This is good for the UAE. Hopefully it will be good for the region. Thanks Sousan for posting on fb.
"In 2005 Sheikh Zayed’s son and heir, Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan, approached Thomas Krens, who was the director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in New York, with the idea of creating a new branch of the Guggenheim Museum — a Middle Eastern version of what Mr. Krens and Mr. Gehry had accomplished a decade earlier in Bilbao, Spain. But the sheik’s ambitions were never so small: within a few years the proposed site of the project, Saadiyat Island, a 10-square-mile development zone just north of Abu Dhabi’s urban center, was being planned as a miniature city built around culture and leisure, with some of the most recognizable names from the creative world.
Abu Dhabi’s blockbuster deal with the Louvre was signed in 2007; another deal, with the British Museum, to design exhibitions for Foster & Partners’ Zayed National Museum, was signed two years later. The maritime museum by Mr. Ando and a performing arts center by Zaha Hadid are still being planned. These cultural megaprojects will be joined by a campus of New York University on Saadiyat Island’s southern shore and, in a location to be determined, a four-million-square-foot development for media companies and film studios meant partly to provide job training and opportunities for young Emiratis.
Sheik Khalifa and his government want all this to instill national pride in a new generation of Emiratis while providing citizens with tools, both intellectual and psychological, for living in a global society. The idea, several people told me on a recent visit, is to tell a new story, one that breaks with a long history of regional decline, including the recent upheavals caused by militant fundamentalism, and to re-establish a semblance of cultural parity with the West."