Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated entity for culture, arts and heritage, has announced that the Etihad Museum scooped top honours at The Leading Culture Destinations Awards 2017 in London, where it took home the coveted ‘Best New Museum in the Middle East and Africa’ award and also placed first runner-upin the ‘Best Museum Architecture of the Year’ category.

The prestigious award was received by Dubai Culture, which manages the Etihad Museum’s day-to-day operations, permanent and temporary exhibitions, and educational programmes, and the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA), which was responsible for the design and construction of the museum, during a ceremony that took place on 29th September at the Trafalgar St. James Hotel on London's Trafalgar Square.

Commenting on the achievement, His Excellency Abdul Rahman Al Owais, UAE Minister of Health & Prevention and Chairman of the Board of Directors for Dubai Culture, commented: "I would like to gift this award to His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President,His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and the members of The Supreme Federal Council, as it capturestheir vision for the Etihad Museum to be a national, cultural and tourist landmark in the UAE that educatescitizens, residents and visitors about the political history of the founding of the nation in 1971, and honours the Founding Fathers .”

His Excellency added: "This recognition honours the success the museum has achieved in a short period of time in strengthening its position on the global tourism stage, becoming famed as an important centre for academic exchange among both students and experts, cementing its role as an important reference point for the historical education of future Emirati generations and UAE residents, and acknowledging the legacy of the Founding Fathers."

"This award comes in line Dubai Culture’s efforts to support the implementation of the UAE Soft Power Strategyby enhancing the country's reputation globally to highlight the UAE’s heritage, identity and culture. The award will motivateour team to continue our ambitions of enhancing the rich cultural landscape of Dubai and the UAE in line with the strategic objectives of the Dubai Plan 2021, which aims to enhance the Emirate's position as a city of happy, creative and empowered people."

His Excellency concluded: “I would like to thank His Excellency Mohammed Ahmed Al Mur, Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Etihad Museum, as well as all members of the committee, for their valuable contributions to building this national monument, in addition to our partners at the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), the body responsible for developing the museum project, which is now recognised for its unique design and its inclusion of buildings of great historical value that recall the moment when the union and the firm decision of the Founding Fathers was first announced. Dubai Culture is always committed to developing the museumsector in Dubai and this was a key driver in the establishment of Dubai Museums Company, which will play a pivotal role in leveraging the Emirate’s current and upcoming museums, and in facilitating cultural exchange among the members of Dubai’s dynamic and global society”

His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer, Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directorsof Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), dedicated the award win to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who was the main supporter of the museum’s distinctive architectural design. Since it opened, the museum has become a landmark that documents the success of the Arab world in the modern era and also acts as a cultural centre for citizens and residents. His Excellency Al Tayerhighlighted the importance of honouring the achievements that the Founding Fathers made to unify the Emirates, and of instilling the values of the union in the hearts of citizens and future generations.

His Excellency Al Tayercommented: "Because of its historical importance, the Etihad Museum has received the generous support and patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who also approved the current design of the museum following several design stages. The museum is located underground and connected to the entrance of the Union House and the Guest House, and is surrounded by a historical site that has been restored to its 1971 state.  Seven columns represent the pens used by the Founding Fathers to sign the Union Agreement, and even the waterfront reflects the coastline that existed in that period. All of this gives visitors an evocative glimpse back in time.”

His Excellency Al Tayer congratulated Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors Office at Dubai Culture & Arts Authorityon the prestigious award win, as well as members of the Advisory Council of the Etihad Museum headed by His Excellency Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr, and the RTA and Dubai Culture teams.

The Leading Culture Destinations Awards recognises a new breed of museums, galleries and cultural institutions worldwide via a rigorous selection process conducted by global leaders in the museum sector. Reflecting Dubai Culture’s own mandates, the awards programme celebrates culture as an integral part of life and shines a light on the most exceptional contributions that museums are making to cultural life around the world.

Dubai Culture aims to enhance Dubai’s cultural scene and draw attention to the Emirate’s rich heritage with a variety of initiatives that take place throughout the year. The Authority’s mandate is to build bridges of constructive dialogue between different civilisations and cultures through enriching initiatives that benefit the Emirate’s citizens, residents and visitors.


The Etihad Museum tells the story of one of the most significant moments in the UAE’s timeline – the birth of the nation with the 1971 Union Agreement – through the eyes of the Founding Fathers. The dynamic, 21st century museum was established to serve as an intimate, informative and enjoyable insight into the events that surrounded this historic event, and has been designed to offer a holistic experience from start to finish, leading visitors on a memorable journey with interactive items to be found at every step.


About Dubai Culture & Arts Authority:

Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) was launched on 8th March 2008 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in order to drive the growth of the city’s artistic and cultural landscape. The Authority has grown to play a major role in the realisation of the Dubai Plan 2021, highlighting Dubai as a thriving capital for creative industries and further embedding the Emirate’s credentials as a city of happy, creative and empowered people.

As part of its mandate, Dubai Culture has several initiatives that are focused on strengthening both the historic and modern cultural fabric of Dubai, including Dubai Art Season, the city’s premier umbrella arts initiative which kicks off with Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and encompasses Art Week including Art Dubai, Design Days Dubai, and SIKKA Art Fair – an annual event aimed at promoting Emirati and local artists in the UAE and the wider GCC region. The Authority also manages the Dubai International Arabic Calligraphy Exhibition, which showcases an evocative blend of artworks to celebrate the myriad facets of Arabic calligraphy; Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre, an annual festival that fosters the art of theatre in the UAE; and Dubai Next, a dynamic platform that aims to showcase the Emirate’s cultural ethos and vibrant creative scene on the global stage.

The Authority’s other key initiatives include Creatopia (, which is the nation’s first government empowered virtual community for cultural and creative communities in Dubai, and was launched to encourage the exchange of ideas and the refinement of skills while ensuring ease of doing business within the creative industry.

Dubai Culture also plays a leading role in supporting the UAE National Strategy for Reading 2016-2026, in particular by undertaking a major refurbishment of all Dubai Public Library branches to transform them into state-of-art cultural and artistic hubs. Across all of its branches, Dubai Public Library provides children and young adults with a range of educational and entertaining activities that encourage the use of its facilities. The ‘Our Summer is Filled with Culture & Arts Programme’ is a Dubai Public Library initiative which complements the UAE National Reading Strategy with activities that are open to all age groups and revolve around four key themes: happiness, reading, family and the future.

In addition to its wide range of initiatives, the Authority manages over 17 heritage sites across the Emirate, and is a key government stakeholder in the development of the Dubai Historical District. As the custodian of Dubai’s museum sector, Dubai Culture officially launched Etihad Museum in December 2016. The museum serves as a platform that encourages cultural exchange and connects Emirati youth with their culture and history. As part of the Authority’s mandate to support Dubai’s vision of becoming the focal point for diverse cultural exchange, both regionally and globally, the museums play a vital role in preserving Emirati heritage.


Source: Cicero and Bernay