The most promising artists, filmmakers and writers from the United Arab Emirates - expatriates and Emiratis alike - will work with 183 embassies across the globe to showcase the best creative talent the country has to offer.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has launched the Office for Public and Cultural Diplomacy to highlight longstanding cultural ties to other nations and broaden perceptions of what constitutes Emirati culture.
The new office will be led by the highly respected Minister of State Zaki Nusseibeh, who was a translator and close adviser of Sheikh Zayed, the country's founding president.
The launch coincides with the Year of Zayed and is a culmination of a diplomatic approach Sheikh Zayed proffered long ago.
"From the beginning he said that we are a young nation, a small country, we need our international network of friendships and partnerships in order to develop our own country and to play a responsible, moderating role in the region," said Minister Nusseibeh in an interview with The National to mark the launch of the office.
The mission will build on work by public and private organisations at a federal and emirate level. Coordination has already begun with the Ministry of Culture, the Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation and Warehouse 421 in Abu Dhabi; Al Serkal Avenue and the cultural authorities in Dubai and Sharjah.
“We are not beginning something from scratch,” said the minister.
“The UAE has always been aware of the importance of the cultural dimension in its relationships with the rest of the world.”
The Office opens at a time when the UAE is taking an increasingly prominent role on the regional and global stage, opening diplomatic missions, securing visa free travel for its citizens and funding humanitarian aid close to home and far afield.
In an exclusive op-ed in The National today, the minister writes: "By communicating our progressive culture and values to other nations, we can give people in our region something hopeful to aspire to, which is what so many young Arabs desperately need."