General Shaikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defence, inaugurated the first Emirates Cultural Festival and said that the country has witnessed great achievements at the cultural level.

By Nihal Kamel

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Published: Wed 7 Apr 2004, 2:29 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:31 AM

He said that the festival would highlight the success story of the Emirates in all fields. In turn this would reflect on the image of the country, which will be enhanced across the world. Besides, it would also create a common platform for interaction of thoughts and ideas of people from different cultures including from Arab countries.

What follows are the opinions of a cross section of actors and other important personalities who are part of the festival.

Rashid Ali, singer

I just want to say that singing in the Gulf has taken its meaning from our society. Gulf music has been an exchange from people to people. It is an expression of the wishes, dreams and hopes of our nations. My favourite singer is Ali Broga.

All the new songs in my forthcoming album are based on the old melodies, which is part of our heritage. Some tunes have been changed but that's all. This festival is very important to me because it allows me to know everything about our heritage and also about what's current in the cultural movement in the Arab world.

Zahi Wahaba, presenter and writer

You have to fight to achieve your dreams. When we talk about arts and culture in the Gulf, it has to reflect everything - our thoughts, our lives, dreams, etc. With the success of the festival we will get to see lots of great drama and good cinema. Many thanks to Dubai.

Ibrahem Gumaa, musician

Every culture has beautiful music. The Gulf's music is also very beautiful, something all of us should be proud of. I'm proud of the high levels of excellence achieved by the festival and the organisation that went into it.

Yossra, actress

I love singing. Singing cannot be described. Songs from the Gulf are very nice because most of the lyrics are full of meaning and there's poetry in it. That gives more satisfaction. I can imagine about the talent and credibility in the songs from the Gulf. That's very important for an actor to achieve success.

Yehya Alfakhrany, actor

Look, the Emirates means a lot to me. It's a really advanced country. I'm happy to see the greenery all around. The concept of the role of King Lyer is very important. It attempts to highlight the feelings of human beings and the festival has given ample opportunity for the message to go across to the audiences.

Samira Ahmed, actress

I'm happy as I'm local actress. I love acting. I think this event is the first real step taken in the Emirates to create and improve arts in the Gulf. We really need to improve.

Ahmed Alsaqha, actor

I'm so happy that the event is taking place here. It gave me a chance to meet my fans, especially those in Dubai, from so many countries. It is almost as if I have travelled to many countries even though I'm in one place.

Reham Abd Algafour, actress

I'm very happy. Dubai is such a nice city and I love my fans. I hope the festival would achieve a lot.

Ayda Abd Alazyz, actress

Success is achieved on the spur of the moment. It comes after painstaking and tremendous efforts. Every society has the responsibility to achieve the most in singing, drama, theatre, and cinema. All these factors become the metre on whether a society is advancing or not. I think this festival will help us discover the Gulf, and the abilities of the Arabs.

Saussan Bader, actress

Really, Dubai is a beautiful city. I'm sure after this event we would be encouraged to take some serious steps at the cultural level because cultural and arts are the two faces of the same coin, both trying to draw the most out of the human being.

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