Media Centre

Press release

The French Minister of Culture, H.E Frederic Mitterand, awarded H.E Mrs. Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation with the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters award.

Mrs. hoda kanoo receiving the french award 1st Jun 2010

The French Minister of Culture awards Hoda Al Khamis Kanoo and praises cultural developments in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 1 June 2010: The French Minister of Culture, H.E Frederic Mitterand, awarded H.E Mrs. Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation with the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters award, in the presence of H.E. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, patron and president of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and HE Alain Azouaou, Ambassador of France to the UAE, media and distinguished guests, at a ceremony held on Monday May 31st, 2010 at the residence of the French Ambassador in Abu Dhabi.

H.E Frederic Mitterand, Said:

“Yesterday I honoured His Excellency Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, present here today. He has been the main driver of the plans for the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum assisted by Mrs. Rita Aoun who is helping him realise this important project. Today I would like to honour the person who has worked in an exemplary manner to enable the cultural life in Abu Dhabi to prosper. Whose efforts  have ensured the overall success of Louvre Abu Dhabi and other museum projects on Saadiyat Island. For they will not exist in isolation but will be at the heart of a network of cultural activities.”

Addressing H.E. Mrs. Hoda Al Khamis Kanoo, he said:

“You are an “excellent citizen of the world of culture," at the same time rooted in the land and its cultures. You were born in a multicultural country, Lebanon, to a Saudi father and a Syrian mother; and you are married to a Bahraini businessman. Cultural diversity for you is more than just a wish, it is a part of your life.

“I believe that the French language lives in your heart and nourishes it. I’m so pleased to mention here my dear Hoda Kanoo that you pursued part of your studies in France at the Department of French Literature at the American University in Paris. This allowed you to develop close ties with our language and culture. In 2008 you organized a number of initiatives during the Francophone Week, with the invitation of Mr. Abdou Diouf, including an exhibition about the life and work of the great poet Leopold Sedar Senghor. At a time when we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the independence of Francophone African countries, this participation in a Francophone initiative is dear to our hearts.”

His Excellency also stressed that  love for culture knows no borders and that Mrs. Kanoo has relentlessly worked on all cultural fronts: from the Administrative Committee of the French Association to the Union of UAE Writers, Abu Dhabi Authority for Cultural and Heritage as well as the First World Forum on Music organized by UNESCO, which she contributed to. He praised the role of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and its annual Festival, which has become a leading international arts event, and Mrs. Kanoo’s efforts in helping to set the stage for an environment of sustainable cultural development in which the Louvre Abu Dhabi will flourish.

He concluded saying:

“To honour all your efforts for the benefit of culture and in the service of cultural dialogue, and on behalf of the French Republic, I am pleased to honour you with the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters.”

H.E Mrs. Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, said:

“On behalf of ADMAF, I humbly accept this award. A recognition that gives strength to all those who are committed to building bridges of cultural understanding between nations. This award gives hope to all those dedicated to sharing our values and visions, beliefs and traditions and celebrating cultural diversity with the rest of the world.

I wish to thank His Excellency Sheikh Nayan Mubarak Al Nahyan, President & Patron of ADMAF, ADMAF Advisors, and my family whose unwavering support has enabled me to fulfill my duties - to preserve and protect cultural expression; free creative thinking; and serve society.

I am privileged to live in Abu Dhabi under the leadership of a government that has taken the values of respect, tolerance, and mutual understanding as its identity. I am honoured to live by the legacy of Sheikh Zayed, Father of the Nation, where every day I learn to carry out my work with modesty, sincerity and humility.