A FUSION OF CULTURE AND TECHNOLOGY

Abu Dhabi 2019 | CULTURE & TOURISM | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, on the Creative Industries Contributions Index, bridging the AI-culture divide, and adopting a systems leadership approach moving forward.

Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi
BIOGRAPHY
Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi was appointed as the UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development in October 2017. As Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, she is responsible for the promotion of all UAE cultural fields on both a national and international level. She also sponsors and supports activities to develop and nurture young talent within the community. She previously held the post of Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs. She also holds the position of Chairwoman of the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi (MZA) and twofour54, the home of media and entertainment in Abu Dhabi. She holds a BA in MIS from UAE University and has also completed the Executive Leadership Programme from London Business School.

What are the key priorities for the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development for the current year, and how do they align with UAE Vision 2021?

Under the direction of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, 2018 will see the launch of the UAE Cultural Development Fund to support cultural activities within the country and encourage projects aimed at promoting the development of the UAE's cultural products. Sheikh Mohammed has also directed the launch of a “Creative Industries Contributions Index," which will assess the economic returns of cultural activities in the UAE and highlight the cultural sector's contributions to the country's continued development. In line with these and UAE Vision 2021, we are currently underway with the development of the National Cultural agenda for 2030, in addition to the development of a comprehensive cultural resource mapping initiative in a bid to cement the UAE's standing as an incubator for cultural contribution. Our main objectives at the Ministry are to reinvigorate and evolve the cultural sector of the UAE in an effort to disrupt and grow the creative industries and cultivate and support creative talent, especially among our youth. We aspire to have a strong impact in the cultural realm not just for our youth and country, but for the region as a whole, bringing to the world the best of what the UAE has to offer.

What is the significance of the Year of Zayed for the cultural ecosystem of the UAE and what are the main learning points one can apply today?

The UAE's cultural ecosystem thrives today due to the vision of our founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who once said “Science and culture are the cornerstones of civilization, progress, and nation building." The Year of Zayed represents an opportunity for us to preserve our distinctive national identity while also contributing to our ever-expanding cultural landscape by embracing the values that the late Sheikh Zayed held in such high regard, including tolerance, respect, openness, and unity. It is thanks to these tenets that the UAE has been able to embrace world renowned cultural institutions and creative events across the UAE including the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Dubai International Film Festival, and the Sharjah Art Biennial. Our mission is to continue fostering an environment that values culture, exchange, and creativity. To do so, we must follow in the footsteps of the late Sheikh Zayed and celebrate the cultural diversity that this united nation stands for.

What will be the major challenges and opportunities that digitalization brings to entities in promoting knowledge development?

As the UAE moves toward a future of AI-driven creativity and culture, the ways in which we produce and consume will be transformed. By supporting an AI-driven creative economy in line with its Centennial Plan 2071, the UAE is set to become a global leader in the future of AI. The role of the ministry is to enable, facilitate, and empower a creative ecosystem through partnerships between the UAE government, the private sector, and creatives to ensure that everyone can be a part of this progress. Although AI may disrupt some jobs, it will also impact job creation. Experts believe that by 2020, AI will become a positive net job motivator, creating over 2.3 million jobs worldwide. Embracing this change will enable us to establish government-driven incentives and regulation that signal long-term commitment to bridge the AI-culture divide and provide start-ups with incentives for developing AI-driven products and programs. Building the ecosystem to support this large paradigm shift requires the collaboration of all sectors as well as a “systems leadership" approach to ensure technology develops alongside the cultural norms needed to guide it. A strong regulatory framework based on shared values of ethics and inclusivity is necessary to ensure that the next technological wave lifts everyone with it, and builds strong, happy, and successful generations for decades to come.