Dubai has recently been announced as the latest city to join UNESCO’s growing list of creative cities, making it the first in the Middle East and 24th in the world.
Founded in 2004, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) currently has 180 members from 72 countries covering creative fields such as art and craft, design, film, literature and media arts. Created to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development, the network works towards a common objective: to place creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans — at a local level as well as international.
The announcement was made on Sunday, 3 June, during a press conference held at the Youth Hub in Dubai’s Emirates Towers. In attendance was Dawood Abdulrahman Al Hajiri, director general of Dubai Municipality, among other influential figures, who noted that Dubai Municipality has had a long history with UNESCO as it has sought to recognise Dubai Creek as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
“Our city’s history with UNESCO reflects its deep rooted concern and commitment to culture and heritage,” said Hajiri. “It is also reflective of the country’s vision to position itself on the global map of the world.”
Many also praised the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, whose vision has been “reinforced by the establishment of the Dubai Design District as a specialised body to support creativity and the Dubai Institute for Design and Innovation, the first educational organisation to stimulate innovation and provide university learning opportunities at the highest international standards,” according to Mattar Al Tayer, director general and chairman of RTA’s Board of Directors.
Dubai’s creative accomplishments also include its various art and design weeks and buildings, commitment to architectural triumphs, the design of road networks and various means of transportation, among many more. Upcoming creative projects across the city include Al Safa Art and Design Library, a pilot project of a strategic initiative launched by HH Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice chairperson of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority.
“The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority’s support for this project will be present in the next phase as part of our efforts to achieve our vision of making Dubai a creative and sustainable global city for culture, arts heritage and literature,” said Saeed Al Nabouda, acting director general at Dubai Culture and Arts Authority. “This project will allow us to build partnerships and develop creative and innovate projects and initiatives locally regionally and globally within a dynamic and flexible governance framework.”