Ruler of Sharjah Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi
His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, said that intellectuals in the UAE embody an eternal freedom, that is the freedom to judge things, and have minds that
detect the most deceptive lies and support mind-based certainties, stressing the importance that they complete their mission in order to enlighten the intellect and disseminate culture.
His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the 32nd edition of Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), which was held on Wednesday morning at Expo Centre Sharjah, in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, and His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Salem Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah. Organized by Sharjah Department of Culture and Information, the SIBF will run through November 16.
Expressing his happiness that the UAE will soon celebrate its 42nd anniversary, His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan said: “Thanks to Allah and to the hard work of its leaders, and the diligence of its people, the UAE has reached this level of cultural and civilizational sophistication, aspiring to develop the human mind and spirit.”
He added: “We are not saying that we did not face many challenges, both local and international, in that process. The challenges were many and the UAE leadership overcame them through useful work and enlightened thinking.”
He clarified that globalization, which was masked with free trade agreements to slip below the radars of many leaders, aims to eliminate human critics and replace them with human commodities that “buy and sell, and are bought and sold”, noting that it threatens to result in an “ugly” form of totalitarianism that mankind has never seen before.
His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, however, indicated that UAE sons and daughters who were entrusted with discussing those agreements managed, with their bright minds, to stop the cultural invasion of globalization.
He went on to say: “Concerning the trends that have recently crept into the UAE to eliminate enlightened thinking and replace it with violence and obscurantism, the UAE, including its leaders and people, has stood against the causes of discord.”
Featuring numerous programs and activities, the ceremony commenced with a video about SIBF followed by a speech by Abdullah Al Owais, Chairman of Sharjah Department of Culture and Information.
Al Owais affirmed that this year’s SIBF welcomes representatives from 53 countries, enjoys the unprecedented participation of 1,010 local and international publishing houses, and offers more than 400,000 titles and over 500 cultural activities.
Lebanon was recognized as Guest of Honour for the 32nd edition of SIBF. Gaby Layoun, Lebanon’s Minister of Culture, addressed the audience, remarking that “Lebanon has always been the birthplace of creativity. Our participation confirms cultural relations between our two countries.” Mr.Layoun offered his gratitude on behalf of his country to His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan and SIBF for placing such a bright spotlight on Lebanon’s literary achievements with this great distinction.
In an articulate speech, YoungSuk Chi, President of the International Publishers Association, remarked that “It is no news to anyone that we are in the middle of the most exciting and tumultuous time in publishing”, explaining that the advent of the internet and invention of the e-book allow publishers to reimagine the book in endless ways. He said that the International Publishers Association celebrates SIBF for bringing great authors face-to-face with adoring readers.
The key sponsors of the 32nd Annual Sharjah International Book Fair were thanked by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan and SIBF for their generosity. The six main sponsors are Etisalat, Sharjah Media Corporation, SHUROOQ, Government of
Sharjah, Sharjah Transport and the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research.
AbdulazizHamadTaryam, General Manager, Northern Emirates at Etisalat and key sponsor of this year’s SIBF, commended Sharjah as “the city that is the lighthouse for cultural activities and His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi as “the leader who has made the dissemination of knowledge and literature his legacy.” Seeking to enrich Arab culture and cultivate a love of reading among the younger generation, Etisalat announced the winners of the 5th Annual Etistalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature.
The winners of the 5th Annual Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature are as follows:
1-Children’s book of the year (Ages 0 to 12): ‘Rod of Racemes’ by Egypt-based NahdetMisr Publishing House, authored by AfafTobala and illustrated by Hanadi Sleet
2-Young Adult book of the year (Ages 13 – 18): 'Ajwan’ by Egypt-based NahdetMisr Publishing House, authored by Emirati writer Noura Al Noman
3-The Best Text Award: ‘My Mum Jadida’ by UAE writer Mariam Suhail Al Rashedi
4-Best Illustration Award: ‘Rod of Racemes’, by illustrator Hanadi Sleet
5-Best Production Award: ‘When You Get Angry’ by Lebanon-based Asala Publishing House.
Towards the end of the ceremony, His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan launched his new book titled ‘Hadeeth Al Thakira – Part III’ and announced that proceeds from 5,000 copies of its ‘Pink’ edition will go to the Pink Caravan, a pan-UAE breast cancer initiative by the Friends of Cancer Patients charitable society.