Sharjah Archaeology Museum
Sharjah Museums Department (SMD) has successfully concluded a first-of-its-kind conference aimed at exploring in-depth how museums can help preserve national and cultural identity at the Sharjah Archaeology Museum.
The Conference saw
the participation of 7 local and several other GCC universities. The list of participants included Sharjah University, American University of Sharjah, U.A.E. University, Paris-Sorbonne Abu Dhabi, Sultan Qaboos University, King Saud University, and University College London - Qatar, In addition to various authorities, including Sharjah Museums Department, Sharjah Art Foundation, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, and House of Islamic Antiquities in Kuwait.
The two-day event, entitled "The Role of Museums and Cultural Institutions in Strengthening Identity", was inaugurated by Sheikh Salim bin Abdulrahman Al Qasimi, accompanied by Abdullah Al Owais, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Information, and Manal Ataya Director-General of Sharjah Museums Department, which aimed to stimulate meaningful dialogue about how museums can preserve and disseminate information about Arab and Islamic culture in a world that has seen extraordinary changes politically, economically and socially largely as a result of globalisation.
Commenting on the need for such a conference in the region, Manal Ataya, Director-General of Sharjah Museums Department remarked, "Dramatic globalisation with limitless socio-political and economic impact, has affected cultural and social structures worldwide.
Moreover, it is essential to investigate how museums can play an integral role in disseminating a shared Arab and Islamic tradition with the world beyond.
She added, "This conference aims to highlight the early development of the museum sector in the GCC region and its ongoing growth, as well as explore the role of museums in community engagement. The speakers will examine contributions made by a variety of GCC cultural institutions to further strengthen and celebrate identity.
Habib Al Sayegh, Chairman of the Emirates Writers Union, delivered the opening speech before various speakers delved into their presentations on the first topic, 'The evolution of museums in the GCC region'.
The second of the conference's three topics, Museums and Cultural Institutions: Cooperation and Integration for Identity Preservation, commenced in the afternoon and was chaired by Dr Hamad bin Seray, Associate Professor at UAEU.
Dr. Zaki Aslan, Director of ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre, Sharjah, delivered the session's first paper, 'Role of International Organisations in Supporting and Strengthening Cultural Identity: Cultural Heritage Conservation Programme in the Arab World (ATHAR)'.
This was followed by a paper on the 'Role of ISESCO in Preserving the Islamic Cultural Identity' by Dr. Abdulaziz Al Jabouri, an expert in ISESCO.
The conference is particularly pertinent as Sharjah takes great pride in its rich cultural history, the Emirate was named as the 'Cultural Capital of the Arab World' by UNESCO in 1998, and was selected by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation as the Capital of Islamic Culture for 2014.
The wider U.A.E., meanwhile, has seen a proliferation in the creation of new museums. Over the coming years, for example, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will be the first universal museum in the Arab world, and will be joined in the capital by the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and the Zayed National Museum. Dubai is undergoing a similar drive to introduce new several exhibitions to the Emirate.