Watch Sharjah International Book Fair 2019
His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, inaugurated the 38th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) on Wednesday reiterating that culture requires patience to develop and have a lasting impact on society. “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 learned personally.
“For us, being on a vibrant and inclusive cultural path was the surest guarantee of creating stable, learned and advanced communities, of building a sustainable economy on the foundation of knowledge, science and innovation. Such lofty aspirations can never be fulfilled without the power of books and learning,” added His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Muhammad Al Qasimi. 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,” His Highness added.
The Sharjah Ruler concluded his remarks affirming that the status of countries that have culture and knowledge “will not be touched”. “Culture leads us into the future; protects us from ignorance. Our cultural project ensures everyone a sense of belongingness and the right to a decent life. This was recently reaffirmed by Sharjah winning the Child-Friendly Cities Initiative Aspire Award. If you want to know about the culture of a city or nation, ask about the status its children and the elderly enjoy.”
Welcoming guests, visitors and publishers from around the world, HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman, Sharjah Book Authority, said: “In the Emirate of Sharjah, we put knowledge, books, 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 SIBF as 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. “This is what Sharjah is offering. This is what we are safeguarding for our future and yours; for your children and for humanity,” His Highness added.
Honouring Cultural Personality of the Year
His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi 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.
Thanking the Sharjah ruler and SIBF for the recognition, Al Eid said: “I am delighted to be here with you at this cultural celebration in the Emirate of Sharjah. 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, in particular, who have done so much to nurture Arab culture. Women writers liberate the collective consciousness from the practices and conceptions defined by a patriarchal culture. The fact that more women in our region are picking up a pen to write award-winning titles is a matter of pride”.
She added: “I emphasise the importance of printed books, which we are celebrating here, and encourage book fairs and Arabic publishing houses to together promote the sustainability of Arabic language books as they are central nurturing our future generations.
Republic of Mexico – Guest of Honour
The 11-day fair taking place at Sharjah Expo Centre, until November 9 (Saturday), 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 fair, SIBF, 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 SIBF.”