DM seeks more support for heritage campaign

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DM seeks more support for heritage campaign

With just about 2,500 UAE nationals signing up to support the Heritage Fingerprint initiative of the Dubai Municipality (DM), the civic body is intensifying efforts to popularise the initiative aimed at streamlining the language, culture and heritage of the country.

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Published: Fri 31 Aug 2012, 9:20 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 12:07 PM

The Architectural Heritage Department of the municipality had launched the Heritage Fingerprint campaign this year on the World Heritage Day in April.

The campaign is the brainchild of the Director of the Department, Rashad Bukhash, who has chalked out year-long activities to highlight Emirati culture and heritage.

The campaign asks Emiratis to abide by several rules to keep their culture intact, including speaking Arabic without mixing it with other languages, wearing traditional dress, using Emirati architecture when building homes, visiting heritage museums and participating in cultural events such as the National Day. A signature campaign to shore up support for keeping the local culture alive was also launched as part of the initiative that also uses social media platform for spreading the message among the Emirati youth and others.

In July, His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, had signed the initiative.

In order to achieve the objectives of the initiative, the Department has now urged employees and the public to submit their comments and suggestions through the DM website.

Four months after the launch, the initiative has received only about 2,500 signatures from individuals, according to Bukhash. He said the initial target was to collect 50,000 signatures in a month. However, the poor response is making the officials rethink the target, he said.

“We need to get more support and we want to get the ideas from the people to develop our programmes that we are working on,” Bukhash told Khaleej Times on Thursday.

He has urged Emiratis to air their views through the DM website’s feedback/suggestion sections and also through social media. They were also urged to follow the campaign, mainly in Arabic, through Twitter and Facebook.

“We want to include the participation of more youngsters and children also.” He said the initiative aimed to disseminate and promote values, concepts, customs and traditions of the country with the purpose of preserving the national identity, heritage and tradition as well as to spread awareness such as loyalty, pride, leadership, good manners and promote community values.

“It is also aimed at strengthening the Arabic language as well as introducing the areas of heritage and architecture, notably Shindagha area, which includes house of architecture camel and horse, House of Shaikh Saeed, and villages of the Heritage and Diving,’ Rashad said in a press statement. ‘In Bur Dubai, it includes Bastakiya Heritage Area, Dubai Museum, Bait Al Wakeel, Hatta Heritage Area and other areas of heritage,” he said.

The Department has already lined up lectures and other activities for the campaign to run every week till December, he said.

Recently, it had also collaborated with the GIS Department of the Municipality to create a 360 Degree Panorama Project of the historical buildings in Bastakiya area to popularise the sites.

The project involved taking pictures using a device made of synchronised cameras equipped with special lens mounted on a car roof or on a tripod. These images are then stitched together and processed later using special software to form a complete 360 by 180 degree view. Once stitched, the resulting geo-referenced images give the possibility to visit different locations virtually without the need for videotaping or site visiting. The Department plans to popularise the heritage sites through the panorama project as well. —

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