Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Bahrain’s Ministry of Culture – Strategy

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By Sheikha Mai bint Mohammed bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, Minister of Culture and Information of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Bahrain, the harbour of the universe and cultures, engages with people and nations from all corners of the world to share its culture, arts, heritage, literature, history, and theatre. The Ministry of Culture harnesses the influence of culture in many ways; a universal language of dialogue, a basis for honourable humanistic messages, and a conduit to development which respects differences and welcomes diversity. In addition, the Ministry of Culture strives towards developing landmark achievements inspired by its rich local ingredients, and sharing its knowledge and experiences with friendly nations around the world.

To achieve this grand objective, the Ministry of Culture, in coordination with specialised international experts, initiated a multi-facetted and integrated national cultural strategy. This strategy encompasses galvanising the cultural movement in Bahrain, ingratiating local intellectual and knowledge-based assets within national achievements, cultivating active partnerships with the private sector and innovative projects, activating culture and art as a language for communication, dialogue, and understanding with other nations, spearheading cultural and artistic projects, and formulating rules and regulations which support these endeavours. In each of the aforementioned areas, the Ministry of Culture utilises the æsthetic and humanitarian sense, and allows culture the freedom to innovate and experiment.

Anchoring the Ministry of Culture’s vision is its cultural landscape and closely-knit geography which made it a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic port of call for various civilizations, creeds, religions, and intellectual tendencies and experiences. That being the case, it directed its efforts to protecting the national cultural identity and promoting it as a key element which shapes civilizations.

Through various roles and efforts, the Ministry of Culture is seeking to integrate culture in the day-to-day life of the community and unlock its potential to achieve economic, social, and humanitarian development, and project the true image of the Kingdom on the world stage. In addition, the Ministry of Culture endeavours to encourage creative and innovative initiatives in various cultural and artistic pursuits through engagement with thought leaders and innovators to recycle ideas and create dedicated spaces to discover human capacities and involve them in shaping the cultural landscape.ministryofculture_bahrain2_main

As for protecting the national cultural identity and integrating it within the daily lives of people to strengthen their bond with it, the Ministry of Culture is working on a medium-term plan in which citizens interacts with their national cultural identity as an exception to be expressed and respond to, and as a tool for genuine expression of intellectual and social attitudes.

This is accomplished by conducting various cultural programmes, workshops, events and discussions which engage with all strata of society, essentially making culture a communal creative space which fosters those collective experiences and aspirations and enables them to breathe and innovate.

The Ministry of Culture also continuously supports cultural and artistic initiatives and organisations which contribute to building the community and culture, including full-time writers, artists, and authors, as well as cultural awards, industries, symposia, and conferences, promising artistic talents, and artistic pioneers. Its support also extends to cultural activities at the grassroots community level and participation in artistic and cultural events at the local, regional, and global level, and planning for cultural development in key areas such as theatre, music, fine arts, and folk arts. In conjunction, the Ministry of Culture organises extended annual events which highlight various cultural, intellectual, and artistic pursuits and facilitate intercultural dialogue.

In parallel, the Ministry of Culture’s strategy also focuses on the development of a solid cultural infrastructure. A key element within this area is cultural urbanisation, which serves as a genuine creative laboratory for intellectual and civilisational pursuits and operations. Hence, the Ministry of Culture actively works to erect flagship projects such as theatres and museums, renovating and operating cultural monuments and landmarks for cultural and tourism purposes, building centers, organising temporary and permanent museum exhibitions, supporting cultural activities within the civil and private sectors, and fostering the movements emanating from cultural houses, projects, and coffee houses.Bahrain Culture 1

Undoubtedly, many of these plans can only be achieved through real partnerships with the private sector and major investment projects. For this purpose, the Ministry of Culture launched “Invest in Culture”, an initiative which seeks to involve those parties in the formation of the cultural, intellectual, tourism, and civilisational landscape by underwriting cultural urbanisation, museum shows, festivals, and other types of relevant activities.

Moreover, the Ministry of Culture’s mandate extends beyond the country’s geographical footprint, forging memoranda of understanding with friendly nations which bolster cultural and tourism ties, facilitate dialogue, and establish culture as a tool of communication to broaden understanding and cooperation. This, in turn, boosts the cultural movement in Bahrain, and promotes the country on the local, regional, and international stage.

The Ministry of Culture furthermore establishes and maintains a sophisticated cultural environment by inducing technologically-driven paradigm shifts which not only revitalize the cultural field, but also formulate successful and effective solutions which feed into a new connection system. This system, in turn, serves as a catalyst for the two major tasks of inclusive development, which are: accelerate development at the speed of the amount of knowledge generated by culture, and create more investment opportunities in culture.

The National Technology Strategy adopted by the government will outline the real role that culture plays in the lives of individuals and the community, and also promote information exchange between all cultural institutions in the country. In parallel, the Ministry of Culture is working within its strategies to modernise its current systems and regulations and add whichever new systems are required.Bahrain Culture 5

The Kingdom of Bahrain did not separate culture from tourism, and hence the Ministry of Culture also put forth the National Tourism Strategy for 2015 – 2018 which revolves around seven essential experiences for tourists in Bahrain, including the Pearling Road, one of the most significant historic evidences of the economic, social, and environmental life in Bahrain, as well as environmental tourism, which involves exploring the various environmental landmarks in Bahrain such as its coastal environment and the unique identity and charm derived from Bahrain being the “Land of a Million Palm Trees”.

The other elements include establishing an infrastructure which enables the country to become a hub for regional cultural tourism of all kinds, such as family, entertainment, sports, conference, exhibition, festival, event, or food tourism.



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