Sharjah explores prospects in cultural tourism with France - GulfToday

Sharjah explores prospects in cultural tourism with France


Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Nathalie Kennedy and other officials during the meeting in Sharjah’s House of Wisdom.

Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah’s Department of Government Relations (DGR), recently met Nathalie Kennedy, Consul General of the French Republic in Dubai, to explore ways to strengthen collaboration between Sharjah and French cities, particularly in cultural tourism and the creative industries.

The meeting, held in Sharjah’s House of Wisdom, also witnessed the participation of Marie-Laure Charrier, Deputy Consul-General of the French Republic in Dubai.

Sheikh Fahim accompanied the officials on a tour of the House of Wisdom, an iconic cultural edifice and a modern-day interpretation of a social hub and cultural centre for collective learning, which has been built as a lasting legacy of Sharjah’s nomination as the UNESCO World Book Capital for 2019.

The DGR Chairman said: “Strengthening cultural relationships between Sharjah and cities around the world that champion knowledge and creativity form the basis of the emirate’s efforts towards achieving the goals of its cultural project. France’s pioneering experience in supporting the development of art, literature and culture is exemplary, and we are keen on exploring potential opportunities with French cities that will lead us to fruitful and mutually beneficial collaborations in a variety of sectors, particularly cultural tourism and the creative industries.” For her part, Kennedy praised Sharjah’s vibrant cultural project, and the emirate’s quest to promote public libraries and support creative talents and artists in the UAE and beyond through key collaborations with cultural entities dedicated to nurturing their skills and connecting them with their global peers. She also noted that Sharjah is a pioneering cultural tourism destination and leading hub for investment in creative industries.

As part of her official visit, the French Consul-General also toured a selection of Sharjah’s artistic attractions, including the unique Rain Room, which has been brought by the Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) to the Middle East for the first time in Sharjah’s Al Majarrah area; and the historic Al Mureijah Square – one of SAF’s principal venues where community interacts with art. She also met Sheikha Nawar Al Qasimi, Director of SAF and visited the exhibitions currently taking place at SAF. Moreover, she was briefed about the foundation’s projects and initiatives to promote contemporary arts.

Meanwhile the various immersive and non-traditional spaces for learning, sharing, creating and accessing knowledge at the House of Wisdom were showcased to the more than 4,000 young entrepreneurs, future founders and innovators at the fifth Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival who were encouraged to take advantage of the multiple learning facilities at the futuristic and cultural hub in their quest for innovation.

The House of Wisdom’s pavilion at SEF 2021, which creatively reinterpreted its central courtyard or the Wisdom Square, attracted hundreds of creative makers and passionate innovators who visited the two-day festival. Through engaging dialogues with House of Wisdom experts, visitors were offered detailed consultations on ways they can use the destination’s facilities to build product prototypes and transform their ideas into creative projects.

Five book signing sessions were also hosted at the House of Wisdom pavilion at SEF 2021. Authors Michael Acton Smith, Pauline Nguyen, Vishen Lakhiani, Tahmima Anam, and Lewis Howes signed their books at the Wisdom Square.

Marwa Al Aqroubi, Director, House of Wisdom, said: “The House of Wisdom is a dynamic space for enhancing learning through dialogue, and experimentation, where one can gain proficiency not only in the arts and sciences but also in entrepreneurship. For instance, our Fab Lab makerspace is equipped with cutting-edge technologies including state-of-the-art 3D printers, laser and vinyl cutting machines, and more, which innovators can leverage to create prototypes of products and experimental projects.”

She added: “To fulfil the goal of enriching learners through discussions that offer diverse perspectives, the House of Wisdom hosted a talk with Tahmima Anam, author of The Startup Wife. The insightful discussion shed light on entrepreneurship and gender balance in the workplace.” At the session titled ‘Subverting Stereotypes: Rethinking Gender Dynamics in the Startup Realm’, Anam, said: Although startup tech leads us to a world of magic and incredible possibilities and changes lives, what it cannot disrupt is the deep inequalities women face and the inherent patriarchy embedded in the system.”

She added: “We are hardwired in our brains to see men as visionaries and not women in leadership positions in the tech culture. To reclaim our power and our space, women must firmly believe that their presence in leadership positions is beneficial to the entire ecosystem. Women leaders are good for society, and it also makes good economic sense to have women at the helm.”

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