Besides preserving Bahrain’s cultural identity, the Minister of Culture is also very committed to preserving Arab cultural identity and she has played a prominent role in turning Bahrain into a regional centre of Arab cultural preservation.
Thanks to her efforts, in 2012, the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage was opened in Manama. The centre supports the Paris-based UNESCO World Heritage Centre’s efforts to promote the World Heritage Convention in the Arab region, consolidate Arab efforts in conserving natural and cultural heritage, and provide support for world heritage sites in Arab countries.
Further cementing Bahrain’s position as a hub of Asian and Arab culture and cultural preservation were Manama’s nominations to be the Capital of Arab Culture in 2012, the Capital of Arab Tourism in 2013, and the first Capital of Asian Tourism this year.
As the Capital of Asian Tourism, a variety of exhibitions, fairs and festivals will be held over the course of 2014 – including the launch of an all-new annual film festival to be held at the Manama Cultural Hall. Bahrain’s embassies around the world will also be tasked with promoting Manama and the country as a premier tourist destination by hosting a series of arts and cultural events.
“We have a very full schedule of differing and varied events planned here in Bahrain and elsewhere,” Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said. “This is an honour for us to have Manama become the first Capital of Asian Tourism and I feel positive and confident that it will follow on from the success of the Arab Capital of Culture events held in 2012.”
Manama will showcase the amazingly wonderful diversity of the Asian continent through culture and art. As Asia’s preeminent tourism destination this year, Manama will be a home for one and all, creating bridges, opening opportunities, and bringing the people and civilisations of this continent of Asia together along the way.
“Next year will be the Heritage Year,” says the Minister of Culture Sheikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa. “We try to find a theme each year and it happened by chance that 2012 was the Cultural Year, then 2013 was the Year of Tourism, and this year is the Year of Art and the Capital of Asian Tourism. Next year will be the Year of Heritage. We have created a name, which in Arabic sounds very appealing: ‘Our heritage is our wealth’. It means that you can be rich through your heritage. Also we always say: ‘Tourism for more enrichment.’”