Korea-UAE Cultural Festival Coming Online


This year, there will be plenty of fun upcoming events available to the public through online platforms. One cool event coming this March 31st is the 2021 Korea-UAE Cultural Festival. This festival will happen in two sections: the K-Content Festival and the KPOP Festival. The K-Content half will be an exchange of content between the two countries. Meanwhile, the KPOP half will be a digital concert online. As a whole, this festival falls under the theme of “Converging Cultures.”

According to the Korea Herald, South Korea’s Ministry for Culture, Sports, and Tourism and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ministry of Culture and Youth met during the UNESCO Forum of Ministers of Culture. This meeting actually marked the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. During their meeting, they assigned 2020-2021 as South Korea and UAE’s “Year of Cultural Dialogue” and signed a document agreeing to host diverse, cultural events together to further their relations.


However, the Coronavirus pandemic forced South Korea and the UAE to cancel most of the planned events. This, in turn, pushed both countries to extend their timeline to schedule more events in 2021 (like this one).

The Details of the Cultural Festival

South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism and the UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth are the hosts for the Korea-UAE Cultural Festival, as mentioned before. The K-Content half of the festival will start March 31st through April 1st. Meanwhile, the KPOP concert was formerly on April 2nd. As stated in the Abu Dhabi City Guide, the concert is now pushed back until April 4th. Sadly, the change in date is for the death of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, the Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance.

Even though the concert date changed, the platforms remain the same. The festival is fully online and streamed through SBS Medianet’s The K-POP YouTube channel and Naver’s VLive. It’s also open to the public through the official YouTube channel for the Korean Cultural Center in the UAE. The concert starts at midnight in South Korea and at 7 PM in the UAE.

What and Who Can We Expect?

It seems there will be many talented people and groups performing from both countries at the Korea-UAE Cultural Festival. The Korea Times lists KPOP groups Mamamoo, B.I.G., NCT Dream, Astro, THE BOYZ, and aespa as the six Korean performances. The Emirati singer Fatima al Hashmi will also be a part of the concert lineup. The UAE fans will even be able to interact with the members of Astro and Aespa online during the festival!

A photo of the KPOP group aespa who will be performing in the Korea-UAE Cultural Festival.

Photo taken from the @aespa_official Instagram account.

As for the K-Content part of the festival, there will be an array of things to see. It is said there will be a range of segments from Korean Entertainment to cartoons, games to immersive technology, and even food and beauty products shown through social media influencers in the UAE and many business meetings. The gamer Basharkk will play and review games, and the channel hikuri will cook tteokbokki. The cultural festival will also feature the beauty guru jannahkorea putting on makeup inspired by the webcomic True Beauty.

As for the business meetings during this segment, it is said that there will be 24 experts and buyers from the UAE and 28 Korean companies from the comics, games, and immersive technology sectors. In the end, this event may result in a better grasp of the local content market. It could also secure a strong foothold for South Korea in the UAE through forming K-Content networks in the country.

What is the Importance of the Korea-UAE Cultural Festival?

This festival, alongside the other events planned under the “Year of Cultural Dialogue,” may seem like a fun opportunity for sharing culture. However, I would say that it’s much more than that. South Korea has been riding the Hallyu Wave across the globe for years. This cultural exchange could honestly result in some worthwhile business deals. According to the Korean Creative Content Agency, the UAE’s cultural content market is likely about $8.6 billion (the second-largest in the Middle East). It’s most likely the reason why Korea finds the UAE market to be the center for Hallyu expansion in the Middle East.

I think there will be a boom in Korean content all through the Middle East in the next few years and vice versa. And, if this is successful, then South Korea may be able to set deals like this with many other countries. This could help build South Korea’s dominance in the cultural content market across the world.

Tell us what your thoughts are in the comments, and stay tuned for more Korean news updates! We submit news every week on new and trending events happening in South Korea.

Also, for more info on Korean culture, check out our other articles on Kworld Now.

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