Sharjah’s outstanding legacy of over four decades of cultural efforts have been recognised once again this year; and this time by Russia. For the first time in the history of Moscow International Book Fair (MIBF), organisers have decided to coin the ‘special guest of honour’ title and awarded it to Sharjah.
Sharjah will be taking this seat at the 2019 edition of this major book event September 4–8, in the Russian capital.
The announcement came during a meeting between HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman, Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) and Vladimir V. Grigoriev, Deputy Head, Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communication, organisers of MIBF.
Also present at this meeting were Andrey Gelmiza, General Director, MIBF;Naima Al Musharrkh, Second Secretary,UAE Embassy in Russia; SBA officials and representatives of Russian Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communications officials.
As special guest of honour, Sharjah will serve as UAE’s and Arab world’s cultural ambassador, introducing visitors from Russia and other nations, as well as the book fair’s participants, the UAE’s and the region’s authentic culture, arts, heritage, and knowledge-based traditions, as well as recent accomplishments through a series seminars, events and workshops at a ‘Sharjah Pavilion’ hosted by SBA.
The emirate’s cultural journey led by the vision and the directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and marked by its linguistic achievements, creative products and fast-growing publishing industry will be showcased at the Sharjah Pavilion at MIBF 2019.
Praising Sharjah’s selection as special guest of honour at Moscow International Book Fair, HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA, said: “This is a great honour and a valuable addition to the recent cultural achievements attained by Sharjah. Celebrating Sharjah on the MIBF platform reflects the long-term vision and keenness of both the UAE and Russia to establish bridges of communication with other world cultures. We believe culture binds nations and people together, and promotes tolerance and understanding.”
Al Ameri added: “Russia is treasured worldwide for its important history and strong cultural output. Some of the world’s best poets, authors, historians, musicians, continue to be born here. It is also a country home to thousands of publishing houses. We are excited to establish a special presence at the 32nd edition of MIBF in a few months from now, and look forward to using this opportunity to understanding a vibrant culture a bit better, and also sharing our own.”
Vladimir V. Grigorievadded: “We are proud to host Sharjah, as a special guest of honour at MIBF this year, which is the same year that the world is celebrating the emirate as the UNESCO World Book Capital. Sharjah will be our window, not only to Emirati, but Arab culture. The book fair will be a great platform for promoting cultural exchange and cooperation between our two countries.”
“There are half a billion people native Arabic speakers in the world, and we are very interested in the language and the culture that birthed it. Today, Muslims account for 20 percent of the Russian community, where 50 cultures live underneath the diverse Russian culture,” he concluded.
Established in December 2014, SBA is dedicated to encouraging investment in creative industries and offering a platform for knowledge and intellectual exchange between people from different civilisations and cultures. SBA aims to highlight the significant role of writers and their influence in promoting community awareness in view of the technological advancements and diversity of knowledge sources.
It also seeks to attract relevant bodies and figures operating in the cultural sector in general, and the publishing, printing, translation, documentation and children’s books in particular.