Festival 2018

March 2018


Under the Patronage of H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan

UAE Minister of Tolerance

Welcome to the 15th Abu Dhabi Festival, the largest celebration of arts and culture in the Arabian Gulf. Joining the nation as it celebrates the ‘Year of Zayed’, the Festival marks 100 years since the birth of the Founding Father.

In 2018, India is recognised as Country of Honour, reflecting the long tradition of cultural exchange between the UAE and the subcontinent, showcasing the country’s vast cultural wealth with eclectic events encompassing film, music, theatre, dance and visual arts.

With a large number of events presented across the capital and the country, this year’s festival hosts of a fusion of outstanding UAE creativity and exceptional international performers from across the globe.

Welcome to an enriching, extraordinary and eclectic experience.


Theme – the 'Year of Zayed'

Theme – the ‘Year of Zayed’ 

“No matter how many buildings, foundations, schools and hospitals we build, or how many bridges we raise, all these are material entities. The real spirit behind the progress is the human spirit, the able man with his intellect and capabilities”

– Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan

In 2018, the Abu Dhabi Festival joins the nation in celebrating the ‘Year of Zayed’, marking 100 years since the birth of the founding Father. Reflecting on the rich and wise legacy of Sheikh Zayed, the Festival re-commits to following the road he envisioned for the nation, supporting programmes which instil wisdom, determination, loyalty and a sense of belonging – values that have made the UAE prosperous today.

Following the path of Sheikh Zayed’s vision, we believe arts and culture are at the heart of the nation. They support tolerance and co-existence, are the means to further the nation’s pioneering spirit, and they strengthen the human capital which makes the UAE strong.

ADMAF’s programmes are designed to further the intellect and capabilities of the next generation through art, music, culture and exchange. The Abu Dhabi Festival is a framework to support the nation’s emerging talent while supporting the ideals of our enduring cultural legacy.

Country of Honour

Country of Honour

Each year, Abu Dhabi Festival recognises a Country of Honour, commemorating its culture through performances and strengthening diplomatic ties as it welcomes esteemed guests and celebrates artistic expression. 

In 2018, the Festival recognises the deep cultural wealth of India, reflecting on the historic ties between the UAE and the subcontinent – ties expressed through a long tradition of cultural exchange. We are excited to welcome artists from India across visual arts, film, theatre, music and dance to this year’s Festival, allowing audiences to explore the depth and diversity of contemporary Indian culture.

Previous countries of honour have been: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (2017), France (2016), Italy (2015), USA (2014), Spain (2013), UK (2012), Belgium (2011), Poland (2010), France (2009), Lebanon (2008, 2006), and Egypt (2007)

Cultural Diplomacy

المقتني الإماراتي ومؤسس “مؤسسة بارجيل للفنون” سلطان سعود القاسمي يتحدث أهمية عن الدبلوماسية الثقافية.

H.E. Philip Parham, UK Ambassador to the UAE, highlighting the importance of Cultural Diplomacy

Interview with His Excellency Navdeep Suri, Ambassador of India to the UAE highlighting the importance of Cultural Diplomacy