This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
(Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered)
Your Excellency Dominic Jermey,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The shared history between the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates dates back centuries - from the time of the Silk Road, to the era of pearl fishing and, of course, the age of oil. History has shown that where there is commerce there is a more profound trade – the exchange of culture and ideas.
You all know about my love for the arts - the creativity, the innovation, the power and the magic that it yields. It was this profound belief that led to me to seek the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Nahyan and establish the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation.
From that seed of an idea came not only the notion of presenting world-class arts to the audiences of the UAE; but also of taking the culture and creativity of the UAE to the world.
Year upon year, our collaboration with the UK has flourished; bringing the very best of British art, drama, music and literature here to the UAE. In 2012, we commemorated this unbreakable bond of friendship by celebrating the UK as the Abu Dhabi Festival Country Honour. In 2013, we brought the richness and diversity of Emirati visual art to British audiences in the first group exhibition of its kind. And in the years to come, we shall have an ambitious programme – hand-in-hand with the British Council - that shall inspire Emiratis to pursue their ambitions and realize their dreams in Abu Dhabi’s new cultural industry…. in the Cultural Excellence Fellowship.
Allow me to thank those who have contributed to the success of the Foundation over the last 18 years:
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nayhan for his vision and inspiration;
The Patron & President of ADMAF, HE Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan for his enduring support and guidance;
ADMAF Honourable Patrons, Their Royal Highnesses Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan and Sheikha Sheikha bint Saif, who have played a vital role in the ongoing success of the Foundation;
To all ADMAF Advisors;
To all ADMAF team, both past and present;
And to my family - in particular, my husband Mohamed Kanoo who has stood by my side every step of the way. He has been my rock through good times and many, many, many bad!
When two nations share a history and partake of each other’s cultures – they whisper to each other’s souls.
I would like to whisper my heartfelt thanks to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for bestowing upon me the Order of the British Empire.