And yet more to come
The Executive Committee of the International Organisation of Folk Art (IOV) held a meeting in Salzburg, Austria, in late November. The delegates from Bahrain, China, Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and the Czech Republic concluded their meeting in agreement to write a letter to His Majesty Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain.
The Executive Committee expressed the gratitude of the 167 branches of the International Organisation of Folk Art (IOV) in a letter to His Majesty for Bahrain's establishment of the IOV Presidential headquarters in a democratic and free environment since 2016 and for providing first-rate logistical support. The letter also expressed the committee's gratitude for the generous scholarships provided to the employees of the Presidential office, creating a highly qualified Bahraini staff to lead organisation’s head office.
The organisation has a long history of publishing the peer-reviewed academic journal "Folk Culture Journal," which has an outstanding track record among academics and research institutions all over the world for its coverage of intangible cultural heritage. The partnership between the IOV and Folk Culture Journal comes in effort of preserving and promoting cultural heritage is a testament of the value the Journal provides to be supported by an NGO in consultative relations with the UNESCO and ECOSOC. This comes about while Bahrain's top officials are once again reaffirming their commitment to preserving the country's folk heritage and creating new opportunities for the local folk culture to serve as a collective umbrella.
We believe that this institutional stance, as part of a wider national strategy, will help to elevate Bahrainis' Arab heritage in all cultural pursuits, particularly those involving the younger generation.
Events, programmes, and initiatives that deserve special mention are the following: Ramadan's (Al-Saraya) programme at the Heritage Village, the Nasser bin Hamad Falconry and Hunting Competition, the Marine Heritage Season, the annual Bahrain Heritage Festival, the House of Basket Weaving, Bani Jamrah Textile Mill, and an array of community initiatives in the "Arad," "Al Maamir," and "Al-Haniniya" areas.
The first of these national initiatives at the highest level is the royal order, which mandates the "Folk Culture Journal" be available to all students in elementary, middle, and high schools as well as university students.
This is in addition to the substantial endeavours undertaken by H.E. Dr. Mohammed Mubarak Juma, Minister of Education, to establish a collaboration between the Ministry of Education and Folk Culture for Studies, Research, and Publishing. Consistent access to all publications should be ensured at all educational levels in Bahrain.
Significant, well-researched resources will be available to learners and educators at all levels as a result of all these directives, initiatives, and efforts. This is a forward-thinking and sensible move that will help instil traditional knowledge and culture in the early and higher education of Bahrainis of the future.
As we commemorate Bahrain's National Day each year, we add yet another cultural achievement to the long list of national accomplishments that have contributed to the advancement of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Best greetings and salutations to His Majesty, the Supreme Commander, on the great National Day of Bahrain in 2023. May God reward him and the Bahraini people for their great efforts.
The journey to the peak of glory is not an easy feat, but those who strive surely make it to the top.
Ali Abdullah Khalifa