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National Council champions cultural progress in Kuwait

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Kuwait Times
NCCAL official talks goals, achievements, difficulties
KUWAIT: Dr Bader Al-Duweesh, Assistant Secretary General of the Arts Sector at NCCAL speaks to Kuwait Times. — Photo by Joseph Shagra
KUWAIT: Kuwait is a pioneer in art and cultural activities in the region, and hundreds of events are held every year. The National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters (NCCAL) is in charge of organizing and holding most of these activities. This institution was founded in 1973 and includes various departments. Kuwait Times met Dr Bader Al-Duweesh, Assistant Secretary General of the Arts Sector at NCCAL to learn more about the department.
“Kuwait is the cultural lighthouse of the Arab world. This was proven by establishing cultural centers like the Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Center and the Abdullah Al-Salem Cultural Center. It also realizes the vision of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to turn Kuwait into a financial and commercial center,” Duweesh said.
The official publications of Kuwait are very popular in all Arab countries. “For instance, Al-Arabi Magazine, which was first published in 1958, played a great role in shaping Arab thought and cultural development. It represents the meeting point of elite Arab minds, who participate with their written works or pieces of advice. This proves its important role,” stressed Duweesh. The publications also affect the reader’s personality and knowledge. “Publications of NCCAL such as ‘Alam Alfikr’ (World 0d Thought) magazine, ‘Alam Almarifa’ (World of Knowledge) series, ‘World Theater’, ‘Funoon’ (arts) magazine, ‘Ibda’at Thaqafiya’ (Cultural Creations) and ‘Ibda’at Alamiya’ (Global Creations) all express the leading role of our culture,” he added.
Qurain Festival
The activities of NCCAL start in January every year with the Qurain Cultural Festival. “This is the most important festival held by NCCAL in Kuwait. This event presents a cultural panorama over 21 days, and is held under the patronage of the prime minister. The activities of this festival are approved by the Cabinet, which reflects the government’s interest in this event,” Duweesh told Kuwait Times.
This is followed by more festivals held during the year. “There is the Future Generations Festival, then the Arab Festival for Child Theatre that’s held in May, followed by the Child and Youth festival and the Summer Cultural festival in the summer months. In September, we hold the Theater Nights festival, followed by the Local Theater festival in December. Also, the International Book Fair is held annually in November, which is a very important event,” he noted.
NCCAL is not only concerned about spreading knowledge and improving skills, but also focuses on entertainment. “We recently approved a film festival, but the cultural department hasn’t prepared the details yet. It would be the first film festival held by the NCCAL. We are interested in this festival as it is a window to change and to keep pace with international events. It is part of our strategy,” Duweesh added.
Continuous development
After its foundation, the various sectors and departments of NCCAL were formed and developed successively over time, according to the needs of the society. The arts sector of the NCCAL is in charge of theater, formative arts, music and folklore activities. The council also set a strategy called 5-5-4 that kicked off in 2014 and will end in 2019.
“Strategies were set for vital sectors including art, culture, Dar al Athar al Islamiya, monuments and museums and the Kuwait National Library. Strategies were also set for supporting sectors that include the general secretariat, financial and administrative affairs, communications and information and studies and researches. This strategy aims to support talented people and improve their skills, improve reading skills, establish cultural centers in the six governorates and preserve monuments and heritage,” Duweesh told Kuwait Times.
“Although we have a very limited budget, Kuwait was named as the Capital of Islamic Culture for 2016. NCCAL presented its vision of what product Kuwaiti would like to present to the world. Kuwait deserved to acquire this title for various factors, including democracy and freedom. Without freedom, creativity will not exist, and freedom cannot exist without democracy,” explained Duweesh.
The second factor was the awarding of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah the title of Humanitarian Leader and naming Kuwait a Humanitarian Center by the United Nations. “This is an unprecedented title for the leader and the people of Kuwait worldwide for their humanitarian work and role without any discrimination, which helped many people and participated in developing their societies through building universities and hospitals,” he pointed out.
The third factor is cultural. “This was realized in establishing modern centers including Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Center and Abdullah Al-Salem Cultural Center, which expresses Kuwait’s cultural position. Both centers were built according to international criteria, and will promote cultural tourism in Kuwait. Also, the above mentioned publications reflect the high cultural level of the country,” stressed Duweesh.
“Limited budget is the main problem that we are facing. We held over 900 activities in 2016 within our budget, which was a great challenge for us. The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) praised the council for its role and named Kuwait as the Capital of Islamic Culture. Most of our activities are held annually, but new activities are added depending on international events,” he said. “Although our budget is limited, all our activities are free. We are now facing a recession, and maybe it will reach us as well. But even if we had to charge fees, they will definitely be symbolic.”
NCCAL participates in bringing nations together, as it works in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “This is the reason behind having great international relations with all countries. Some groups in the community and MPs are trying to impose their tutelage on our activities, but we don’t accept such visions and opinions, as the Kuwaiti community is open-minded and tolerant to other cultures, and at the same time preserves our moral values and heritage. This is how we choose our activities, as we are part of this community. There are laws and rules behind the organization of these activities,” concluded Duweesh.
By Nawara Fattahova
The post National Council champions cultural progress in Kuwait appeared first on Kuwait Times.

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