World needs to take a leaf out of Sharjah’s book - GulfToday

World needs to take a leaf out of Sharjah’s book

Sharjah-view

A view of the Sharjah skyline.

Mention the word “book” and the name of Sharjah flashes in everyone’s mind instantly. The reasons are obvious. The Emirate has been taking extraordinary measures to foster a culture of reading in the community.

The recent bestowing of the World Book Capital for 2019 title on Sharjah by Unesco is a well-deserved recognition of its outstanding role in supporting the publishing industry, and nurturing a culture of reading locally, regionally and internationally.

As people across the globe enthusiastically marked the World Book Day on Tuesday, Sharjah has kicked off its year-round festivities to celebrate its recognition by Unesco in a unique way.

A new and original theatre production titled ‘1001 Nights: The Last Chapter’, the largest-of-its-kind the world has ever seen, marked the grand opening act for the celebrations.

The fact that an alliance of 537 theatre artists and acrobats, innovators, technologists and storytellers representing as many as 25 nationalities shaped this massive production indicates its uniqueness.

The massive efforts to promote reading are bound to be effective as the events are being held across different locations in Sharjah and will engage all segments of the UAE community as well as Emirati, Arab and international literary figures and intellectuals, in a series of book-themed events and activities.

Books are an endless source of knowledge. Books shape an individual’s mind and wield tremendous power to transform lives for the better. It is the duty of every society to promote the book in order to build sustainable societies, which eventually help fortify the foundations of peace.

Sharjah’s cultural status is thriving thanks to the vision of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, who is keen on creating a reading community and promote the benefits of reading among children.

Last week, Sheikh Sultan allocated Dhs2.5 million to enrich Sharjah’s libraries with the latest publications. The announcement came following the inauguration of the 11th Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, SCRF 2019. The funds will be used to purchase the latest publications from participating publishing house at the reading festival.

Over the years, the SCRF, one of the most important cultural events dedicated to children in the UAE and greater Arab region, has been offering a fabulous platform for young ones to enrich their minds with knowledge and wisdom. It is fair to say that the festival has developed into an integrated event that contributes to enriching the knowledge of visitors with science and literature.

As Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Vice President of International Publishers Association and Head of Advisory Committee of Sharjah World Book Capital, stated earlier, the prestigious Unesco title is a global acknowledgement of Sharjah’s longstanding cultural achievements. It is certainly a reward for pursuing an approach of knowledge-based human development in Sharjah through the use of books, reading, and strong intercultural dialogue.

Landmark initiatives launched by the UAE, like funding public libraries, distribution of home libraries and honouring distinguished authors and publishers have contributed to the adoption of reading as a lifestyle by members of the Emirati society.

Sheikha Bodour’s words lucidly underline the goal: “Our aim is to ease access to books and education; in doing so, we believe that we can promote cross-cultural dialogue and harmony, as well as build a future generation that is capable of furthering our nation’s vision.”

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