Festival 2020


Welcome to the 17th Abu Dhabi Festival, the leading celebration of arts and culture in the Arabian Gulf


Theme – ‘Unity: Celebrating the Cultural Foundation’

Theme – ‘Unity: Celebrating the Cultural Foundation’

Welcome to the 17th Abu Dhabi Festival, the leading celebration of arts and culture in the Arabian Gulf. This year the Festival’s central theme is ‘Unity: Celebrating the Cultural Foundation’, reflecting its commitment to the vision of the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, by sharing the nation’s cultural dialogue with the world. It consolidates the UAE’s status as a forum for different cultures within the framework commited to the values ​​of tolerance and openness.

Since its inauguration in 1981, the Cultural Foundation has been a cultural beacon and an incubator for creativity and expression in the arts – an interactive community platform that has witnessed the launch of many pioneering programmes that celebrate UAE, Arab and international arts. In parallel, Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation has, since its establishment in 1996, been instrumental in encouraging cultural exchange and open dialogue between all cultures around the world.

Abu Dhabi Festival celebrates the remarkable relaunch of the Cultural Foundation and welcomes the return of activity to its halls and corners, each of which is part of its glorious history in nurturing relationships with the arts, culture and creativity. This Emirati cultural institution has played an exceptional role in establishing Abu Dhabi’s leadership and influential position in the world cultural scene.


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.

Previous countries of honour have been: Republic of Korea (2019), Republic of India (2018), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (2017), France (2009, 2016), Italy (2015), USA (2014), Spain (2013), UK (2012), Belgium (2011), Poland (2010), Lebanon (2008, 2006), and Egypt (2007). The 2020 Festival will celebrate all countries that have previously collaborated with it over the past 17 years, highlighting the values ​​of tolerance, openness and humanity that Emirati people hold for everyone. In doing so, the Festival emphasises the vitality of its role in promoting the cultural diplomacy efforts of the UAE, as well as facilitating strategic partnerships linking it with other major cultural institutions and arts festivals across the world.