His Excellency Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) and Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), which manages the ADTA’s tourism assets, has received the ‘Cultural Leadership’ award from the American Federation of Arts (AFA).
Sheikh Sultan was presented with the award, which recognised his role in developing the Cultural District of Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island, at a gala reception at the city’s Metropolitan Club.
Receiving the award, Sheikh Sultan told guests: “While I personally place great value on this award – and wish to express my appreciation for it – the real credit goes to the leaders of Abu Dhabi, Their Highnesses Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President and Abu Dhabi ruler, and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.”
“These two statesmen created the vision of the Cultural District and identified its role in the evolution of Abu Dhabi into a stately, global capital. This accolade then is an award for Abu Dhabi and the UAE as a whole, rather than a personal endorsement.
“In selecting Abu Dhabi for this singular honour, the Federation has recognised the ability of Saadiyat Island’s Cultural District to enrich the international community – a recognition which resonates strongly with the overall intent behind the creation of the district.” added Sheikh Sultan.
The annual ‘Cultural Leadership’ award is granted by the AFA to those it deems as having demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to support art and museums within the USA and internationally. Sheikh Sultan, who also chairs the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage and is a member of the Executive Council for Abu Dhabi emirate, joins a prestigious AFA honours roll which includes celebrated American publisher and philanthropist Henry Luce II, a keen supporter of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
“Saadiyat Island will enrich the international community by establishing a new world capital for culture and education,” said Thomas Freudenheim, President AFA.
The AFA serves hundred of museum members and Sheikh Sultan used the awards ceremony to urge their co-operation in the transformation of Abu Dhabi into a global cultural distention.
“We would like to continue this relationship going forward,” he told AFA members.
“We in Abu Dhabi would be more than happy to develop and strengthen the ties with the Federation and its members. You can have a role in developing an emerging cultural market and one which, we strongly believe, will greatly impact the global cultural landscape.”
The AFA awards ceremony was held during Sheikh Sultan’s visit to New York when a framework agreement was concluded for the operation of the planned Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. Sheikh Sultan was accompanied by an official delegation from the UAE capital.
Saadiyat Island’s Cultural District will be home to the largest single cluster of world-class cultural assets including the Sheikh Zayed National Museum, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi modern and contemporary art museum, the Louvre Abu Dhabi universal museum, a maritime museum and a performing arts centre. The cultural appeal of Saadiyat Island was instrumental in the multi-faceted destination recently being ranked by the Wall Street Journal as one of the world’s most up-and-coming ‘trendy’ destinations.
Abu Dhabi commissioned some of the world’s most eminent architects for the concept designs of its Cultural District assets including Frank Gehry for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, and Jean Nouvel for the Louvre Abu Dhabi. An international design competition is currently running to source an iconic concept for the Sheikh Zayed National Museum.
The AFA also bestowed its Cultural Leadership Award on Thomas Krens, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, which Abu Dhabi has partnered to conceptualise and manage the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, and Frank Gehry.
The Gehry concept for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, which at 450,000 square feet will be the world’s largest Guggenheim and the only one in the Middle East, and designs of the other Saadiyat Island Cultural District assets are currently on display in a special, free-to-attend exhibition at Emirates Palace Hotel in the UAE capital.
About Tourism Development & Investment Company:
Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) is a public joint stock company established under Law No: 12 of 2005 as decreed by the Abu Dhabi Ruler and UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. TDIC is an independent organisation empowered to manage the tourism investment zones of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), which directs and implements strategy for the expansion of the emirate's tourism sector. TDIC will develop the real estate assets that support ADTA's mission of assisting UAE economic diversification through tourism development.
TDIC, launched with an initial paid-up capital of AED100 million (US $27.5 million) with its shareholding fully owned by ADTA, operates along strictly commercial lines with its projects being self-sustaining and economically feasible. Its activities include creating development and tourism related concepts for specific sites and locations, disposing of, or repositioning, government-owned tourism related assets, entering into joint ventures with investment partners for assets such as hotels or residential products, as well as serving as the master developer for large scale projects.
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