More than 150 children’s books from South Korea will be displayed at the aisle of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) as part of the activities of “Al Ain Reads” Book Show, which will be held in October 2-8 in the oasis city of Al Ain.
The presence of South Korean books in the fair is a new step towards consolidating cultural and knowledge cooperation between South Korea and the UAE in line with the strategic diplomatic, economic and educational ties between them.
This cooperation is also the fruit of Abu Dhabi’s cultural opening on the world's different cultures and languages, in which Kalima, the translation project of ADACH, plays a big part. Kalima aims to provide all the latest of the world’s cultures, sciences and literature, and does not rely only on English or French as quasi-unique sources.
The South Korean section at ADACH aisle highlights the size of this cultural cooperation, which was established during a visit by Jumaa Al Qubaisi, Deputy Director General for the National Library at ADACH and Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Director of Kalima, to Baju Book City in South Korea. During this visit, the two ADACH officials met a number of Korean publishers. The two sides agreed to several forms of cooperation, including the translation of works from Arabic to Korean and vice versa.
"This cooperation between the two countries is not new. It has existed for more than three decades, both diplomatically and economically. However, South Korea is a country that is culturally rich, has a lot of literature and arts to offer to the world, especially the Arab World. Our previous meetings with senior publishers and culture makers in South Korea showed us their eagerness to culturally communicate with our region and their desire to see our cultural material reach them too,” Qubaisi said.
“The volume of the translated Korean books, which are presented by ADACH during 'Al Ain Reads' Book Show confirms the seriousness of this cultural and knowledge dialogue, which will be strengthened by future multilevel steps,” he added.
Kalima published the translated works of tens of Children’s books while “Isdarat”, which is part of ADACH, published a substantial number of these works.
"These translated works would offer both young and adult readers a literary and artistic taste different from what they were used to in the past," said Dr. bin Tamim.
“South Korean culture is ancient and deeply rooted in history. It is also influential and influenced by the modernist currents in the world. Thus, it was important to provide this experience which sheds light on important aspects of culture and history of this ancient country,” he highlighted.
“The importance of this cooperation is a two-way traffic. It is ultimately an intellectual cultural and human dialogue. Therefore, our interest in knowing South Korea more deeply is as South Korea’s and culture makers’ interest in knowing us too. There are agreements with South Korean publishers to translate a number of Arab works, particularly the Emirati ones to the Korean language as a first step. This will open the door to more forms of dialogue and cooperation,” he added.
Mr Kwon Tae-kyun, the South Korean Ambassador to the UAE, was delighted to see the increasing presence of his country’s literature and books in the UAE.
“Such cooperation, which comes after the joint activities we have established during the previous the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, stresses the depth of cultural ties between our two countries, and consolidates the idea that the intellectual and cultural dialogue is an integral part of human experience between any two countries. It is complementary to other forms of diplomatic and economic cooperation, but may be a key tributary to these other forms of cooperation,” Ambassador Kwon said.
The South Korean Ambassador stressed that this fruitful cooperation would continue and evolve in the future, recalling the idea of establishing a special exhibition in South Korea to commemorate the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (may God have mercy on him).