Antonio Álvarez Barthe, Ambassador of Spain to the UAE, during the signing.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) has announced that Spain is the designated Guest of Honour for the 40th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) slated for November 2021.
The decision was announced at an official signing ceremony held virtually, and was attended by Ahmed Bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA; Antonio Álvarez Barthe, Ambassador of Spain to the UAE; María José Gálvez, Director General for Books, Ministry of Culture and Sports, Spain; Begoña Cerro, Deputy Director General for Books, Ministry of Culture and Sports, Spain; Jaime Iglesias Sánchez-Cervera, Deputy Head of Mission of Spain to the UAE; and Khoula Al Mujaini, General Coordinator of SIBF.
The largest book fair in the region and the one of the top three in the world is gearing up to welcome a host of Spanish publishers and authors to Sharjah for a milestone edition of SIBF, and will offer visitors and the global publishing fraternity a unique opportunity to dive deeper into Spanish literature and culture, as well as its latest achievements in contemporary publishing.
As the two officials, Ahmed Al Ameri and Barthe, formalised the agreement, the SBA Chairman turned the spotlight on SIBF’s 40-year history and its impact that has been felt by not just the Arab region but the entire world on their cultural achievements and the growth of their respective publishing markets. Reiterating that the world views Sharjah as a gateway to the region’s culture, Al Ameri stressed that SIBF’s 40-year journey is a testament of the role and importance of books and book fairs in growing and sustaining a city’s or a nation’s cultural project.
“The celebration of global cultures by offering SIBF’s prestigious platform to authors and artists from around the world is a reflection of the vision of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to boost cultural dialogue and bring people from different backgrounds together to share and learn about each other,” Al Ameri added.
“We look forward to celebrating the unique aspects of the Spanish culture here in Sharjah, and look forward to welcoming them as Guest of Honour at SIBF 2021. Through these efforts, we seek to further widen the space for cooperation and dialogue between Emirati and Spanish people, cultural institutions, authors, artists and publishers,” he further added.
For his part, Antonio Álvarez Barthe said: “It is our pleasure to sign this agreement on behalf of the Spanish Government and our Ministry of Culture. We look forward to enhancing the relationship between Sharjah and Spanish cities.”
Maria José Gálvez noted: “This is a great day for Spain and for our book industry. We look forward to seeing the success it will have for us as a country as well as for our authors and our publishing sector. It is an absolute pleasure to work with SBA, and we look forward to presenting our creativity and exchanging our expertise in the literary sector with all participants of SIBF who will join us from around the world.”
With a series of literary dialogues, exhibitions, theatre, music and creative cultural activities, Spain is bringing a vibrant cultural programme to SIBF 2021.
The generous gesture of the Ruler of Sharjah comes this year as a much-needed contribution to sustain the book publishing industry as it was badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
SIBF has for the first time in its history, adopted a unique online-offline hybrid programming that promises to deliver a memorable mix of literary and cultural activities.
Sharjah Ruler also announces a cooperation agreement with UNESCO for the translation of various literary works from Arabic into other languages and vice versa.
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