Video: New ‘Andalusia’ initiative to celebrate Arab-Spanish historical ties

As part of the initiative, several cultural activities, including seminars, art exhibitions and musical events will be held in the UAE and Spain


Ashwani Kumar

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Spanish artists perform during the launch of Andalusia: History and Civilisation initiative. — Supplied photo
Spanish artists perform during the launch of Andalusia: History and Civilisation initiative. — Supplied photo

Published: Thu 22 Jun 2023, 9:29 PM

Last updated: Thu 22 Jun 2023, 9:56 PM

An initiative to celebrate the historical ties between the Arab world and Spain will highlight lesser-known aspects from history.

The initiative, launched in Abu Dhabi under the patronage of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice-President, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court, has been titled ‘Andalusia: History and Civilisation’. It explores the Arab influence on Spanish culture, language, architecture, music and cuisine. The initiative will highlight the time of Islamic rule in Al Andalus, a period when Spain became a centre of learning and knowledge.

As part of this initiative, several cultural activities, seminars, art exhibitions and musical events will be held in the UAE and Spain starting from September.

“The historical connection between the Arab world and Spain, specifically Al Andalus, holds significant contemporary meaning and value,” Inigo de Palacio, Ambassador of Spain in the UAE, said during his address at the launch event held at the Emirates Palace.

“We often celebrate Al Andalus as a historical example of peaceful coexistence among Muslims, Christians, and Jews. During this period, individuals from different religious backgrounds lived side by side, contributing to a prosperous multicultural society. The spirit of interfaith harmony and tolerance from Al Andalus can serve as an inspiration and a model for promoting religious dialogue and peaceful coexistence in the contemporary world,” the ambassador noted.

Nahyan Al Nuaimi
Nahyan Al Nuaimi

Organised by the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre and the National Library and Archives, the initiative embodies the UAE’s unwavering belief in the power of open dialogue and cultural exchange.

Showcasing how the UAE respects and embraces other cultures and religions, Nahyan Al Nuaimi, an eight-year-old Emirati student at the Spanish School of Abu Dhabi, welcomed the ambassador and delegates in Spanish language. An amazing live Spanish music and dance was performed by artists giving the select gathering a taste of what to expect in the coming days as part of this initiative.

Mohammed Al Murr speaks during the launch
Mohammed Al Murr speaks during the launch

Mohammed Al Murr, Chairman of the ‘Andalusia: History and Civilisation’ Committee, said: “The launch of this initiative emanates from the UAE’s dedication to the global human heritage, actively engaging in its preservation, restoration, promotion, and worldwide dissemination. This endeavour extends an invitation to the public, encouraging them to explore the various facets and constituents of one of the most remarkable historical eras in the Arab world. It also seeks to introduce the newer generations to the rich legacy of Andalusian civilisation, encompassing its human, cultural, scientific, and societal heritage. Furthermore, it aims to foster and advance the culture of coexistence and tolerance, which forms the bedrock of Andalusian civilisation and remains relevant in the present day.”


Several activities will be held to highlight the Andalusian heritage and its cultural, artistic, and intellectual exploits and to emphasise the shared history of Arabs and Spaniards.

On September 13 and 14, a symposium dedicated to the study of Andalusian culture, literature, and science, featuring experts and scholars from various disciplines will be held in Spain and another one in February 2024, in Abu Dhabi. This November, an exhibition of Andalusian art collections will take place at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre. There will be captivating artistic and musical performances showcasing the rich heritage of Andalusia. Also, important sources of Andalusian heritage across all arts and fields of knowledge will be translated and republished in Arabic.

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