Culture leads us into the future: Sheikh Dr Sultan
OPEN MINDS: Sheikh Sultan inaugurates the Sharjah International Book Fair on Wednesday.
Sharjah - The Sharjah Ruler honoured Lebanese author and critic Dr Yumna Al Eid (also known as Hikmat Sabbagh), as the 'Cultural Personality of the Year'
Being on a vibrant and inclusive cultural path was the guarantee for the UAE to create a stable community and a sustainable economy on the foundation of knowledge, science and innovation, the Sharjah Ruler said on Wednesday.
Opening the 38th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, said: "Culture leads us into the future and protects us from ignorance. If you want to know about the culture of a city or nation, ask about the status its children and the elderly enjoy."
"Forty years ago, Sharjah was not what you see today. No one foresaw the tremendous cultural achievements which Sharjah has attained. We began with a clear vision of where we were headed, and had the determination to get there. Culture is cultivated through patience. as I have learnt personally," he said, adding that the aspirations of Sharjah could never be fulfilled without the power of books and learning.
The Sharjah Ruler explained that winning a prestigious cultural title like World Book Capital, whose extensive selection criteria is defined by Unesco and top international entities, requires years' worth of extensive efforts and strategic planning.
"Sharjah met these requirements to hold the title this year. Our planning and efforts are reflected in every home library we set up, in our ambitious, culture-loving children and youth, in the ethics and values of entities that lead Sharjah in all sectors, and in the huge public attendance of events planned for our yearlong World Book Capital celebrations," Sheikh Sultan added.
Welcoming guests, visitors and publishers, Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority, said: "In Sharjah, we put knowledge, books and literature at the forefront of architecture and industry, and by doing so, we succeeded in all fields. All our projects are based on knowledge and the awareness of society's needs, a mission we have internalised under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, who has shown us the value of relationships based on mutual respect".
Highlighting the importance of the SIBF as a platform for the convergence of ideas, languages, stories, experiences and cultures from around the world, Al Ameri said: "I stand here today, amid 2,000 publishers from 81 countries, 173 authors, 90 cultural personalities and a packed 11-day agenda of 900-plus activities, which have brought arts and culture from across the globe under one roof.
The Sharjah Ruler honoured Lebanese author and critic Dr Yumna Al Eid (also known as Hikmat Sabbagh), as the 'Cultural Personality of the Year', in recognition of the significant role she has played to promote the Arab literary scene through her contributions as an award-winning author and critic, for over four decades.
Al Eid said: "I have fond memories of Sharjah, which has been celebrating culture, books and authors without any discrimination by gender or nationality. I perceive this occasion as an honouring of women's achievements. Women writers liberate the collective consciousness from the practices and conceptions defined by a patriarchal culture."
Guest of Honour: Mexico
The 11-day book fair celebrates the Republic of Mexico as guest of honour country.
Thanking Sharjah for shining a spotlight on Mexican culture, literature, art and cuisine at one of the world's largest book fairs, Juan Arzoz Arbide, president of the publishing industry of Mexico, said: "We are delighted to have received this tremendous honour. We believe that books can change minds; they are a key source of knowledge. Books build strong cultural relations and promote social integration and development. This international fair, which hosts my country Mexico as guest of honour, has allowed our authors and intellects to deliver on this mission. We look forward to receiving you all at the Mexico Pavilion at the SIBF."
Winners of SIBF Awards
His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, honoured winners of the SIBF Awards.
The winners are:
>Abdullah Al Nuaimi - Best Emirati Book (novel): Zubaida's Apartment
>Abdullah Saleem Amarah, Latifa Ali Obaid and Afraa Rachid Al Basti - Best Emirati book (non-fiction): A Brief of UAE's cultural and Political History (From Stone Age to 1971).
>Saleh Karama Al Ameri - Best Emirati Book (play): Take the Earth
>Maqboul Moussa Al Alawi - Best Arabic novel: Al Hallaj Spirit
>Amey S. Edmondson - Best international book (non-fiction): Fearless Organising
>Chilochi Onimelokoy Onobia - Best international book (fiction): Son of House.
>Al Hudhud Publishing and Distribution - Local publisher
>Dar Elmaref (Egypt) - Arab publisher
>Adveza Graz (Austria) - International publisher
>Edizioni E/O (Italian publisher) - Dh1.3m Turjuman award for translation: Translation of Saudi novel A Small Death by Mohammed Hasan Alwan to Italian