The United Arab Emirates has brought its knowledge and expertise to the Lekouassem Falconry Festival, which was held May 29th-31st in Lekouassem municipality, 45 km from the Moroccan city of El Jadida.
Obaid Khalfan Al Mazrouei, Director of Al Dhafra Festival's Heritage Competitions, said, "The UAE's participation in this third edition is part of our ceaseless efforts to help support the Lekouassem Falconry Festival through the knowledge and expertise that we have acquired back home."
"We seek to make this festival a social event for the residents of Lekouassem village and also support the troops of the Fantasia display, a folkloric show involving Arabian steeds in a historical spectacle, through financing the feed for their horses," said Mazrouei.
"Overall the festival is evolving and was fruitful because we exchanged ideas and history. Next year, we will help organisers develop it further in order to attract more attention and tourists," he stressed.
The Emirati delegation distributed financial aid kits and medicine to Moroccan falconers and explained their use in order to take good care of the birds of prey. The delegation handed out some souvenirs to local authorities and the Lekouassem association of falconers.
Mohammed Al Ghazouani, President of the Association of Lekouassem Ouled Fraj Falconers, commended the UAE's efforts in supporting the festival both materially and morally and for bringing its expertise to the North African country.
The UAE is one of the world's leading countries in falconry which was registered by its inclusion on UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in November 2010, after years of unabated international efforts led by the UAE through coordination and cooperation with eleven Arab and foreign countries, including Morocco.
Al Ghazouani, who comes from a family of falconers, said that the aim of the festival is to attract tourists to the region, besides its cultural role.
"It is thanks to the UAE that the festival has become an international event. Our association is working to become a member of the International Association for Falconry and the Conservation of Birds of Prey," he said.
"Falconry is a captivating hobby. Once you try it, you will fall in love in it," he said, adding that, "Our aim in the future is sustainable falconry."
IAF President, Adrian Lombard, who attended the festival for the first time, said that it was wonderful to see the pride of the people in their culture. "Morocco is a member of the IAF, and we hope to strengthen this relationship further," he said.
Many activities were held on the second day of the festival, including falconry, saluki races, the fantasia and a painting workshop whose main theme was the falcons.
A conference entitled, "Intangible Heritage and the Development" was held at the pavilion to highlight the importance of falconry in Morocco's heritage and the need to preserve it