Colombia meet: UAE stresses role of culture as a significant driver of growth

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The UAE took part in the fourth edition of the Global Forum on Arts, Culture, Creativity and Technology (G-FACCT) held in the city of Medellín, Colombia.

Mubarak Al Nakhi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Culture and Youth participated in the event which brought together some of the most prominent players in the creative economy from around the world.

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The UAE official spoke at length about the UAE’s cultural and creative industries and how the nation was prioritizing them as key drivers of its socio-economic growth, at the panel discussion which took place on July 22, 2022, as part of the three-day conference.

In the panel, he was joined by José Igancio Argote, Deputy Minister of Heritage and Regional Development from the Ministry of Culture of Colombia; and Carolina Pereira, Executive Secretary of Creative Economy of the Ministry of Arts, Cultures and Heritage of Chile. The panel was moderated by Victoria Contreras, General Director of Conecta Cultura Mexico.

The four speakers shared their experiences in promoting culture as a main driver of economic growth and social progress. The discussion revolved around the strategies undertaken by the four governments to incentivize cultural and creative productions within their territories, as well as their achievements and challenges.

Unique cultural model

The UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth’s Undersecretary elaborated on the key points of the UAE’s National Strategy for Cultural and Creative Industries (Creative UAE) and explained how the UAE presents a unique model in terms of culture with its strong Arab and Emirati identity and welcoming diversity.

He also spoke about the incentives the country was offering to talents and creatives such as freezones and creative clusters while also providing opportunities to nurture their skills and presenting their creations at national and international platforms.

“Talent is at the heart of any cultural project, and it is very important to foster talent for a thriving cultural sector for sustainable growth,” he said.

“The UAE has been driving the cultural agenda forward with strategies, incentives, and plans for the cultural and creative sector for years and with the launch of a national strategy, we are able to streamline various efforts at the local and federal levels,” he added.

Commenting on the importance of international platforms to share knowledge and exchange ideas, he said: “In today’s hyperconnected world with a highly globalized economy, international commitment and cooperation are imperative to the successful implementation of any project and culture projects are no exception.”

Culture holds key

The Undersecretary further added that culture holds the key to a lot of problems faced by humanity today and is a way to achieve sustainable development.

“Culture not only gives us a sense of belonging fostering connection between people but it also has answers to most of the issues our planet is facing today. Cultural Diplomacy is yet another area that is very relevant in today’s conflict-ridden world. When the world is struggling with conflict and sustainability issues, culture has the answer to many problems.”

He explained how the UAE acknowledges the role that cultural diplomacy plays in forging international partnerships, giving the example of Expo2020 Dubai, as the biggest celebration of culture and how it promoted friendly cultural ties with 192 participating countries of the world.

When asked whether interest in culture was here to stay or was a passing phase, Al Nakhi said: “Culture is not a new source of development, but the world is rediscovering its potential more than ever. Human-centric skills are at the heart of the fourth industrial revolution. Formalizing the economy of culture is still work in progress and requires gathering data, building capacities, policy support, international cooperation, and financial and technological support. Culture supports sustainable growth and interest in culture is here to stay.”

The 2021 edition of the G-FACCT took place virtually in Colombia with 418 national and international experts on screen and a digital reach of over 286,000 viewers worldwide.

This year the conference was held with in-person participation from various countries around the world including the UAE, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Costa Rica, and Jamaica.

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