The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation has signed a memorandum of understanding with Dr Salma Al Jayyousi, prominent academician and author, to publish the first encyclopaedia in English on the Arab and Islamic civilisation in Sicily from the eighth to 13th centuries.
The book will trace the Islamic civilisation's most significant imprints on the island, particularly on diverse aspects of life such as agriculture, commerce, architecture and economy.
Jamal Al Shehhi, Director of Culture Development, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, said: "The foundation's initiatives not only aim to enhance the knowledge capabilities of the Arab World, but also serve to highlight the status of Arab culture on the international arena.
"Achieving this objective requires concerted intellectual and cultural dialogue with the rest of the world. Other cultures would not enter into this dialogue unless they are fully aware of the essence of Arab culture, and comprehend its phenomenal contribution to world civilisation."
Expected to be completed in two years, the encyclopaedia will deal with a number of key topics such as the history of Sicily before, during and after the 200 years of Islamic reign. It will also explore the domination of the Arabic and Islamic identity for a further two centuries even after the departure of the Muslims.
The book, which is expected to include more than 30 different researches, will focus on Sicily's Islamic and Arabic heritage including art and literature, while detailing the circumstances that brought together three Arab geographers on the island namely Ibn Hawqal, Ibn Jubayr and Al Idrissi.
Al Shehhi said: "This latest initiative reiterates the Foundation's aim to encourage the production of books in foreign languages, especially English, and is therefore collaborating with Arab writers and intellectuals who possess a command over these languages. Writing in foreign languages will enable readers from other cultures to learn about the intellectual wealth of the Arab World while communicating the Arab perspective to diverse cultures and schools of thought around the world."
The Culture Section at the foundation is pioneering initiatives along with the two sections of Knowledge and Education and Employment and Entrepreneurship as part of its mission to create a society of informed and talented individuals that is dedicated to the overall development of the Arab World.