Complex Made Simple

ADMAF & British Council’s CEF programme commences

The Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) and the British Council’s joint Cultural Excellence Fellowship (CEF) programme in association with Mubadala has officially commenced.

Meeting their expert trainers for the first time, the group of 20 young Emiratis and 12 UAE-based professionals have begun a two-year cultural programme that seeks to inspire the next generation of UAE creative entrepreneurs and cultural leaders. The programme is seen as a long-term initiative and hopes to make a significant contribution to the shaping of the cultural and creative industries towards 2030.

The first of its kind in the UAE, the Cultural Excellence Fellowship programme has been developed based upon the findings of a needs assessment of the UAE’s cultural and creative industries. The resulting skills development and mentorship programme is co-owned and co-designed by The British Council and ADMAF as part of a strategic partnership that was signed by both parties in 2012. The programme seeks to bring together young Emirati ‘protégés’, UAE-based professional ‘pioneers’ and regional as well as British cultural experts to share skills, knowledge and experience through mentoring, cross-discipline exchange and workshops.

The group of Emirati ‘protégés’ consists of talented undergraduates and exceptional young creatives who have established a profile beyond the academic environment through activities in the cultural sector. Participants will each be allocated a mentor from a distinguished pool of ‘Pioneers’ including Hetal Pawani, CEO and Founder of thejamjar, Dubai; Salem Al Qassimi, Founder of Fikra Design Studio, Sharjah,; and Mohammed Al Otaiba, Editor-in-Chief of The National newspaper, Abu Dhabi. These ‘Pioneers’ will become ambassadors for the programme and receive regular invitations to key events and initiatives by the British Council and ADMAF. Therefore, the programme aims to develop a successful structured mentorship framework that will advance individuals in their professional careers, while establishing an important network of creative experts across the UAE.

Discussing the programme, H.E. Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, said: “This is an ambitious new chapter in ADMAF’s relationship with the British Council, a valued strategic partner. The Cultural Excellence Fellowship is a long-term initiative that seeks to make a significant contribution to the shaping of the country’s cultural scene. I believe the programme will foster entrepreneurialism among Emirati youth as well as elevate the creativity of the UAE, nationally and internationally.”

Marc Jessel, Country Director, British Council-UAE, said, “We have been promoting cultural relations between the UK and UAE for the last 46 years. Our aim has always been to bring the UK and the UAE closer together through the arts and to develop the creative economy in the UAE through capacity building initiatives. We value our partnership with ADMAF and believe we can achieve a lot by sharing our collective experience. Through the Cultural Excellence Fellowship programme in partnership with ADMAF we hope to bring together the best of the emerging talent of the Emirati cultural and creative industries, with established cultural leaders from the UK, the UAE and beyond to make a contribution to the fast evolving UAE cultural sector.”

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.