CultureSummit 2018 Abu Dhabi closes with outcomes and ideas for change

CultureSummit 2018 Abu Dhabi closes with outcomes and ideas for change

Thursday, April 12, 2018 — The annual international convening, CultureSummit 2018 Abu Dhabi, came to a close today following final panel discussions examining themes, concepts, and action points arising from the previous days of the event. Under the theme “Celebrating the Fruits of Unexpected Collaborations”, the discussions today summarised those ideas and initiatives from the summit that will be taken forward to concretely address, through the power of culture, some of the world’s most pressing global challenges.

HE Noura Al Kaabi, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development and CultureSummit Steering Committee Chair, said: “We were humbled by the insightful feedback from our CultureSummit guests and participants. Once again, Abu Dhabi has succeeded in bringing together visionary leaders from all over the world to send one unified message: it is never too late to take action and redefine the role of culture in our world. We will continue to use the transformative power of culture as an agent for change, bridging nations and minds. Abu Dhabi has taken this path since the days of Sheikh Zayed and it is this generation’s mandate to actively spread his message of tolerance and universality through world-wide cooperation and collaboration, to shape a better future for all.”

The most crucial panel of the day was “Deliverables and Next Steps for CultureSummit”, which saw the CultureSummit Steering Committee; HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman, Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi; HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General, Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi; David Rothkopf, CEO, The Rothkopf Group; and Carla Dirlikov Canales, CEO, TCP Ventures - announcing the projects being launched by an ongoing deliverable programmes flowing from CultureSummit’s workshops and education initiatives.

HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, CultureSummit Steering Committee member and Chairman, Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said: “As we conclude CultureSummit, we all believe that this gathering is so much more than a series of panel discussions; it is a cultural movement that we collectively need to sustain through time. It is one of the many initiatives that shows Abu Dhabi’s efforts to foster the sort of intercultural dialogue and acceptance that can only be unlocked by educating younger generations and using culture as an instrument for change. It is important that culture must not be defined within the margins of pure entertainment; it is a platform that the world shares to deepen our understanding of one another.”

He added: “By rejecting culture or limiting it to a single aspect of life, we reject each other and risk failing in our collective duty to be open to change and the power of collective responsibility. From where we stand in Abu Dhabi today, we see how culture can lead transformative force; the Louvre Abu Dhabi is not just one of the most fascinating cultural projects in the world, but it also helps show how humans have always been connected in a world torn by differences and misunderstandings. We are pleased with the proposed outcomes and ideas that resulted from all the discussions, workshops and incubators that took place in CultureSummit this year. They exemplify and embolden our efforts at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi. With so much creativity under one place in Abu Dhabi, we have the power to incite change.”

HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, CultureSummit Steering Committee member and Director General, Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said: “With the second edition of CultureSummit in this, the Year of Zayed, it is evident how it can  serve as a beacon for positive transformation, with extensive discussions tackling pressing contemporary matters, like ways to support artists, the impact of media and technology in the world, the ability to measure influence, preserve heritage and culture, and the role of education. Our initiatives in DCT Abu Dhabi serve these pressing matters, as we recently launched the Abu Dhabi Culture platform, a rich resource for all culture-related projects in Abu Dhabi, which was developed by specialists and researchers for all audiences. The platform is unique due to its interactive digital nature in terms of content production and content reception. It is an open portal for the whole world, as culture is not limited to a geographical context, but is universal. I would like to also note the significance and effectiveness of combining culture with tourism to serve and benefit the two sectors, as we apply this method in our various projects, harnessing the capacities and assets in each sector.”

David Rothkopf, CultureSummit Steering Committee member and CEO, The Rothkopf Group, commented: “With the help of leaders and influencers from more than 90 countries over its two editions so far, CultureSummit has accomplished something as important as it is unusual: bringing the arts into serious discussions that address the global challenges of our coming century. From CultureSummit's collaborative workshops addressing extremism and cultural preservation, to exploring options for globalizing creativity and using culture as a transformational tool, artists, policymakers and innovators are sharing seats at the same table with a common aim of bettering the world.”

Carla Canales, CultureSummit Steering Committee member and CEO, The Rothkopf Group, said: “This year, if CultureSummit has proven anything to me, it is that nothing is impossible when open minds come together to collaborate.  CultureSummit unveiled its Artists Incubator program to break down barriers and replace expectation with cooperation. From integrating arts into education curriculums at all ages, to seeding new artwork and performances, including a piece by musicians Clemens Sainitzer and Magda Giannikou, this year's incubators have kicked off a year-round cultural movement building on CultureSummit’s foundation of art, policy and technology.”

An opening panel titled “Setting an Agenda for the Global Cultural and Media Communities” saw CultureSummit co-organiser David Rothkopfmoderating a discussion in which participating speakers shared and explored the ever-increasing possibilities of media and arts practitioners to leverage globalised opportunities to empower their communities, preserve their culture, and spark inspiration in their art. Exploring proactive steps to action these prospects were Mohammed Al Otaiba, Founder, The Syndication Bureau; Paul Dujardin, CEO and Artistic Director, BOZAR; and Christine Eyene, Artistic Director, International Biennial of Casablanca 2018.

The panel was followed by Artist Incubator pitch sessions, in which artist groups put forward proposed new projects that are the result of over 50 artists from around the world meeting throughout the course of CultureSummit to identify new creative collaborations. The pitch sessions included collaborative performances by musicians Ade Suparman and Clemens Sainitzer, and composer Molly Joyce with performer and poet Jacqueline Suskin.

A closing luncheon celebrated the summit’s overarching theme of “Unexpected Collaborations” with a final performance, by singer and pianist Magda Giannikou and musicians the Bait Al Oud Performers with Christoph Pepe Auer.

Taking place from 8-12 April, CultureSummit 2018 Abu Dhabi convened over 400 leaders from 80 countries to discuss the ways that culture can address the world’s most pressing challenges and be a force for positive change. Under the theme of “Unexpected Collaborations: Forging New Connections Between Heritage and Innovation, Near and Far, Creativity and Purpose”, the action-oriented, four-day agenda saw a series of panel discussions, workshops, performances and interventions driven by decision makers and creatives from the disparate worlds of arts, government, policy, tech and media, coming together to forge new solutions to old problems through the power of arts and culture.

CultureSummit is an annual event and will reconvene in Abu Dhabi in 2019. Additional details may be found at

For further information about CultureSummit Abu Dhabi, please contact:

Michael Clyne

Brunswick Arts
Danielle DeMartini, +971 56 503 4852
Muhanad Ali, +971 50 107 4820