Through an intergovernmental agreement signed on March 6, 2007, France and the United Arab Emirates decided to create a universal museum, bearing the name Louvre Abu Dhabi, with an opening slated for 2014. This unprecedented venture lays the foundations for a new type of cultural collaboration between two sovereign nations, and fulfills mutual needs and aspirations.
The agreement will thus bestow the United Arab Emirates with an international museum that will place Abu Dhabi among the great cultural nations, and more particularly, the great museums of the world. More generally, the agreement will establish the United Arab Emirates as a central arena for dialogue between civilizations and cultures, particularly Occidental, Middle Eastern and Asian. The agreement will also forge a preferential cultural relationship with France, to benefit from its experience and its centuries-old heritage.
The first universal museum in the Arab world, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is an innovative and ambitious project.
The polyphonic collections reflect the multicultural reality of current and future development in Abu Dhabi, a characteristic that prolongs Arabia’s age-old role as a bridge between the West and East, the North and South. The days of the Incense Route and the history of the Persian Gulf, which served as a link between Europe and the Indian Ocean, opening up exchanges between Asia and Africa, gave rise to the concept of a crossroads of civilizations that will be highlighted in museum exhibition spaces.
The permanent and unique exchange between the East and West consequently established by the Louvre Abu Dhabi will help this new cultural institution secure its place on the international museum scene. The creation in Abu Dhabi of other museums—the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, the Sheikh Zayed Museum, designed with the expertise of the British Museum — but also universities — the birth of the Paris Sorbonne Université in Abu Dhabi, in connection with Paris IV, the opening of a New York University branch campus in particular—is sure to establish the Emirate as the new “go to” place for education and culture in this part of the world.
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