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Sharjah Museums Department Receives Fr�d�ric Mitterrand At Sharjah Museum Of Islamic Civilization

Sharjah Museums Department (SMD) on Saturday received French Minister of Culture His Excellency Frédéric Mitterrand, who was accompanied by a high-level delegation, at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization (SMIC).

The French minister of culture is the cabinet member in charge of the national museums, monuments and promoting and protecting the arts. He was accompanied by a large delegation that included HE French Consul General Jerald Telm and a number of French dignitaries. He was received by His Excellency Abdul Rahman Al Owais, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, Abdullah Al Owais, president of the Department of Culture and Information and Ms. Manal Ataya, Director General of Sharjah Museums Department and the curator of Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization.

The visit is an important step for the French minister to familiarize himself with all the cultural institutions in the UAE and the visit to Sharjah recognizes the longstanding reputation of Sharjah as the cultural capital. As per the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, the emirate has cultivated the culture and arts scene for over 20 years, including the more recent establishment of SMD that manages over 16 museums in Sharjah that cover a variety of disciplines including, contemporary art, heritage, archeology, Islamic art and history, children’s learning, science, calligraphy to name a few. Lead by Ms. Manal Ataya, the DG of SMD, the museums sector has flourished, opening new museums, supporting educational institutions, initiating innovative outreach and community programs and developing new projects as part of its 5 year strategic plan. SMD will organize in 2 years time with other cultural entities exciting programming as the emirate proudly celebrates Sharjah as “Capital of Islamic Culture for 2014”.

The minister and his delegation were taken on a tour of the museums numerous galleries which feature more than 5,000 precious artifacts & collections from all over the Islamic World that date back to various Islamic ages spanning 1,400 years. The collection was gifted by His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah when the museum opened in 2008. He was also given a brief on the educational programs and workshops organized by the Museum with the aim of enhancing learning for all as part of their accessibility initiative. Moreover, he was briefed on the upcoming exhibtion program for the museum which includes the “Owen Jones: Islamic Design, Discovery and Vision” exhibition from the Victoria & Albert Museum, UK opening mid March 2012 at Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization.

Highlighting the importance of the visit, Manal Ataya, SMD Director General, said:" We are honored to welcome the French cultural minister to the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization as it reflects the cultural value and the status the museum occupies on an international level, as well as the importance we place on dialogue and cultural exchange we strive for to raise greater awareness on the richness of islamic thought, art and culture."

The French minister and his delegation expressed their gratitude after the visit as it contributed significantly to enhancing their knowledge about cultural activities in Sharjah and the UAE in general. His Excellency Frédéric Mitterrand, said on the occasion that he specifically asked to visit this museum for the reputation it holds as one of the 3 most important Islamic museum collections in the Gulf Region. He praised the museum and thanked His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi for his generous hospitality and visionary dedication to supporting cultural heritage and the arts.

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