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Culture Summit Abu Dhabi announces participant and performer highlights

Hannah Godefa, UNICEF Ambassador to Ethiopia will also speak at the event

Seeking to forge cultural solutions for today’s global challenges, delegates from more than 80 countries will attend Culture Summit 2018 in Abu Dhabi, making it the largest global gathering of top government officials, philanthropists, arts administrators, business leaders, technologists and artists in the world.
The Summit’s action-driven program of expert panels, discussions and workshops will aim to identify and support new ideas for harnessing the power of culture to address some of the world’s greatest challenges. With a special focus on arts education, panels will cover topics such as preserving heritage, promoting positive environmental change and combating violent extremism around the Summit’s 2018 theme of Unexpected Collaborations.
The event will also feature a series of curated performances, exhibits, and interventions by renowned artists and musicians across the world, from the European Union Youth Orchestra to Abu Dhabi’s Bait Al Oud musical academy, with new collaborations transcending disciplinary and cultural boundaries.
“Following last year’s successful inaugural edition, we are extremely pleased to see the interest Culture Summit Abu Dhabi has generated with some of the world’s leading innovators and decision makers, many of whom have agreed to participate in this year’s iteration. As a global cultural hub, Abu Dhabi convenes the most remarkable community of like-minded creatives and policy makers to address global issues from poverty and women’s empowerment to violent extremism and conflict,” said HE Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development of the United Arab Emirates and Chairman of the Steering Committee of CultureSummit 2018 Abu Dhabi.
Participant Highlights
Programme highlights for the 2018 edition of Culture Summit include opening sessions on “Emerging Trends in the Arts and Media Worldwide: What’s Next” and “Case Studies in Unexpected Collaborations”. Talks will feature such speakers as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s Artistic Director Nancy Spector; Drew Bennett, Founder and Director of Facebook’s Artist-in-Residence Program; Touria el Glaoui, Founder, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, and Molly Fannon, Director of International Relations at the Smithsonian Institution, and Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi.
Additional headline speakers include: H.E. Maqsud Kruse, Executive Director, Hedayah Center; H.E. Omar Ghobash, UAE Ambassador to France; Hannah Godefa, UNICEF Ambassador to Ethiopia; Abdul Waheed Khalili, Director, Turquoise Mountain Institute for Afghan Art; Manny Ansar, Founder of the Timbuktu Festival au Désert; George Richards, Head of Heritage, Art Jameel Foundation; Isao Matsushita, Vice President, Tokyo University of the Arts; Drew Bennett, Founder and Head of Artist in Residence Program, Facebook; Liao Yanru, Artistic Director, China National Symphony; fashion designer Carla Fernández; and Tom Standage, Deputy Editor of The Economist; among others.
Mohamed Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Tourism and Culture, and member of Culture Summit Abu Dhabi Steering Committee, said: “We are building a global cultural capital in Abu Dhabi, as illustrated by the recent opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi and the other world class arts and educational facilities and programmes here. The idea of CultureSummit is not simply to celebrate the arts. It is to promote the best kinds of cultural entrepreneurship – harnessing the power the arts have to elevate and promote positive change.”
Alongside the four-day speaker programme, Culture Summit 2018 Abu Dhabi will feature a series of performances and interventions by renowned performers and artists.
Artistic programming will include a special screening by Sundance Institute of the prize-winning film Kailash and discussion with its namesake, Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi and Sundance Institute Executive Director Keri Putnam moderated by The Economist’s Culture Editor Fiammetta Rocco, as well as a performance by Yo Yo Ma’s Silkroad Ensemble, previewing new work.
The Culture Summit 2018 Artists-in-Residence are acclaimed British photographer Jimmy Nelson, whose work documents indigenous cultures with digital technology, Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer, American-Peruvian interdisciplinary visual artist Grimanesa Amorós, and Emirati poet Afra Atiq. Considered as thought leaders in public understanding of the power of the arts, the Artists-in-Residence will present collaborative performances and visual exhibitions alongside the Summit’s numerous guest performers.
New artistic pairings between violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing and pianist Llewelyn Sanchez-Werner, saxophonist Christoph Pepe Auer and cellist Clemens Sainitzer, and guitarist Gyan Riley and singer Magos Harrera will evoke experimentation within Culture Summit’s Artists Incubator programme, which will chart new collaborations among artists across disciplines and regions.
Further imbuing both Culture Summit’s plenaries and social receptions with performance will be the European Union Youth Orchestra; world-premiere work by Emirati oud musicians Faisal Al Saari, Ali Obaid, and Ali Al Mansouri; choreographer Aakash Odedra; and theatre artist Volker Gerling.
“As we nurture new work, exchange ideas and above all harness the power of art for social change, there is perhaps no better-suited location for these unexpected collaborations than the crossways of Abu Dhabi and Culture Summit 2018,” Chief Executive of TCP Ventures, Carla Dirlikov Canales said.

CultureSummit 2018 Abu Dhabi is presented by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) in conjunction with The Rothkopf Group and TCP Ventures. (Saudi Gazette)


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