UAE showcases its culture: National Mall in the US to turn into Emirati majlis

Visitors to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival will experience the country's traditions and hospitality



by

Waheed Abbas

Published: Wed 15 Jun 2022, 8:09 PM

The UAE will showcase its remarkable story and heritage to millions of people from across the globe at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2022 in the US this month.

Launched in 1967, the Festival is an international exhibition of living cultural heritage presented annually in the summer in Washington, DC. This year’s edition, Living Landscape | Living Memory, will be held from June 22 to 27 and June 30 to July 4 at the National Mall, Washington DC, and will feature the UAE.

Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the US, said since the first Folklife Festival in 1967, the event has honoured global cultural traditions and celebrates those who practice and sustain them.

He said the Festival has become internationally-renowned for introducing millions of visitors to places near and far. To date, the festival has featured participants from all 50 states and over 100 countries.

“This summer, we have an excellent opportunity to share the remarkable story of the UAE, its heritage and more importantly its people. For the first time ever, a nationally-recognised event in the US will offer Americans and international visitors a chance to learn about the UAE and its multicultural landscape and history."

“The 2022 festival theme is UAE – Living Landscape l Living Memory. These two primary pillars will introduce festival attendees to arts, poetry, cuisine and other cultural traditions that have made the UAE an inclusive, modern and pioneer nation in just 50 years,” added Al Otaiba.

Majlis in Washington DC

To showcase the UAE’s culture and heritage, the National Mall in Washington DC will transform into a majlis, which is a key traditional space dedicated to community discussion and hospitality.

Visitors to the Festival will experience the UAE’s culinary demonstrations, poetry and spoken-word sessions, musical performances, discussions and storytelling, films, workshops, and more. Special activities for children and families have also been planned to spark curiosity, creativity, and joy.

At the Festival, visitors can take part in a creative dive into family photographs — glimpsing snapshots of UAE history. There will also be an interactive digital majlis to explore the past, present, and future of this distinctive social practice of gathering to exchange views. Visitors will be treated with Emirati coffee, which is synonymous with generosity, and learn the people's ways of hospitality.

In addition, festival kitchen demonstrations will include barbecue as a product of both American and Arab traditions and Emirati home cooking characterised by rich spices and generous presentations.

Through performances of music and poetry, visitors will experience the deep roots of these art forms as well as their contemporary expressions and global rhythms, reflecting linguistic and cultural diversity.

Visitors can also try their hand at crafts like weaving, ceramics and more, and learn how these traditional crafts are being revitalized through contemporary approaches.

The UAE ambassador to the US Al Otaiba said gifted and dedicated individuals will represent the country at the Festival.

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