Al Reem Island, Abu Dhabi
Al Reem Island, Abu Dhabi Kamil Rogalinski/Unsplash

The sixth edition of Culture Summit Abu Dhabi kicked off Sunday under the theme, "A Matter of Time," attracting participants from 90 countries.

The three-day event will feature keynote speeches, creative talks, panel discussions, and cultural performances. The first day began with a discussion of culture's role in creating collective memories, alongside talking about the alternatives to the linear concept of time.

Mohamed Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), said this year's theme allows everyone to "reflect and pause," noting that this summit is more than just words as it discusses issues and finds tangible solutions for communities around the world.

"Culture will allow us to understand each other, respect each other, accept and preserve each other's culture. Once we attain this level of harmony, we will create a world of understanding," Al Mubarak said, as reported by WAM.

"It is a great honor for us to bring so many nationalities under one roof. We have an exceptional collective of thinkers, artists, changemakers and leaders with us today - at Culture Summit everybody's voice is heard," he added.

Furthermore, Al Mubarak introduced poet and philosopher Adonis, who gave the first speech at the event and explained the relationship between humans and time.

"Time is a creation, and we are living in an era of technological advancements and modernism, enslaving us where it should have set us free. At the culture summit, we share one common goal with distinct yet similar views on culture, poetry and art," he said.

He noted that this is the era where "nature and creativity are the need of the hour," adding that technology is not creative as it can't teach, breathe, or feel but humans are. Hence, relying on technology too much is the problem.

Emirati celebrity singer and Goodwill Ambassador at Large Hussain Al Jassmi and Egyptian Talk Show host Mona Al Shazly also spoke during the event and discussed the important role of time in shaping an artist's journey.

Nobel Prize Literature winner, playwright, and Professor of Theatre at NYU Abu Dhabi Wole Soyinka and Professor in the Department of Cinema Studies at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts Manthia Diawara also had a conversation during the event to discuss the intricacies of African culture alongside the identity and ideologies issues across the continent due to slavery era.

Culture Summit Abu Dhabi has been organized by DCT Abu Dhabi and the global key partners are UNESCO, Economist Impact, Design Museum, Google, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation and the Recording Academy.