What is CultureSummit?

Culture Summit is a forum that convenes leaders from the fields of the arts, heritage, media, museums, public policy and technology, to identify ways in which culture can build bridges and promote positive change. The 2018 annual edition attended by 350 delegates from 85 countries, including Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, the Yo Yo Ma-founded Silkroad, Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra conductor Karim Wasfi, GRAMMY-winning violinist Gidon Kremer, artist Grimanesa Amorós, Photographer Jimmy Nelson, curators Nancy Spector and Touria El Glaoui.

CultureSummit 2018 hosted representatives from the following esteemed organisations:

  • European Union Youth Orchestra
  • Silkroad
  • Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development
  • China National Symphony Orchestra
  • Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra
  • Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
  • 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair
  • Facebook
  • Hedayah Center
  • Turquoise Mountain Institute
  • Art Jameel Foundation
  • The Economist
  • Sundance Institute
  • Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
  • Amman Opera Festival
  • British Council
  • Timbuktu Festival au Désert
  • Harvard University
  • ARTnews
  • Casablanca International Biennial


This year’s programme will include the following panels:

  • Is there such a thing as Public Art?
  • Can we meaningfully debate the notion of Freedom of Expression?
  • Is Globalised Visual Culture too strong?
  • Popularity v Populism?
  • hy is heritage a priority in crises?
  • What is the role of heritage in post-crisis recovery and reconstruction?
  • How can new technologies support heritage in emergencies?
  • How to act for heritage in emergencies?
  • How can media survive the age of technology?
  • Representing the world: how can the media drive change?
  • Can we burst the bubble?
  • What are the new frontiers?
  • How can museums activate the past in our present?
  • How are the new publics shaping our new museums?
  • How can museums creatively embrace the “Digital Age”?
The full programme of Culture Summit will be published soon.

Culture Summit is an invitation-only forum convening leaders from the arts, heritage, media, museums, public policy and technology. To register your interest in participating, please email info@culturesummitabudhabi.com


Award Winners

2019 Award Winners will be announced soon

Artists in Residence

2019 Artists in Residence will be announced soon


2019 Participants will be announced soon

Sponsored and Hosted By

Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi

Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi

Committed to conserving, promoting and leveraging the heritage, culture and traditions of the Abu Dhabi emirate, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi is charged with the development of a leading cultural landscape with the aim of supporting the evolution of Abu Dhabi into a world-class, sustainable destination.


Arts Stream programmed by:

Heritage Stream programmed by:

Media Stream programmed by:

Museums Stream programmed by:

Technology Stream programmed by:


Manarat Al Saadiyat opened in 2009 as the first multi-disciplinary creative space on Saadiyat Island, offering the community a creative platform where they could engage with exhibitions, events and immersive creative experiences. Set in the heart of Abu Dhabi’s Cultural District, the venue has been the central location for its annual anchor event, Abu Dhabi Art, which has been held at Manarat Al Saadiyat since its inception. In 2017, the newly renovated Manarat Al Saadiyat launched a new public programme reflecting the growing public interest in the culture of the Emirate. The refurbished space and its diverse programme of activities offer a vibrant and interactive platform for the community to engage with a variety of artistic activities that bring the vision of Saadiyat Island to life. With an ongoing programme of daily workshops, classes, activities and events, Manarat Al Saadiyat now includes an Art Studio specifically designed to engage visitors of all ages in a variety of creative activities, a Photography Studio offering the highest levels of technical expertise, The Garden Pavilion, an outdoor area, providing the perfect space to host a multitude of events, and a 250-seat auditorium and three gallery spaces for temporary exhibitions. The new café and brasserie, Larte, offers a modern interpretation on northern Italian and European classics.

The venue is open daily from 9am until 8pm.

To find out more about Manarat Al Saadiyat’s ongoing programming, please visit manaratalsaadiyat.ae or follow Manarat Al Saadiyat on social media at:

During April, Abu Dhabi temperatures are typically around 24C (75F) during the day and 13C (56F) at night. Most indoor spaces and hotels are air conditioned.

Attire for CultureSummit’s daytime programming is “smart casual” and our evening programming is business/business casual. None of our activities require formal wear.

In general, we recommend dressing slightly on the conservative side, avoiding any very short or very tight attire. Women are not required to cover their heads or hair in most social settings.


Tipping is not expected, but is commonly practiced. Gratuities to hotel and restaurant staff are at your discretion.

Many fine dining and high-end restaurants may add a service charge (usually around 10%) and a tourism levy of 6% to your bill. These charges are often included in the menu prices and the menu will denote when they are.

If you are very happy with the service, it is not expected but quite common to leave a tip on top of the already included (16%) fees & service charges. If these charges are not included, then you may like to add a 10-15% tip to the total bill.

Currency & Exchange Rate

Please check out the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi currency converter.

Standard Electricity

Abu Dhabi’s electricity supply is 220/240 volts at 50 Hz. Square three-pin sockets are standard. It is advisable to bring a plug adapter with you, though most hotels can supply adapters for other kinds of plug and they can be bought locally.

For more FAQs, check out the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi website.

After the daytime program and before dinner, we encourage you to explore Abu Dhabi by visiting some key cultural landmarks.

Louvre Abu Dhabi

Designed by renowned architect Jean Nouvel, the newly-opened Louvre Abu Dhabi museum was built to transcend boundaries, preserve heritage, and inspire change. In April 2018, the museum will host exclusive CultureSummit programming for leaders from every corner of the world in one of its highest profile events to date. At the crossroads of the Middle East, perhaps no location is better suited for a summit focused on “Unexpected Collaborations”.

Learn more about the Louvre Abu Dhabi

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will be co-located on Abu Dhabi’s “Museum Island”, Saadiyat, joining Louvre Abu Dhabi, Manarat, and other institutions in Abu Dhabi’s cultural hub. Set to be the largest of the global Guggenheim museums, the stunning design by Frank Gehry will showcase international collections that foster a transcultural perspective on the contemporary history of art.

Learn more about the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

General visiting hours are from  9:00am to 10:00pm Saturdays through Thursdays and from 4:30pm to 10:00pm on Fridays. All visitors must wear long, loose fitting, ankle length trousers or skirts. Women must wear a headscarf.

Learn more about the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

The NYU Abu Dhabi campus and Art Gallery

Located just a few minutes away from Manarat Al Saadiyat in the Saadiyat Marina District.

Learn more about The NYU Abu Dhabi campus and Art Gallery

2 months ago
تعود "القمة الثقافية في أبوظبي" 2019 في دورتها الثالثة بالتعاون مع خمسة شركاء عالميين من 7 إلى 11 أبريل في منارة السعديات #في_أبوظبي! احفظوا التاريخ! https://t.co/kMbHvSYM2u https://t.co/AOkyxKy1x2 CultureSummitAD photo
2 months ago
The ‘Culture Summit Abu Dhabi’ 2019 is back with its third
addition in collaboration with 5 cultural partners from April 7 - 11
@ManaratAlSaadiyat #InAbuDhabi Save the Date! https://t.co/kMbHvSYM2u https://t.co/HCYQMgjhKr
CultureSummitAD photo
10 months ago
Inspiring moment from #CultureSummit2018: "When we lift up our most vulnerable people then all of society lifts up. it is as simple as that." - T. Lulani Arquette of @NativeArtsCultr #ChangeMaker #InAbuDhabi https://t.co/VjboN4BvY8 CultureSummitAD photo
10 months ago
Culture - high or low - can create change. As @LauriFitzPegado stated during #CultureSummit2018, @theblackpanther affects global discourse: "It is changing paradigms of fashion & beauty & gender balance & awareness to colonial histories.." https://t.co/gGrxsOw621 CultureSummitAD photo
10 months ago
Moment from #CultureSummit2018 : @tomstandage of @TheEconomist asks about tensions between maintaining traditions as they were and a desire to improvise or create around them -- to which George Richards of @Art_Jameel states "it is an arbitrary distinction" #LivingTraditions https://t.co/JFHfh1KcGI CultureSummitAD photo

CultureSummit Abu Dhabi
CultureSummit Abu Dhabi2 months ago
تعود "القمة الثقافية في أبوظبي" 2019 في دورتها الثالثة بالتعاون مع خمسة شركاء عالميين يمثلون قطاعات حيوية ومؤثرة في المجال الفكري، بما فيها القيادة الثقافية، والتخطيط للسياسات الثقافية وممارساتها، والأدوار المتغيرة للإعلام والفنون والمتاحف والتكنولوجيا. من 7 إلى 11 أبريل في منارة السعديات #في_أبوظبي! احفظوا التاريخ!

The ‘Culture Summit Abu Dhabi’ 2019 is back with its third addition in collaboration with five cultural partners representing influential sectors in the fields of media, heritage, arts, museums and technology. April 7 - 11 at Manarat Al Saadiyat #InAbuDhabi. Save the Date!

CultureSummit Abu Dhabi
CultureSummit Abu Dhabi updated their cover photo.2 months ago

Culture Summit is an invitation-only forum convening leaders from the arts, heritage, media, museums, public policy and technology. For any enquiries, please complete the form below.

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