In the presence of His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, and the Mayor of Seoul Oh Se-hoon, Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF) has partnered with Seoul Metropolitan Government to promote cross-cultural exchange and explore collaboration opportunities to develop the arts and culture sector in the emirate.

The partnership seeks to further strengthen existing cultural ties, forge relations, establish long-lasting partnerships and explore potential collaborations that foster mutual understanding and appreciation while transcending boundaries to build bridges that connect people.

Her Excellency Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo, Founder of Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF), said: "Our country, the UAE, has had a long and rich relationship with the Republic of Korea and the areas of cooperation between our two great nations are many: energy, retail, transportation, health, technology, education, and of course, culture. The Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation – ADMAF and the Abu Dhabi Festival since 2008 have experienced the beauty of Korean culture time and time again, in many enriching milestone experiences including Korea as the Abu Dhabi Festival Country of Honour, featuring the Arab world premieres of the Korean Symphony Orchestra and the Korean National Ballet, kindly supported by GS Energy, Special Olympics Korea Ensemble with famed soprano and Grammy Award-winning artist Sumi Jo, Violin virtuoso Sarah Chang, among many others. This year, we presented the prestigious Abu Dhabi Festival Award to the Oscar winning producer, the wonderful Miky Lee, Vice Chairwoman of CJ ENM.

“Strengthening our bridge of friendship, in 2023, ADMAF paid a visit to the UNESCO Creative City of Design, Seoul, my Soul, where we were met by many like-minded people of culture and creativity. We were graciously received at the Seoul City Hall by Kang Cheol-won, the Vice Mayor of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, alongside a distinguished delegation, including the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and the Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA). During our visit, we also explored new avenues for exchange and collaboration with esteemed institutions including the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), Art Sonje Centre, the Busan Museum of Art, Leeum Museum of Art, Korea National University of Arts, Korea National Opera, Korean National Ballet and the Universal Ballet.

“Following our successful visit, we in turn, welcomed our Korean counterparts during the 2024 Abu Dhabi Festival. Together, we are now working to realise major cultural achievements between us, starting with two historic exhibitions of contemporary art from both Korea and the UAE. The first of these will be with the Seoul Museum of Art in a very special exhibition of Korean Contemporary Art debuting in the Middle East at Manarat Al Saadiyat Cultural District, Abu Dhabi. Followed by an exhibition with over 50 artists from the Emirates presenting our rich contemporary art movement for the first time in Korea at the Seoul Museum of Art.

South Korean artists and cultural institutions started off as partners to ADMA, but now, we consider them as dear friends and companions on a journey of discovery and cultural dialogue, a bond of trust that we highly value. These remarkable achievements can only be stronger with the MOU that we signed.”

Oh Se-hoon, Mayor of Seoul, said: “It brings me great joy to formalise an agreement with Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation, aimed at deepening international cultural ties and fostering friendship between Seoul and Abu Dhabi. In recent years, Abu Dhabi has demonstrated steadfast commitment to nurturing its arts and culture sector, emerging as a global cultural hub through a myriad of supporting initiatives and projects.

“As the Abu Dhabi Government endeavours to cultivate a sustainable tourism industry rooted in culture, arts, and education, its efforts have yielded remarkable results. Notable achievements include the establishment of institutions such as NYU Abu Dhabi and Louvre Abu Dhabi, along with ambitious plans for future landmarks like the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and Zayed National Museum. Central to this ambitious vision of positioning Abu Dhabi as a cultural beacon transcending the Middle Eastern region is the pivotal role played by the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation. Similarly, the Seoul Metropolitan Government is dedicated to elevating Seoul's status as a cultural hub and global city. Through events like Seoul Festa, Kiaf, Frieze Seoul, and Seoul Winter Festival, we plan to showcase Seoul's vibrant cultural scene to the world.

“Today, as we formalise cooperation between the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation, we embark on a journey to establish our cities as global centres of culture and arts through meaningful exchanges and collaborations. Despite the geographical distance between Abu Dhabi and Korea, our shared passion for culture serves as a unifying force transcending borders, religions, and ideologies. I echo the sentiment of ADMAF’s Founder Her Excellency Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo that culture is indeed the most powerful tool for fostering unity among people.”

Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation aims to play a key role in contributing to the growth of the cultural scene in the UAE. Through initiatives such as the designation of Abu Dhabi as a UNESCO City of Music, providing opportunities for artists to showcase their talent, investing in the nation's youth, and partnering with renowned institutions to present new works, ADMAF seeks to strengthen Abu Dhabi’s presence abroad with history-making contributions.

There are potential cultural achievements and cooperation opportunities between ADMAF and Seoul Metropolitan Government. Plans include art exhibitions in partnership with the Seoul Museum of Art in 2025 to showcase the work of Emirati artists in Korea and South Korean artists in the UAE, as well as co-productions and co-commissions.