x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

UN awards Sharjah ruler Sheikh Sultan for theatre work

Dr Sheikh Sultan recognised with medal and citation by the International Theatre Institute for his diplomacy through art.

BEIJING // Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed, Ruler of Sharjah, received an award yesterday from a UN performing arts organisation for for his efforts in promoting the theatre.

Dr Sheikh Sultan was selected by the International Theatre Institute (ITI) to receive a medal and a citation in recognition of his "outstanding contribution to the global performing arts".

The accolade was presented yesterday in Xiamen, where the institute is holding its world congress, with delegates from 90 countries attending. The institute is made up of theatre professionals and is part of the UN's cultural body, Unesco.

Omar Al Bitar, the UAE ambassador to China, said Dr Sheikh Sultan had "exerted lots of effort to develop the cultural and educational functions in Sharjah and the UAE".

"He is recognised worldwide as a man of culture and a man of peace who builds bridges with nations through culture and art, and it's in this regard he's been recognised by the ITI for his significant efforts," Mr Al Bitar added.

Mr Al Bitar said it was particularly appropriate the award was being presented in China, as Dr Sheikh Sultan was keen to strengthen ties between the UAE and China even before diplomatic relations between the countries were established in 1984.

Links between the UAE and China have developed significantly in recent years, with the Emirates becoming a key destination for Chinese exports.

Last year, non-oil trade increased by nine per cent to reach US$12.5 billion (Dh45.9 bn), with similar growth recorded so far this year. On a cultural level, a Confucius Institute, where the Chinese language is taught, has opened in Abu Dhabi.

During his East Asia tour, Dr Sheikh Sultan was presented with an honorary degree by Hanyang University in South Korea on Friday in recognition of his work in politics, economics and culture.

Also in South Korea, Dr Sheikh Sultan opened Sharjah Cultural Days, a festival in the city of Suwon that features the UAE's culture and heritage and is set to run for two months.

The UAE and South Korea relationship has developed considerably thanks to the decision in December 2009 to award a South Korean-led consortium the contract to build four nuclear power stations in Abu Dhabi emirate in a Dh74bn agreement. South Korea has more recently sent troops to the Emirates to train UAE special forces.

dbardsley@thenational.ae