Bahrain's Message to the World
The International Organisation of Folk Art (IOV) has spent the last three months making all necessary preparations to host its General Assembly in Sharjah during the period of March 9–12, 2023, in response to the kind invitation of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage. Sharjah continues to serve as the regional headquarters of the organisation's Middle East and North Africa region, which is overseen by UAE artist and scholar Dr Abdulaziz Al-Musallam.
From the International Office at the organisation's Bergamo headquarters, Italian artist Fabrizio Cattaneo invited the heads of the continents, regional managers, directors of the organisation's divisions, members, research centres, and folk-art troupes from all 176 member nations to join the assembly.
This meeting is taking place later than its usual date once every four years due to the work disruption caused by the circumstances of COVID-19, which spanned the globe and disrupted most group activities like conferences, seminars, training courses, performances, festivals of performing arts troupes, and ethnographic exhibitions in different countries.
Despite the fact that many of the organisation's operations were disrupted, everyone made extraordinary efforts to overcome that situation, which cost us dear lives and heavy losses in preventing or delaying many mass activities of value on a global level, including the delivery of this paper publication of ours to those who are waiting for it from the readers in various branches, while we compensated through our active website, which remained operational.
Nearly half a century after the organisation was founded and after having offices in a number of countries all over the world, the Kingdom of Bahrain was nominated for the organisation's presidency office in November 2016.
The Bahraini organisation is located in a very convenient spot. A well-educated and experienced management team in Manama is in charge of the organisation's day-to-day operations.
Bahrain contributes the yearly funding needed to support the requirements of the organisation's presidency office, as well as the Bahraini leader's travel expenses to international conventions and regional events. This allowed the organisation to be present in many venues, broaden its perspectives on many levels, and accomplish what it had never been able to achieve in the past.
The Presidency Office team met His Highness the King of the Kingdom of Bahrain in March 2017, where they reviewed the organisation's plans for dominating the field of folk art on the world stage, as well as the advantages this will have for the country's reputation and status.
Over the past six years, the Bahraini working team has received royal directives that have opened new visions for work, strengthening the organisation's work and opening new horizons for it, while also making the Kingdom of Bahrain one of the cornerstones of global decision making on intangible cultural heritage through the (IOV) organisation's cooperation with various non-governmental organisations around the world.
Having the supreme and generous royal patronage, which we are honoured to have, and the visions of ongoing support given by the Royal Court to our publication for more than sixteen years places the onus on the team to adhere to the level and maintain the status quo of progress in order to remain successful and to fulfil what professor Muhammad Jabir Al-Ansari proposed one day as we get ready to publish the first issue of this journal: to have this journal deliver the message of folk culture, from bahrain to the world.
We vowed to maintain our originality and creativity, and as the saying goes, time and tide wait for no man.
Ali Abdullah Khalifa