Italians revel in Sharjah's rich cultural treasures - GulfToday

Italians revel in Sharjah's rich cultural treasures


Visitors flocked to Sharjah Pavilion to get first-ever Italian translations of 57 titles by Emirati writers, 10 of which were signed by authors.

World Book Capital 2019, Sharjah, has wrapped up a comprehensive ‘guest of honour’ cultural programme at the Turin International Book Fair (TIBF 2019) yesterday. With participation, the emirate has shared the richness of Emirati and Arab culture, art and literature with yet another part of the world, in a way the Italians had never experienced before.

The Sharjah delegation to the fair, which ran from May 9-13, was headed by Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman of the Department of Government Relations (DoGR). The delegation comprised 14 of Sharjah’s cultural and literary entities as well as knowledge institutions from the emirate.

Prior to the international cultural event, His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, launched the Italian version of his book “Hadith Al Thakira, at the Palazzo Madama in Milan, and presented personally-signed copies of the work to Italian diplomats, publishers and writers.

Sharjah’s participation at TIBF was organised and supervised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA). Sharjah’s pavilion at the fair was home to intellectual discussions and cultural activities hosted by the following entities – Emirates Writers Union, Sharjah World Book Capital Office, Emirates Publishers Association, Sharjah Department of Culture, Sharjah Heritage Institute, Sharjah Broadcasting Authority, the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY), Knowledge without Borders (KwB) and its ‘1001 Titles’ literary initiative, Al Qasimi Publications, Kalimat Group, and Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council (Irthi),

Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Chairman of DoGR and Head of the Sharjah delegation to Turin Book Fair, said: “With the conclusion of Sharjah’s participation at the Turin Book Fair, we have begun a new and important chapter in our journey of relationships with cities worldwide. Through these efforts, we are bringing the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, in the power of culture to act as a bridge that connects everyone, to life. Our emirate offers the world a window into Arabic and Emirati cultures, and is a leading force when it comes to building partnerships with international cultural and literary institutions.”

“In these five days, Sharjah has introduced Italy and the European continent to the emirate’s cultural importance in the region, and reinforced its status as a gateway to a major eastern culture. Our participation here is not only a celebration of the UAE, but a representation of the Arab world as well. Sharjah was in Turin as the World Book Capital 2019, and that makes a global statement about the emirate’s leading contributions to the promoting of books, reading, and culture,” Sheikh Fahim added.

Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA, said that Sharjah’s participation as Guest of Honour in Turin was a delightful experience. It enabled the emirate to take centre stage at one of the most important international book fairs, receive the warmest reception from the Italian and larger European communities, who showed great enthusiasm in participating the extravaganza offered to them through Sharjah’s cultural programme.

“Today, Turin celebrated Sharjah as a guest of honour at their international book fair, which is a great success, for Sharjah – a reaffirmation of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Al Qasimi’s leading role in building international relationships through the cultural understanding and exchange,” he added.

Sharjah Pavilion – buzzing with people and activity throughout  the fair

Visitors flocked to Sharjah Pavilion to get first-ever Italian translations of 57 titles by Emirati writers, 10 of which were signed by authors at signing events organised at the pavilion. A series of lectures and discussions on publishing, children’s literature, the importance of promoting accessible materials for those with reading disabilities, the lineage of women writers in Italian and Emirati literary history, and several others saw packed attendance. Poetry sessions, music, henna art and Arabic calligraphy, handmade Arabic sweets and photo opportunities with traditional costumes of the region – all came together to give the pavilion’s visitors a truly authentic taste of Emirati and Arab heritage.


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