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Memorandum of Understanding also signed between prestigious Edinburgh International Festival and Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation

Edinburgh International Festival & Culture Summit 2nd Sep 2012

Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation Founder becomes first Arab woman to address Edinburgh International Culture Summit

Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) and Abu Dhabi Festival Founder H.E. Hoda Al Khamis Kanoo today became the first Arab woman to speak at the plenary session of the Edinburgh International Culture Summit.
The unprecedented two-day event, which took place at the iconic Scottish Parliament buildings and brought together culture ministers with prominent artists, thinkers and others to discuss  the use and value of culture to encourage dialogue among nations.
Other delegates include Androulla Vassiliou, Member of the European Commission for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth; Martin Davidson CMG, Chief Executive, British Council; Rt Hon Lord Smith of Finsbury, UK Culture Secretary 1997-2001, currently Chairman of the Environment Agency; Ruth Mackenzie OBE, Director of the London 2012 Festival and the Cultural Olympiad; and Lord Hall of Birkenhead, Chief Executive, the Royal Opera House (another ADMAF partner).
During her keynote speech addressing the issues of sustaining public and private sector support for culture Mrs Kanoo highlighted her own experience of garnering  support for the arts. “I was fortunate to build trust with the government, the private sector, the educators and the community. This extended locally, throughout the country, the region and now internationally.”
Adding, “The most important message from the government was to invest in education. This was the legacy of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the United Arab Emirates The Land of Blessings, or ‘Bilad Al Khayr’ as we call it. A country founded upon tolerance, respect and understanding. I embraced that, and slowly built upon it, by investing in the young, nurturing talent, and creating opportunities.”
During the visit, a MoU was also signed between ADMAF and Edinburgh International Festival. Founded in 1947, Edinburgh International Festival – whose patron is HM Queen Elizabeth II - is one of the most renowned and respected festivals in the world. The ceremony took place in the historic City Chambers, located on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, in the presence of The Rt Hon Donald Wilson, Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh. He is the Chair of the Edinburgh International Festival Society.
Jonathan Mills
signed the agreement on behalf of the Edinburgh International Festival and Her Excellency Mrs Hoda Al Khamis Kanoo is the signatory for the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation.
The ratification of this MoU now brings the total number of ADMAF’s international strategic cultural partners to 14, with which ADMAF collaborates on initiatives involving the commissioning of new works; education & vocational development; audience development and cross marketing.
Festival Directors Jonathan Mills and Her Excellency  Hoda Al Khamis Kanoo have been working to develop links between the two organisations, the first outcomes of which realise themselves  through the signing of the MOU and the visit of a delegation from Abu Dhabi who will study the Edinburgh International Festival’s workings this year.
Other areas of common interest covered by the Memorandum include identifying opportunities to promote artistic co-operation and collaboration as well as sharing knowledge about audience development and the role of arts education.
There will be an on-going exchange of personnel and information to foster greater understanding of each other’s work in all aspects of cultural and artistic development, and a commitment to facilitating liaison and participation of third parties including local and international cultural and governmental bodies.
Following the signing of the MoU Mrs Kanoo said,
‘The Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation is committed to its goal of connecting cultures from around the world and partnerships with exceptional and energetic institutions such as the Edinburgh International Festival are vital to realizing these goals. Our shared belief in art and music as keystones of modern society means we can learn from each other and in doing so, lay the foundations for all future cultural endeavours.’
Festival Director Jonathan Mills said
‘Working with internationally aware, interested and engaged cultural organisations around the world is both rewarding and highly valuable to the Festival. After many inspiring conversations with Mrs Kanoo, founder of the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation I am delighted that we signing an agreement to further collaborate, learn from each other and benefit both our organisations and countries through a deeper relationship.’
Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Donald Wilson
said, 'The signing of this agreement today marks an exciting time in the history of the world renowned Edinburgh International Festival and, in conjunction with the link established in 2011 by the Edinburgh International Science Festival and the Abu Dhabi Science Festival, will help bring the great cities of Edinburgh and Abu Dhabi even further closer together.'