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02 December 2023

Sheikha Latifa emphasises the synergy between culture and media

By E247

• Sheikha Latifa stresses the need for collaboration between the media and cultural sectors to produce compelling and impactful Arabic content that embodies Arab values and identity
• Calls on regional media to collaborate with the cultural sector and take a proactive approach in producing meaningful content for the youth and children that embodies the Arab identity
• Sheikha Latifa holds a positive outlook for the cultural and creative sectors in the Arab world, citing the ambition and untapped potential of the youth.
• The creative economy is fundamental to the progress of nations

As part of her participation in the Arab Media Forum, Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and Member of the Dubai Council, highlighted the vital synergy existing between media and culture in the region. Speaking at the session titled ‘Culture and Media: Crafting a Creative Vision for the Future’, moderated by Faisal bin Huraiz of Sky News Arabia, Her Highness stressed the substantial economic contributions of the creative economy to national economies.

Her Highness emphasised that the Arab Media Forum is a principal platform to underscore the significance of cultural dialogue in uniting individuals from varied backgrounds. She also illuminated the diversity within the cultural and creative sector and its immense potential for individuals and nations, appealing to the media and educational systems to be more proactive in enhancing the public’s understanding of the sector and its offerings.

“Culture is a multifaceted concept that continually evolves, encompassing societal values, customs, traditions, cultural and social heritage, attitudes, and behaviours. Today, it also includes the cultural and creative industries that form the backbone of the creative economy.” Her Highness shared results from a poll she conducted on Instagram in both English and Arabic, where she asked her followers about their interpretation of culture: arts & literature; values, customs & traditions; social behaviours and way of life; or all the above. Despite the differing definitions, she observed that most respondents demonstrated a sound understanding of culture, with the majority selecting the correct answer: all the above.

Reflecting on her decision to work in the public and cultural sectors, HH Sheikha Latifa shared cherished childhood memories. She spoke of mornings when she would prepare for school, only to see her grandfather, His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the then Ruler of Dubai, embarking on early visits across Dubai and neighbouring emirates. She drew immense inspiration from her father, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, witnessing his tireless dedication to his country. For HH Sheikha Latifa, these foundational memories highlighted Sheikh Mohammed’s zeal for presenting the UAE and Dubai on the global stage, consistently fostering a deep-rooted culture of benevolence and dedication.

Her Highness also reminisced about a family environment rich in cultural discourse. With HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid being a poet and other family members having artistic inclinations, she felt naturally drawn to the arts and began her career at Dubai Culture. She progressively climbed the ranks at the Authority and was appointed its chairperson in 2019, just six months before the onset of the pandemic.

Though she admitted initial uncertainty regarding the sector’s prospects during the global pandemic, Her Highness reflected on how HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid instilled the value of confronting challenges, like the pandemic, with unwavering dedication and a hopeful outlook. She was heartened to observe people all around the world turning to the products of the creative economy for comfort such as movies, books, and video games. In Dubai, a great example was the high local and international engagement with the Dubai Museums’ virtual tours that the Authority introduced during the pandemic.

Responding to another question, Her Highness remarked that many perceive cultural interests as mere hobbies or fleeting pursuits. Yet, she emphasised that it’s everyone’s responsibility to shift this perspective. Elaborating on the impact of the creative economy, she highlighted that numerous nations rely predominantly on their cultural sectors to bolster their economies, adding that Dubai’s strategy for the creative economy took root from HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s vision to position Dubai as a global hub for culture that attracts talents and equips them with the resources to fulfil this ambition.

When the moderator enquired about the media’s contribution to promoting culture, especially considering the comprehensive representation of all media sections at the AMF, HH Sheikha Latifa responded by emphasising the symbiotic relationship between media and culture. She stated: “The media plays an indispensable role in championing culture. We must produce compelling content that proudly showcases our distinct identity and heritage to the world, and this endeavour greatly hinges on the media’s support.”

Her Highness revealed that she observed a notable absence of robust content promoting the Arabic identity among the younger generation, who are poised to shape the future. She observed that most of the content accessible to the Arab youth is predominantly Arabic adaptations of western content, and underpinned the imperative role of Arab media in vigorously championing and furthering Arab identity.

When questioned about leveraging technology in media to enhance Arab identity, HH Sheikha Latifa responded that in today’s interconnected world, the media should fully harness technological innovations, especially artificial intelligence, to propel the cultural dialogue forward. She also highlighted the significant potential of social media as an invaluable tool in this endeavour to craft compelling and enriched content that not only mirrors but also imparts our culture and values to the younger generations and the global audience, all the while maintaining fidelity to our origins.

Addressing the rapid rise of AI, HH Sheikha Latifa aimed to calm the apprehensions of those in the media who were daunted by the swift advances in technology. She minimised the perceived risks associated with AI, highlighting that it was human intellect and creativity that birthed artificial intelligence. She also noted that AI relies on human input to yield the best results. She remarked that while jobs and technology continuously evolve, viewing this progression positively is essential, as it can pave the way for heightened creativity.

Speaking about social media and globalisation and its effect on national identity, HH Sheikha Latifa remarked: “We have ventured into space while retaining our national identity… we need to use new tools like social media and all the new technology available to us to produce attractive and rich content that reflects and shares our culture and values with the new generation and the world, while staying true to our roots.”

Emphasising the significance of nurturing the next generation, HH Sheikha Latifa stressed the importance of fostering a conducive creative environment. Whether through cutting-edge technology in e-games, video or film, she believes it’s crucial to pave the way for a creatively driven future.

Concluding the session, HH Sheikha Latifa imparted these words of encouragement to gifted and creative individuals present: "Have faith in your abilities and your unique talent. Know that we stand beside you, and it is our responsibility to foster an environment where you can flourish."