international tourism, and the activation of an economic movement in Al Gharbia.
The activities of the Camel Mazayna include: The Camel Milking Competition (Mahaleb), the Heritage Camel Race, the Arab Heritage Saluki Race, the Falcon Competition (for 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.
- The Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee publishes the monthly heritage magazine, the Million’s Poet which supports the TV programmes, the Million's Poet and the Prince of Poets. It also publishes the periodical cultural magazine, Shawati', in both English and Arabic. The Shawati’ magazine includes a special blend of valuable reports on culture, media and environment along with pictures that are displayed in a unique and brilliant style.
- The Abu Dhabi Poetry Academy at the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee accords a special care for the popular heritage, and seeks to uphold the cultural activities that are related to the field of Arab poetry. It publishes creative poetry collections, and works on the creation of a public library specialised in the studies, and publications of popular culture, including all its forms and fields.
- The Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee runs Baynounah TV, a dedicated Emirati heritage channel, and the New York Film Academy- Abu Dhabi which is concerned with the education of filmmaking, film acting, cinematography, digital editing, film production, script writing and photography. The Committee also manages the activities of Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Troupe, and the large-scale celebrations of the National Day.