‘Cultural exchange makes us all stronger’: His Excellency Zaki Nusseibeh

Zaki Nusseibeh, Cultural Advisor to the UAE President and Supreme President of UAE University (UAEU), has emphasised that the UAE cultural diplomacy is based on the principle that "cultural exchange makes us all stronger because we share the same human values."

During a virtual seminar organised by the UAE Embassy in Kuwait entitled "Culture and its Role in Diplomatic Work", Nusseibeh said that the vision of the Founding Father of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan has always been to unite all the Gulf countries, which are unified by common factors, such as history, customs, traditions, economy, and family rapprochement.

The seminar was attended by Dr. Matar Hamed Al Neyadi, UAE Ambassador to the State of Kuwait; and Kamel Al-Abduljalil, Secretary-General of the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters, among others.

Nusseibeh said that history bears witness to the valuable hard work of late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the late Emir of Kuwait, which transformed the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) from a dream into a reality, beginning with their first bilateral meeting in Abu Dhabi in 1976.

He also touched on his personal experience in this field, especially in establishing the Public and Cultural Diplomacy office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation under the directives of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

"We have defined our main task, which is to cooperate closely with federal and local cultural authorities in the UAE, to help our wide network of diplomatic missions around the world in introducing the country's culture and values, in addition to strengthening political, economic and security cooperation with countries of the world," he noted.

"I have worked with my colleagues at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and outside to blend our country's culture and foreign policy and to ensure that the UAE embassies do everything in their power to support these efforts," Nusseibeh added.

"The Public and Cultural Diplomacy Office is working to devise more ways to familiarise people with the culture and values of the UAE and to develop a "toolbox" across the UAE embassies to implement cultural initiatives," he went on to say, stressing the importance of the office's cooperation with the Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy for training in cultural and public diplomacy.

He explained that the cultural and public diplomacy strategy of the foreign ministry is based on conveying the message of the UAE in the best way and on the principle that "cultural exchange makes us all stronger."

The UAE official stated that 93 percent of the UAE population is literate and that more than 70 percent of university graduates are women, adding that the country is visited annually by over 15 million tourists. "We are proud that the UAE's relief and development efforts have reached to more than 147 countries from different religions and cultural backgrounds," Nusseibeh pointed out.

He added that the UAE is also home to more than 40 churches and other places of worship, as well as many internationally acclaimed centres of learning and culture, such as Paris-Sorbonne University, New York University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

He said, "The State of Kuwait, as we have always known, has been a forerunner in the field of cultural and educational diplomacy, as it is in other fields, to strengthen the rapprochement and synergy between the peoples of the UAE and Kuwait."

Al Neyadi, in turn, spoke about the means of cultural diplomacy in enhancing communication and relations between countries and peoples, stressing that culture always has a high status and is part of our heritage and has a major role in diplomacy.

For his part, Al-Abduljalil said that culture expresses identity, social and human authenticity, as well as of patriotism, and it encourages rapprochement between other peoples.

He stated that Expo 2020 Dubai is a vivid example of the values of coexistence, tolerance and openness to the world.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation