Dubai becomes the ICOM flag-bearer

Dubai officially began its journey as host of the 27th General Conference of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) 2025 after officially receiving the flag from Prague, the host city of the 2022 conference. A high-level UAE delegation led by Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Cultural and Arts Authority and member of the Dubai Council, visited ICOM 2022 in Prague.

His Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: “Dubai has officially begun its journey towards hosting the upcoming ICOM General Conference in 2025. This is an incredibly historic moment for Dubai, as our city has become the first city in the MENASA region to host ICOM. Winning the bid to host ICOM would not have been possible without the support of our wise leadership and the work done by all cultural organisations and our partners in Dubai and the UAE over the years to develop and enrich our cultural offerings as an emirate and as a nation.”

“Dubai has made outstanding cultural achievements in a relatively short period and we will continue to work to bring our city to the forefront of the world’s cultural hubs. We look forward to hosting this important cultural gathering of leading international museum professionals. The global platform will serve as an opportunity to discuss the future of museums and explore best practices and approaches to protect and promote tangible and intangible cultural heritage,” added Sheikha Latifah.

The ICOM flag, the symbolic baton entrusted to the organising committee of the next ICOM General Conference, was officially handed over to Dubai during the flag handover ceremony of the ICOM General Conference held at the National Museum in Prague.

The upcoming 27th conference, which will be held in Dubai in 2025 under the theme ‘The Future of Museums in Rapidly Changing Communities’, will make Dubai the first city in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region to host the prestigious global conference. Hosting the largest international meeting of museums in 2025 in Dubai should further strengthen the city’s leading position as a centre for creativity and innovation in various fields.

The flag, designed by ICOM staff in Prague and members of the Czech community, incorporates elements of the country’s traditional culture and crafts. The flag was handed over to Rashad Buhash, representing ICOM UAE and then to Her Excellency Hala Badri, Director General of Culture Dubai, who accepted it on behalf of ICOM Dubai 2025.

During her address at the closing session of the 37th regular ICOM General Assembly on the last day of the conference, Maryam Mudhaffar Ahli, Project Manager at the Department of Museums at Dubai Culture, outlined Dubai’s plans for the next ICOM 2025. “By hosting the ICOM General Conference in 2025, we will not just create an event that focuses on change, regeneration, inclusivity, transparency and sustainability for the museum sector, but we will embody them on a larger scale,” she said.

Ahli added: “The UAE has around 55 public museums and around 115 private museums, including cultural icons such as the Etihad Museum, Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation, Qasr Al Hosn, Louvre Abu Dhabi and the upcoming Guggenheim Museum. The ICOM General Conference in Dubai also represents its introduction to the MENASA region since ICOM’s inception in 1946, providing a unique opportunity for museum professionals and experts to finally meet in the region.”

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