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Press release

In celebration of enhanced UAE and UK cultural ties, the British Council and ADMAF launch entrepreneurial programme for Emiratis

Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo - ADMAF Founder and Dominic Jermey - British Ambassador to the UAE 17th Dec 2013

Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo Awarded The Order Of The British Empire (OBE)



In recognition of her distinguished services to the arts, particularly pertaining to the cultural exchange between the UAE and the UK, Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, has been awarded an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire), one of the most prestigious awards that can be bestowed upon a non-UK citizen by the Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Presented by H.E. Dominic Jermey, the United Kingdom’s Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, this prestigious honour acknowledges Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo’s unrelenting efforts to utilise the power of the arts as a conduit for deeper cultural ties between these two great nations.


Upon receiving the award, Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, said: “The shared history between the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates dates back centuries. From the time of the Silk Road, to the era of pearl fishing and, of course, the age of oil, history has shown that where there is commerce there is a more profound trade – the exchange of culture and ideas.

“Since the foundation of ADMAF we have aspired to nourish the cultural exchange between the UAE and the UK, as such dialogue allows our nations to breathe life into mutual cultural understanding, and thus deepen our ties beyond commerce.”


“I would like to give my heartfelt thanks for bestowing upon me the Order of the British Empire. May we continue the exchange of culture and ideas for centuries to come.”


“I look forward to further deepening the bilateral bond through the forthcoming collaboration with the British Council. The Cultural Excellence Fellowship is an ambitious new chapter in ADMAF’s relations with this prestigious institution. Together, we will seek to develop the competencies of Emiratis in the creative and cultural industries.”


H.E. Dominic Jermey, the UK’s Ambassador to the UAE, said: “I congratulate Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo with all my heart. This is a great honour from HM The Queen and reflects the enormous contribution to the deepening friendship between the UK and UAE, which Mrs Al Khamis-Kanoo has fostered in the field of culture and the arts.


I also welcome the launch of the entrepreneurial programme by ADMAF and the British Council. This gives clear recognition of the growing cultural ties between the UAE and the UK. I believe this will foster entrepreneurialism amongst Emirati youth and support those who want to pursue a career in the creative and cultural industries.”


Since ADMAF’s inception in 1996, it has embedded international best practices among audiences, practitioners and stakeholders across the United Arab Emirates, in partnership with a number of key British cultural organisations and performers. Notably, ADMAF has signed strategic partnerships with the British Council, the Royal Opera House, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Manchester International Festival and the School of Oriental & African Studies at the University of London. Through the Abu Dhabi Festival, established in 2004, Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo has also enabled UAE audiences to appreciate an array of UK performances including the English National Ballet, the London Symphony Orchestra, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Royal Opera House, and Bryn Terfel to name just a few.


In celebration of growing cultural ties between the UAE and the UK, and the acknowledgement of Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo’s efforts towards this endeavour, ADMAF and the British Council have launched a unique programme that seeks to foster the entrepreneurialism of Emirati youth and their pursuit of careers within the creative and cultural industries. The Cultural Excellence Fellowship programme is seen as a long-term initiative to develop a significant contribution to the shaping of the cultural scene in 2030. Focussing on a ‘Cultural Pioneers Circle’ for the UAE’s best and brightest as well as a ‘Cultural Proteges Circle’ that will nourish creative innovation among emerging Emirati talents, this initiative will work on a two-year structure. 


With the help of international strategic partners including those in the UK, ADMAF today reaches 40,000 people across the UAE with ground-breaking initiatives that support civil society and meaningful programmes that are broadening the ambitions and skills of Emirati youth.