The National Archives of the United Arab Emirates is honored to host the next quadrennial Congress of the International Council on Archives, November 17 to 22, 2020. With the guidance and strong support of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, we look forward to welcoming the archivists of the world to Abu Dhabi. In close collaboration with the International Council on Archives, planning is advancing quickly for an informative, productive and enjoyable week together.

ICA Congress 2020 coincides with the extraordinary World Expo 2020, less than an hour away (https://www.expo2020dubai.com/en/.) This will attract visitors from around the globe and participants in the ICA Congress will have an opportunity to be part of it. The Expo2020 theme is Connecting Minds, Creating the Future, to which archivists will add Inspired by Memory.

Building on its general theme, Empowering Knowledge Societies, ICA Congress 2020 will explore the vital role that archives services play in 21st Century society. Notably, accurate records enable the achievement and evaluation of the United Nations ambitious Sustainable Development Goals. And it is becoming clear that Artificial Intelligence has the potential of assisting the archival endeavor, making manuscript documents searchable and helping manage massive volumes of images and born-digital records. But as social media and hacking blur the distinctions across valid opinions, honest debate, ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’, it becomes a struggle to maintain commitment to the integrity and authenticity of the record of our societies. There are many pressing issues to discuss and we aim to seek out thought leaders to stimulate our debates.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Robert Buckley

In exploring the theme and sub-themes we will challenge our membership to propose new ways of engaging the audience: brief talks to provoke discussion, examples of the interaction of theory and practice, visual presentations, and other approaches. The wisdom of all our members together can serve to inform and advance the archival endeavor. Diversity, inclusiveness and cross-cultural dialogue reflect the values of this, the Year of Tolerance in the UAE, and will enrich our discussions.

Beyond these theme sessions, ICA Congress 2020 will also feature a broad agenda of workshops and training opportunities. Presented by international colleagues experienced in the practical issues of implementing modern techniques and in teaching, these will address the latest standards and areas of research. 

Please plan to attend ICA Congress 2020 in Abu Dhabi!

By Dr Abdulla Alraisi, Ph.D.Director-General – Under MinisterThe National Archives of UAE