BERLIN, Sharjah Museums Authority, SMA, has announced its participation in the Artistic Cultural Diplomacy Forum 2019 held from 13th to 16th February, in Berlin, Germany, to highlight its cultural programmes of exhibitions and events promoting co-existence and peace.

Manal Ataya, Director-General of SMA, was invited by the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy, ICD, to deliver a session at the forum proudly representing the Emirate of Sharjah and the UAE.

The UAE was the only Arab country included in the programme line up, which aims to launch initiatives to promote world peace through the power of art and culture.

The four-day annual forum hosted representatives of international and regional organisations, prominent figures in international politics, diplomacy, civil society, private sector, and literature.

It also brought together renowned artists, musicians, filmmakers, digital performing artists, as well as experts from academic and scientific institutions from around the world to discuss building cultural bridges and fostering prosperous peaceful relations.

In her presentation 'Cultural Diplomacy in the UAE: The Role of Sharjah Museums in Building Peace', Ataya shed light on the key role Sharjah museums play in organising and curating exhibitions on Arab, Islamic and world cultures that promote dialogue and a better understanding of one another.

She also stressed that museums are unique spaces that must encourage cross-cultural discussions, debate and understanding between mixed groups and actively promoting emotional engagement with its communities.

Ataya, who has over 10 years' experience in this area of diplomacy, highlighted the various Sharjah museums' events and programmes that are aimed at promoting cultural diversity and peace through a message of understanding and boosting interfaith dialogue, dedicating a significant part of the presentation to inform the audience of the groundbreaking exhibition held in Sharjah with the Vatican Ethnological Museum in 2014 which later went on show successfully at the National Museum of Australia in 2018.

"The UAE was founded on a set of core values of which tolerance comes at its forefront," said Ataya pointing out that the world's current interest in the principles of religious tolerance, acceptance, and openness to different cultures, emphasising the need to engage all sectors to focus on the consolidation of these values in the hearts of individuals, communities and institutions.

She said that the significant forum provides a platform where culture and art intertwine with pressing global issues. The event also provides a critical platform for highlighting the importance of culture, if global peace initiatives are to succeed.

ICD is an international, not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation that was founded in 1999. Headquartered in both the US and Berlin, the Institute aims to promote global peace and stability by strengthening and supporting intercultural relations at all levels.

Source: Emirates News Agency