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Strong Demand For Courses Teaching Art Of Arabian Falconry

The Mohamed bin Zayed Falconry and Desert Physiognomy School, in the Remah and Telal Resort in Al Ain region, has witnessed strong demand for its courses in the art of Arabian falconry and the traditions of living in the desert, with a total of 2,021 students enrolled (1,163 male and 858 female).

The School, which belongs to the Emirates Falconers’ Club, also organises dedicated programmes for tourists and VIP guests from Abu Dhabi and the rest of the UAE and has become a major educational, cultural and tourist attraction in the region.

In light of precautionary measures to combat the COVID-19 epidemic, the School has started offering e-learning courses. It offers specialised online workshops in falconry to the summer schools of the Ministry of Education, its weekly programmes, using the latest technologies, have entered their fifth edition with continued strong turnout. This is done in partnership with the IAF School Links Programme (ISLP) of the International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey (IAF) and Al Dar Academy in Al Ain.

The Mohammed bin Zayed Falconry and Desert Physiognomy School was initiated in December 2016 as the first platform of its kind in the world for teaching the art of Arabian falconry, with its first group of students ranging from seven to 17 years old. The school has been participating in major heritage events to promote its programmes, foremost of which are the Sheikh Zayed Festival and the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (ADIHEX), whose next edition will be held from September 27th to October 3rd, 2021.

Majid Ali Al Mansouri, Secretary General of Emirates Falconers’ Club, explained that the School aims to raise awareness of the value of falconry as part of human heritage, and to instil the correct principles and practices of this authentic Arab heritage in younger generations.

This initiative forms part of efforts to enhance channels of communication between the present and the past, and to revive the achievements of the pioneering falconer, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and his endeavours to preserve the sport of falconry and pass it on to future generations. The 2020-2021 falconry season in the UAE and many countries has been a special one. It coincided with last November’s celebrations of the tenth anniversary of the inscription of falconry on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, a process in which the number of participating countries doubled to 22.

The School offers a range of educational programmes, including: theoretical (types, anatomy, prey, and principles and ethics of falconry); keeping, raising, and nurturing falcons; practical lessons on handling, training, breeding, and caring for falcons; desert physiognomy, including protocols, sportsmanship and ethics; and recognition of the importance of the houbara bird in Arabian falconry. It organises introductory courses suitable for all ages and skill levels, tours and recreational activities for visitors, tourists and guests of the UAE, comprehensive educational programs for school students and public and private entities, as well as family courses on traditional Arab hospitality and the experience of living and practicing falconry in a desert environment.

The school has a library and a collection of old and rare falconry equipment, along with an exhibition that includes unique photographs of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan practicing his favourite sport.

The opening of the School was announced during the third International Festival of Falconry in the UAE in December 2014, with a large number of international falconers from 82 countries in attendance.

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