Sheikha Hussah al-Sabah


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Australian Foreign Minister Downer visits DAI

Dar Al-Athar Al-Islammiyah was honoured to receive a visit from Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and his accompanying delegation during their recent tour of the region.

Mr. Downer, in Kuwait for consultations with Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Jassim Al-Khorafi, Speaker of the National Assembly, made time in his busy schedule to visit with the friends of Dar Al-Athar Director, Sheikha Hussah Sabah Al-Salem Al- Sabah, with a token of his Government’s appreciation for the mist successful Australian tour of Islamic Art and Patronage.

The recently concluded exhibitions in the cities of Perth and Sydney, both of which were resounding successes, marked the first time that the collection’s treasures had visited the southern hemisphere. The selection of a hundred and twenty pieces presented a wide range of objects produced over a period of 1,100 years, ranging from Spain to India and throughout the Middle East, with the earliest dating from the ninth century of Common Era.

Mr. Downer praised “Islamic Art and Patronage” for its great contribution to promoting understanding and appreciation of Islam in his country and beyond, especially in the wake of the September 11th ‘2001 attacks in the US and the Bali bombings in 2002.

“The exhibitions opened the eyes of tens of thousands of Australians and other from the West to the often unrecognised role of the Islamic world in all the finer things that contribute to civilization”, Mr. Downer said. “This includes science and technology, the creative arts and vibrant traditions. Deeper understanding of ach other’s cultures can only serve to build a better world.”

Mr. Downer pointed out that Australia has a large Muslim immigrant community and that its close neighbour Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim country.

“Australia is acutely aware of the imperative of promoting dialogue and understanding between cultures,” he said. “Islamic Art and Patronage is a most effective means of accomplishing that; Australia remains deeply grateful to Sheikha Hussah and Dar Al-Athar for making that possible.

“We have recently established a new Council for Australian Arab Relations in a further effort to foster such dialogue and understanding:, Mr. Downer said.

The Minister’s delegation included Australian Federal Member of Parliament Ms. Judi Moylan, Australian Ambassador to Kuwait, Mr. Bob Tyson, and several senior Australian Officials. In addition to long-standing Friends of Dar Al-Athar, visiting researcher and lecturer Dr. Ben Slot and his wife were in attendance, together with Board members and executives of the Australian College Kuwait. Dr. Slot presented Mr. Downer with his recently published book, Kuwait: The Growth of a Historical Identity, produced with the support of GMCC, to mark the occasion. Local Australian author, John Levins presented the Minister with a copy of his work, Days of Fear: The Inside Story of the Iraqi Invasion and Occupation of Kuwait.

Islamic Art and Patronage has recently concluded an equally successful exhibition in New Zealand and will shortly return to the Northern Hemisphere.