Women shoppers at Souq Okaz.
Jamil Khan, Senior Reporter
The Ministry of Community Development participated in the 13th Edition of Souq Okaz at Al Taif, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as part of the UAE pavilion being supervised by the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, in cooperation with the UAE Embassy at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The exhibition continues till 31st August.
The participation of the Ministry of Community Development included a variety of handicraft products for 30 Emirati productive families, and members of the ten social development centres of the Ministry. The products ranged from heritage clothes, perfumes, dukhoon and handicrafts blended with modern touches to suit different tastes, in addition to women’s accessories and natural oils that are very popular to lots of categories.
Speaking about the ministry’s participation, Afra Buhumaid, Director of Productive Families Department at the Ministry said: “The participation of the Ministry of Community Development emphasises the importance of Souq Okaz Festival which attracts more than 800,000 visitors who meet to celebrate the Arab cultural heritage, highlight the creativity of the UAE community, culture, heritage and civilisation of the country. Souq Okaz is a great opportunity for exchanging culture among different people and emphasises harmony, cohesion and solidarity between the UAE and Saudi Arabia; it also supports the concepts of community cohesion and coherence.”
The UAE pavilion showcases the country’s heritage and cultural richness, such as cultures enlisted in Unesco’s World Heritage List, a live show of two traditional cultural dances known as “Al Rizva & Al Yoala”, culinary arts inspired by popular Emirati cuisine and Emirati hospitality that stems from the depth of Arab authenticity.
It is noted that the number of UAE productive families who are registered in Al Sanaa project, one of the ministry’s largest projects to support sustainable community development, reached 2,541 . The number of exhibitions organised by the Ministry from 2018 until mid-2019, is nearly 200 exhibitions held inside and outside the UAE.
An earlier report says that evolving from a cultural platform for sheikhs to meet their tribes hundreds of years ago, the Souk Okaz Festival attracts today over 800,000 visitors to celebrate the local and regional cultural heritage. The festival comprises live shows, museums, an exhibition of fine arts and photography, a library, an open cultural square, workshop halls and a wide range of shops, restaurants and cafes.
The UAE’s participation at the Souq Okaz Festival reflects our shared historical and cultural heritage with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This souq has a great historical significance as it served as a cultural, social, economic and political hub for the local communities; today, it stands as a reminder that culture has an intrinsic power to connect civilisations and bring them even closer. The UAE’s participation in heritage and cultural events regionally and internationally underscores our commitment to cementing the country’s position on the global cultural map as well as celebrating and sharing our unique heritage and traditions with the rest of the world.
The 13th edition of Souk Okaz Festival hosts 11 Arab countries that take part in sharing their cultural and social heritage as part of the “Arab Neighbourhood” section. In addition to the UAE, the event is also hosting pavilions for Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia and Morocco.
The Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development is a leading governmental authority focused on setting the UAE’s cultural agenda and nurturing creative talent. The Ministry’s objective is to preserve the UAE’s national identity and promote its position on the global cultural map through innovative and creative development of the UAE’s cultural sector. This objective falls in line with the strategic objective and goals of the UAE Vision 2021, which charts the next stage in the country’s journey with a focus on preserving its rich heritage, sharing knowledge, and innovating.
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