Under the patronage of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee - Abu Dhabi is organising the activities of the 2014 International Festival of Falconry from the 7th to the 13th of December, 2014 across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
The new edition will be characterised by the participation of 80 countries represented by more than 500 falconers, experts, researchers, officials and representatives from UNESCO and other international organisations concerned with the preservation of the heritage of falconry, and the protection of the environment.
The activities of the Festival, in its 3rd edition, kick off at the Falconers’ Camp from 7th to10th of December, 2014 in Hamim, Al Gharbia (the Western Region) in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The falconers spend three days with their birds of prey at a special site where they can practice the different traditions of falconry.
The camp bestows a unique opportunity for dialogue, interaction, and open exchange of expertise among falconers and those interested in falconry. It is also the ideal site to explore the diverse traditions of falconry from different parts of the world and gain practical know-how about the experience of desert life.
For the first time, the meetings of the International Falconry Conference will be organised this year on the sidelines of the Falconers Camp. The participating falconers will present research papers and take part in discussions and workshops on the heritage of falconry, safeguard plans, and falconry skills and techniques.
From 11th to 13th of December, the Festival activities will be organised at Al Forsan International Sports Resort in Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi. The programmeme features a carry-over of the meetings of the International Falconry Conference, and a variety of activities intended for the festival-going public, including visitors, tourists, all social categories and family members. The official inauguration of the festival activities will be held at the main platform at the official site. Falconers from all participating countries will parade in company with their birds of prey, raising the flags of their countries and wearing traditional clothes that represent the different cultures of the world.
Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Adviser for Culture and Heritage in the Court of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Chairman of the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee - Abu Dhabi, said, "The Festival enhances Abu Dhabi's stature as a top cultural destination on both regional and international levels. The festival also provides an outstanding environment for the exchange and dialogue between civilisations and cultures, and offers a rare platform for the gathering of peoples, organisations and individuals who hold a special interest in falconry. The main objective consists in the promotion, protection and development of this heritage which is considered as one the most significant pillars of the national identity, and which has been inscribed on the UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity." Mazrouei added, "The organisation of the 2014 International Festival of Falconry comes in line with the strategy of the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee, which works towards the preservation of cultural heritage, and the sustainment of cultural memory. The committee also acts to disseminate the civilisational and humane message of the U.A.E. to the different cultures and peoples of the world. All these efforts help in the promotion of the U.A.E. as a nation that has succeeded in reconciling between the present with all its developments and characteristics and the past with its authenticity, genuineness and culture." The International Festival of Falconry enjoys a significant international consideration and reputation, and draws hundreds of falconers, experts, and specialists from around the world. It features several activities, and educational, art, and cultural competitions that will leave a strong impression on lovers of falconry and desert environment. The festival is also an occasion to display the various efforts of the U.A.E. in the fields of sustainable hunting and the protection of falconry as part of international heritage.
The programme of the festival includes the establishment of desert camps, the organisation of a scientific conference and a rich set of activities as well as cultural and art competitions that appeal to all interests and age groups. The programme also features specialised scientific, art, and cultural exhibitions and stunning folklore performances that reproduce the aspects of falconry tradition in various societies in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Japan, China, Eastern Asia, and the United Sates.
The festival is considered by international experts as the biggest gathering of falconers in history and as a unique international competition. In its 2nd edition in the city of Al Ain in 2011, the Festival managed to draw falconers from across the U.A.E., provide an opportunity for the exchange of expertise, strengthen the bonds between falconers, and bring to light different experiences from around the world.