Abu Dhabi announces a virtual GCC Heritage and Oral History Conference for 2020

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has announced the eighth GCC Heritage and Oral History Conference will take place virtually on 22 September 2020, under the theme ‘History of Pandemics in the Arabian Peninsula’. The event will be livestreamed on the Abu Dhabi Culture YouTube channel.

The annual Conference aims to safeguard the shared heritage of the GCC region by convening experts and scholars who have played a major role in researching, documenting and preserving its history. With its very timely theme, this year’s event seeks to shed light on the experience of the UAE and its GCC neighbours in overcoming the social, economic and psychological challenges of historic pandemics.

The virtual Conference will attract a diverse group of academics, researchers and scholars from GCC universities and associations involved in the fields of oral heritage, medical care, history, and social sciences. Opening with an address from DCT Abu Dhabi Chairman, H.E. Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, participants include H.E. Mattar Saeed Al Nuaimi, Director of the Emergency and Crisis Management Division at the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi;  Dr. Yousef Al Hassan, an Emirati author, intellectual and former diplomat; Dr. Ahmad Issa Al Hilali, an Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Criticism in the Arabic Language Department, College of Arts at Taif University, Saudi Arabia; Dr. Hassan Ashkanani, an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology, and General Supervisor of the Anthropology and Archaeology Museum and Laboratory at the Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology, College of Social Sciences, Kuwait University; Dr. Hamad Ibrahim Abdullah, an Assistant Professor of Modern and Contemporary History in the Social Sciences Department, College of Arts, University of Bahrain; and Prof. Dr. Saeed Al Hashmi, an Associate Professor in the History Department of Sultan Qaboos University, Oman, as well as the Assistant Dean of the institution’s Postgraduate Studies and Scientific Research College.

The 2020 GCC Heritage and Oral History Conference will be livestreamed starting from 11am on Tuesday 22 September, and can be accessed via the Abu Dhabi Culture YouTube channel.

“Now in its eighth edition, the GCC Heritage and Oral History Conference remains a strong and innovative platform which has contributed greatly to establishing Abu Dhabi as a hub for the preservation and promotion of oral history,” said H.E. Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi. “Given the achievements of our neighboring GCC countries, their participation in this conference is pivotal, and aligns with our aim to unify our nations’ visions and highlight the importance of safeguarding our rich culture and history for the benefit of future generations. Our shared heritage is key in fostering unity across the Gulf, mobilising our strengths to build on our shared aspirations for prosperity, development and a brighter future.”

Saeed Hamad Al-Kaabi, Intangible Heritage Director at DCT Abu Dhabi said “We cannot progress without taking heed of lessons from the past. The GCC Heritage and Oral History Conference is a vital force for the preservation and dissemination of knowledge from sources that are often ignored or lost. This year’s theme could not be timelier, and as we examine regional responses to historic pandemics it is our hope that we may glean some of the wisdom and lessons learned by our ancestors for use in our current situation.”

The 2020 GCC Heritage and Oral History Conference is the latest in the series launched in 2012 and held annually by DCT Abu Dhabi to create a common vision for GCC countries, drawing on the UAE leadership’s role in safeguarding heritage and regional identity.

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