His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, has inaugurated the 36th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair, SIBF.
In a speech, the Sharjah Ruler said that shadowy hands have been promoting malevolent ideas that darken understanding and brain-wash individuals, divesting minds of science, intellect, knowledge, culture and light, preying on our young sons and daughters. These ideas, His Highness said, threaten our Islam, beliefs, culture, heritage and very existence. His Highness pointed out that the darkness can only be faced with the light of truthful words, science and culture and stressed the importance of Egypt and its historical role in ensuring the region’s security, standing as it does like a fortified citadel that fights destructive ideas and practices that harm the Arab world.
The opening ceremony featured a short documentary about the four new titles authored by His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah: 'Poetry Debates between Sheikh Sultan bin Saqr Al Qasimi and his friend, Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul-Aziz Al Siddiqui', 'Tale of A City – Second Volume', 'Very Important Journey', and 'I Owe', which were all signed by His Highness and presented to senior guests from around the world.
Ahmed Al Ameri, Chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority, SBA, said, "Year after year, Sharjah extends its cultural message through science and knowledge, a message which this fair has established over many years, reflecting the country’s ideals and the people’s principles.
"This has led to Sharjah being recognised as the Islamic Cultural Capital and Cultural Capital of the Arab World. The emirate’s ever-increasing international status as a source of knowledge, positivity and ambition has now also helped it to achieve the title of UNESCO’s World Book Capital 2019."
Al Ameri stressed that Sharjah offers two million books at Sharjah libraries, as well as more than 620 books made up of 14 million words that have been translated from and into Arabic, as part of SIBF’s Translation Grant, which was launched in 2011.
He pointed out that Sharjah Publishing City (SPC), which was recently inaugurated by His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, will be a key destination for publishers, and will open a window to the global book market. In its forthcoming phases, it will be home to more than 500 companies specialising in the publishing sector from around the world, with a printing capacity of 1 million books a day. It will provide more than 15 million books in multiple languages through the institutions and publishing houses that operate from the facility.
"The true history of SIBF began when His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah wrote the first line of the event’s biography in 1982. There was some doubt that the fair would not attract a large audience, but not only did the fair succeed, it developed and grew to become one of the three largest and most important book fairs in the world," Al Ameri added.
His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah honoured the winners of the 9th edition of the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature, which is organised by the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) and sponsored by Etisalat Group.
He also presented the 'Cultural Personality of the Year' trophy to Dr. Muhammad Saber Arab, Egypt's former Minister of Culture, in recognition of his cultural contributions and outstanding academic achievements and his quest to enhance Egypt’s cultural relations.
In his keynote address, Dr. Muhammad Saber Arab, SIBF’s Cultural Personality of the Year, thanked His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah for his loving and sentimental words, as well as his appreciation for the Arab Republic of Egypt, and Egyptian people bear respect, love and appreciation for the UAE for its array of initiatives and contributions that supported Egypt and its people.
He commended Sharjah’s remarkable success and achievements in cultural fields that promoted awareness, culture, love and tolerance among people.
This year, the fair is hosting 393 guests from 48 countries, who will participate in more than 2,600 activities. The guests include a host of authors, academics, artists and journalists, who will not only showcase their most significant literary and artistic products, but also address many important topics over 11 days.
The fourth edition of the SIBF/American Library Association Conference will be held on 8th-9th November on the sidelines of SIBF’s 36th edition. The conference is organised by SIBF in partnership ALA, and will feature 26 events and 23 speakers from USA, UK, Europe, Africa and the Gulf region, who will address key topics in the field of the library industry, including innovative technologies, budget preparation, and the development of library events.
Among key speakers at the conference are Jim Neal, ALA’s President and University Librarian Emeritus at Columbia University, who will provide inspirational thought provoking topics on libraries and their role in the ‘Libraries Transform – Libraries Lead – Libraries Fight’ trilogy. Khaled Mohamed Emam Elhalaby, President of the Arab Federation for Libraries and Information, will address a topic themed ‘Libraries in the MENA Region Moving Forward: From Tradition to Transformation’.
Themed ‘A World in My Book’, this year’s edition runs from 1st-11th November at the Sharjah Expo Centre, and features 1,650 publishing houses from 60 countries, showcasing more than 1.5 million books in many languages at the fair which covers 14,625 square metres.
More than 200 authors are anticipated to sign their latest books on many cultural and intellectual topics at the Book Signing Corner.
SIBF enjoys a range of strategic sponsorships and partnerships, including Sharjah Media Corporation (Official Media Partner), Etisalat (Official Sponsor), CNN (International Media Partner), Expo Centre Sharjah (Strategic Partner), Al Arabiya (Media Sponsor), Abu Dhabi Media (Media Sponsor), OSN (Media Partner) and Dar Al Khaleej (Press Partner).