SIBF, a harvest of 30 years’ hard work: Sultan
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SHARJAH: His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, confirmed that the Emirate of Sharjah will go ahead with its unique cultural project by further developing all cultural events that are held in the Emirate, most notably the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), which witnessed in its thirtieth session this year, an unprecedented success at all levels.

Sheikh Sultan stressed that the great success of the thirtieth edition of the SIBF was a harvest of 30 years of hard work and the emirate’s efforts towards supporting culture, something built on solid foundations. According to him, this success will only be motivating and further help achieve ambitions to enhance Arab and Islamic culture to international standards.

Responding to what was published by some local newspapers on Friday of opinions by a number of critics, poets, writers and Arab intellectuals, Sheikh Sultan said that through the Sharjah book fair, organisers were seeking to have a diversity in all cultural programmes to serve different segments of society “and no doubt that the overwhelming response received by the various cultural programmes of SIBF is an evidence of the success of these programmes, which for us, is an impetus towards further development in future sessions, God willing.”

Speaking about the nearly 900 publishing houses, which participated, Sheikh Sultan said that events like this can help enhance competition among publishers and boost the cultural diversity and quality of titles that are on offer for readers, who then “have a greater choice of titles that can be obtained at a competitive price.”

According to him, the Sharjah book fair becomes “a platform for the largest number of publishers and the destination for hundreds of thousands of readers and intellectuals who have diverse cultural interests.”

Sheikh Sultan also indicated that the exhibition this year saw many university students and fresh graduates participating, demonstrating students’ keenness to take part in all cultural activities.

Sheikh Sultan also welcomed the proposal of organising an annual meeting that brings together UAE authors, saying: “I will make sure to meet Emirati writers and intellectuals for the development of the cultural scene in the UAE.

He added, “This is Sharjah’s main cultural strategy, to be consistent and continuous so that Sharjah will remain the cultural beacon of the region, since the development in the cultural landscape is not complete without listening to the views of all segments interested in this sector.”

Sheikh Sultan stressed that SIBF, since the early nineties, was concerned with the allocation of awards to authors, including the composition and preparation, studies, translation and printing.

He confirmed that the Sharjah International Book Fair had established the first reading club to be broadcast live through Sharjah TV entitled “In the Presence of the Book” to encourage all segments of society to read.

He also indicated that in the coming years, the exhibition will present more cultural programmes which aim to support the writing talents of UAE youth to hone their cultural creativity.

Middle East Chandrika (Nov 27 2011)