Al Burda Festival will celebrate the future of Islamic art in Abu Dhabi this month

The festival will feature panel sessions in addition to musical and poetry performances

Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, Noura Al Kaabi. Wam  
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A new Abu Dhabi festival celebrating Islam’s rich artistic heritage organised by the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development will run on November 14 at Warehouse 421. Al Burda Festival aims to showcase the best of contemporary and historic Islamic arts, and a range of local and international calligraphers, designers, poets and artists will be in attendance.

The festival will boast an academic flavour, with a range of cultural leaders and scholars taking part in panel discussions and looking at future collaborations, as well as ways to preserve interest in Islamic arts.

The festival will begin with a welcome note from the Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, Noura Al Kaabi, that will highlight the latest trends sweeping the Islamic arts and culture scene.

This will be followed by a plenary session on the future of Islamic art featuring Minister of State Zaki Nusseibeh, Egypt's Minister of Culture Inas Abdel Dayem as well as Sheikha Mai Bint Khalifa, the director general of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiques.

Who else is coming?

Other names attending the event for discussions include Henry Kim, the chief executive of Canada's Aga Khan Museum, Art Jameel director Antonia Carver, chef and author Anissa Helou and Venetia Porter from the Middle Eastern department of London's British Museum.

There is music as well...

The festival will also host an eclectic music programme. There will be performances by students from the Abu Dhabi based music conservatory Bayt Al Oud, the Egyptian-German jazz band Cairo Steps, Tunisian poets Karim Jabbari and Malid, Kuwaiti folk singer Yousif Yaseen and The Voice Kids winner Wafaa Emad from Egypt.

The Al Burda Festival is an evolved iteration of the annual Al Burda Award, which continues on and works to highlight the best Islamic art from around the world. The ceremony announcing the winner of the award’s 15th edition will be at the festival on the day.

"It is our practice in the UAE not to rest on our success, but to continue raising the bar," said Al Kaabi.

"In building on the success of the Al Burda Award, we are proud to introduce a new platform for Islamic art and culture that focuses on cultural and intellectual exchange and will inspire members of the young generation to forge a deeper connection with Islamic traditions and their heritage.

“We strongly believe that instilling an appreciation for Islamic art will initiate a cultural movement in the UAE and strengthen its status across the globe.”

What does Al Burda mean?

Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., June 27, 2018. 
The Office of Public and Cultural Diplomacy will be launched by Minister of State Zaki Nusseibeh at the end of this month. This is an exclusive interview on the launch.
Victor Besa / The National
Section:  NA
Reporter:  Anna Zacharias
Minister of State Zaki Nusseibeh will be at the festival. Photo: Victor Besa / The National

Also known as Qasidat Al Burda, it is the name of an ode in praise of the Islamic Prophet Muhammed composed by the esteemed Egyptian Sufi mystic and scholar Imam Al Bursiri. Popular and recited mostly within the Sunni Muslim denomination, the poem has 160 verses, spread over 10 chapters, that celebrates the various aspects of the prophet's life, from his birth and miracles, to his struggles and insights

The poem is often recited in Islamic congregations and has been translated in various languages, including English, Urdu, Turkish, French, German and Mandarin. You can find an English copy of The Burda, translated by J.W. Redhouse and published by Dodo Press, from for Dh110.

For more details on the festival go


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