Saadiyat Cultural District Abu Dhabi, a living legacy of our Founding Father

An open letter written by His Excellency Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman for the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi)

Zayed National Museum

"He who does not know his past, cannot make the best of his present and his future, for it is from the past that we learn.” - The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan

As a home to more than 200 nationalities, there can be no better place than Abu Dhabi to celebrate the role that culture can and must play in building a better tomorrow by opening hearts, minds and perspectives.

Indeed, archaeological discoveries across the UAE have helped to remind us that this region has been a vital and historic bridge between the civilisations of the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean and the Levant for millennia. Historically, it has been a place where people have learned to understand each other, cooperate and exchange.

That sort of resilience and strength, which can only come from collaboration and unity, is a value the Founding Father of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, embraced unequivocally.

Sheikh Zayed was passionate about cherishing, protecting, and promoting our heritage and the diverse influences that shaped our culture. The UAE was founded in 1971 and to document its history, Sheikh Zayed inaugurated the first museum in the UAE, Al Ain Museum, the same year. The Cultural Foundation, the first cultural centre, opened in 1981. Sheikh Zayed’s legacy continued to evolve under the guidance of the late Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Today, HH Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, and HH Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, continue to build on that legacy. This enduring dedication to cultural heritage and advancement finds its latest expression in Saadiyat Cultural District, one of the greatest concentrations of cultural institutions.

Saadiyat Cultural District serves as a global platform that emanates from a rich cultural heritage. It celebrates cultures supports equitable culture, and represents a continuation of Abu Dhabi's historical role as a crossroads of civilisations. The District is poised to solidify Abu Dhabi’s role as a nexus of cultural innovation and dialogue, profoundly impacting the UAE and beyond. As a vibrant cultural centre, the District intertwines the rich heritage of our past with the dynamic promise of our future, celebrating a legacy of enlightenment initiated by the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Already home to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Berklee Abu Dhabi and Manarat Al Saadiyat, the District will be joined by Zayed National Museum, teamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi, , Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. Collectively, these institutions offer a journey through our world’s history and cultures, viewed from the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Saadiyat Cultural District’s dynamic spaces not only honour our history but also enhance cultural interactions. Our institutions, invite people from diverse backgrounds to engage in shared experiences and cultural exchanges, thereby enriching their understanding and appreciation of our world.

These interactions are not just educational; they empower young people to embrace values of mutual understanding and respect. By fostering critical thinking and cultivating creativity, these civic places serve as lifelong learning platforms, teaching, guiding and supporting them as they deploy the power of creativity to carry forward the legacy of Saadiyat Cultural District for generations to come.

Saadiyat Cultural District also explores and interprets the way creativity can benefit every one of us, young and old, citizens of the world. The sense of connection is palpable throughout the District’s cultural institutions which offer abundant opportunities to foster creativity, education and personal enrichment, ensuring every visit, for everyone, is both memorable and transformative.

Saadiyat Cultural District is a testament to Abu Dhabi's commitment to preserving our heritage while embracing a forward-looking vision that will lead us into the future. The District will convey a message of cultural diversity that will become more powerful over time, creating global connections, inspiring cultural exchange, and fostering new ways of thinking to support the region and the global South.

Updated: May 22, 2024, 3:59 AM