Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 2 July 2020

Virtual UAE-China culture and diplomacy week to kick off soon

The five-day event will feature panel discussions, art workshops and musical performances that celebrate cultural ties

The annual UAE-China Week first started in 2018, after President Xi Jinping’s visit to the UAE in July 2018. Wam
The annual UAE-China Week first started in 2018, after President Xi Jinping’s visit to the UAE in July 2018. Wam

An annual event promoting closer cultural collaboration between the UAE and China is due to begin next week.

Like most events held today, it will be online-only and will feature panel discussions, art workshops and musical performances.

The virtual five-day event, which is due to begin on Sunday, July 5, will examine a number of topics, including the future of the cultural industry in the post-pandemic age.

The annual event will be attended by a number of cultural figures from both the UAE and China, including Zaki Nusseibeh, the UAE Minister of State; Ali Obaid Al Dhaheri, the UAE's Ambassador to China; and Ni Jian, the Chinese Ambassador to the UAE.

“The UAE and China have had close relations since at least the 1990s, and really since the UAE was established,” Mr Nusseibeh told The National of the event.

In 1990, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan made his first official visit to China. Four years later, the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Centre for Arabic Language and Islamic Studies was founded in Beijing following a grant provided by the UAE's Founding Father.

“The coming cultural week sustains the spirit of that collaboration and cultural exchange. It is a continued form of the UAE-China Week that came after President Xi Jinping’s visit to the country in July 2018,” Mr Nusseibeh, said.

This year's iteration of the UAE-China Week, which will be broadcast from both China and the UAE, can be viewed on the social media channels of the UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation. The event will be streamed live every day from 10am.

It will start with a panel discussion between Mr Nusseibeh, Mr Al Dhaheri, Mr Ni and Zhang Shenfeng, vice chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

A series of cultural events, held by China Soong Ching Foundation, will then take place and include a demonstration of Chinese traditional handcraft arts, a Jing opera performance, as well as traditional Chinese dance and a Chinese calligraphy presentation.

The second day of the event will examine the coming Dubai Expo as well as museum culture. The third day will be held under the theme 'Understanding Cultural Differences and Tolerance', which will include sessions exploring similarities between the two countries’ cuisines, hosted by Nasif Kayed, an Emirati culture expert. This will be followed by a Guzheng traditional instrument performance with Amanda Wu & Yujia Guo.

A panel discussion between the two performers and Rawhi Abeidoh, a specialist in Middle Eastern instruments, will then take place to explore links between Chinese traditional music and ancient Arabic music.

A panel discussion titled 'Language and People Exchange' will be held on the fourth day. The discussion will explore the education opportunities present in the UAE for Chinese people.

The final day of the event, which will be held on Thursday, July 9, will be a panel discussion between Mr Al Dhaheri, Ji Pengcheng, executive curator of the China Millennium Monument Art Museum, and Ren Haifeng, deputy director of the China Soong Ching Ling Science & Culture Centre for Young People.

The panel will discuss the cultural industry in the post-pandemic world.

Mr Nusseibeh told The National that cross-cultural co-operation is perhaps more important now than ever, noting the co-operation between the China National Biotech Group and the Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing company G42 in carrying out trials for a Covid-19 vaccine.

“We are living in a period that necessitates closer cultural exchange,” Mr Nusseibeh said.

“What this pandemic has shown the world is that it can affect lives and decimate livelihoods across borders, without regard for race, background or origin. It shows us how essential global collaboration is to our future.”

Updated: July 1, 2020 05:38 PM

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