Dubai has formally ‘received the flag’ from Prague to be the host city of the 27th International Council of Museums General Conference 2025.
The ICOM flag is a symbolic baton passed to the city that will organise the next conference. It was designed by ICOM Prague officials and members of the Czech community, and incorporates elements from the country’s traditional culture and crafts.
The flag was formally passed to Dubai during the ICOM General Conference Flag Relay Ceremony held at the National Museum in Prague.
A high-level UAE delegation headed by Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, and member of the Dubai Council, attended ICOM 2022 in Prague.
Sheikha Latifa said: “Dubai has officially begun its journey of hosting the upcoming ICOM General Conference in 2025. It is an incredibly historic moment for Dubai as our city has become the first city in the MENASA region to host ICOM. Winning the bid to host ICOM would not have been possible without the support of our wise leadership and the work done by all cultural entities and our partners in Dubai and the UAE over the years to develop and enrich our cultural offerings as an emirate and as a nation.
“Dubai has made remarkable cultural achievements in a relatively short period, and we will continue to work towards positioning our city at the forefront of global cultural hubs. We look forward to hosting this impactful cultural gathering of leading international museum professionals. The global platform will serve as an opportunity to discuss the future of museums and explore best practices and approaches for protecting and promoting tangible and intangible cultural heritage,” she added.
Dubai will be the first city in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia (MENASA) region to host the prestigious conference. The theme will be ‘The Future of Museums in Rapidly Changing Communities’.
The ICOM flag was handed over to Rashad Bukhash, representing ICOM UAE, and then to Hala Badri, Director General of Dubai Culture, who received it on behalf of ICOM Dubai 2025.
Hala Badri said upon receiving the flag: “The UAE attaches great importance to museums as vital centres for knowledge exchange and cultural dialogue, and we believe culture should be accessible to everyone, everywhere. Museums are important cultural networks that connect community members with their history and heritage, enabling them to understand current issues and cultural trends.”
Badri also talked about how Dubai has invested in the cultural and museum sector over the past few decades, pointing to the examples of the Etihad Museum, the Museum of the Future and Al Shindagha Museum.
“We are also witnessing the emergence of a new generation of cultural enthusiasts in our region which contributes to preserving our heritage and further developing our creative economy,” she added. “We promise to present a worthwhile experience for culture, museums professionals and delegates from around the world.”
On the last day of the conference, Maryam Mudhaffar Ahli, Project Manager in the Museums Department at Dubai Culture, gave an overview of Dubai’s plans to host the next edition of ICOM in 2025. “By hosting the ICOM General Conference in 2025, we will not just be creating an event that addresses issues of change, recovery, inclusivity, transparency and sustainability for the museum sector, but we will also embody them on a broader scale,” she said.