Cultural and Public Diplomacy:
In today’s world, globalization and technology have enabled an unprecedented exchange of ideas, facilitating enormous capacity for cross cultural dialogue and education as well as the dissemination of information detrimental to stability and peace. Cultural and Public Diplomacy includes, but is not limited to, the exchange of ideas, art and language for the greater purpose of creating understanding between nations and people. Cultural and Public Diplomacy supports dialogue, education and cultural exchange, in the service of improved mutual respect, international collaboration and global prosperity.
The UAE was built on our Founding Father Sheikh Zayed’s foundational values of tolerance and peace, and stability. His guiding strategy was to show friendship towards all cultures and peoples, to promote moderate Islam and to work for mutually advantageous cooperation with all nations.
Today, Sheikh Zayed’s historic vision is reflected in a thriving and tolerant nation that hosts more than 200 nationalities, boasts a 93 percent literacy rate, welcomes more than 15 million tourists annually, and is proud of the fact that 70 percent of all its university graduates are women.
The UAE’s comprehensive aid and development programs have seen the country rank as the top world donor relative to GNP over four of the past six years. They serve over 147 countries of diverse religious and cultural backgrounds and are free of any political bias. The UAE is home to more than 40 churches and other places of worship as well as to numerous world-class centers of education and culture, such as the universities of the Sorbonne Abu Dhabi, The New York University Abu Dhabi and the Louvre Museum Abu Dhabi. In effect, the values of tolerance, religious freedom and mutual respect championed by Sheikh Zayed are ingrained in the UAE’s DNA.
In 2020, the UAE ranked first in the region and 18th internationally in the Global Soft Power Index. This is a testament to the nation’s on-going commitment to ensuring an environment of opportunity, innovation, development and tolerance for all citizens, residents and visitors to the UAE and to ensuring respectful, mutually beneficial and peaceful relationships with the international community.
It is imperative that countries work together to build trust and understanding in order to successfully tackle global challenges together. Cultural and Public Diplomacy aids in eliminating the divisions and distrust between nations and allows the global community to work together in addressing challenges such as climate change, extremism, gender equality and education.
In 2018, under the leadership of His Excellency Dr. Zaki Nusseibeh, Minister of State, the Assistant Minister’s Office for Cultural Affairs in charge of Public and Cultural Diplomacy was established at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) in Abu Dhabi. Dr. Nusseibeh is well placed to lead this mission. He is a former translator and adviser to Sheikh Zayed and witnessed the sheikh’s astute grasp of cultural diplomacy.
In 2019, His Excellency Omar Saif Ghobash, a former ambassador to France and to Russia, was appointed Assistant Minister for Cultural Affairs. The Assistant Minister’s Office for Cultural Affairs focuses on supporting UAE missions internationally in their cultural and public diplomacy outreach, works to bolster the UAE government’s soft power agenda and supports international cooperation. Diplomats undergo cultural diplomacy training to foster ties built on the values of innovation, tolerance and charity.
“Despite the obvious transformations of our country over the last half century, our culture remains rooted in the same values as always: a commitment to women’s empowerment, to invest in the well-being of our people, to provide an open, economically attractive and culturally rich environment for expatriates and visitors, to constant innovation, to compassion for the less fortunate, to tolerance of other religions and cultures, and to respect and civility towards one another. For in a world in which too many people are closing doors, it is in the UAE’s national interest, and our national character, to keep pushing them open.” His Excellency Zaki Nusseibeh, Minister of State