Ahmed Al Ameri: Nations and civilisations may diverge in interests and aspirations but converge when it comes to the power of books
SHARJAH - Sharjah, known for its esteemed global cultural status, is gearing up to showcase the rich culture and heritage of the UAE and the Arab world on an international platform. The emirate will be the Guest of Honour at the upcoming Thessaloniki International Book Fair, scheduled to be held from May 16 to May 19, 2024, in Greece.
A major announcement was made during the ongoing Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2023). The Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) and the Hellenic Foundation for Culture, led by Nikos Koukis, President of the Hellenic Foundation for Culture, signed an agreement to bring the announcement to life. Khoula Al Mujaini, Director of Events and Marketing at SBA, was also present at the signing ceremony. The event was attended by several key figures, including Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, CEO of SBA, and members of the Greek delegation who were in attendance at the book fair.
HE Ahmed Al Ameri, CEO of SBA, expressed his thoughts on this prestigious title, saying: “Sharjah’s participation in the Thessaloniki International Book Fair represents a fresh opportunity for Emirati and Arab culture to engage in profound dialogue with Europe. Europe, renowned for its Greek civilisation and roots extending across the Mediterranean basin, serves as a natural bridge for this cultural exchange. This recognition stands as a testament to the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. His vision emphasises that nations and civilisations may diverge in interests and aspirations, yet they converge when it comes to the power of books. Books are a cornerstone in community development, the pursuit of aspirations, and the attainment of holistic development goals.”
“Greece's celebration of Sharjah’s contributions to Arab and global culture encapsulates the enduring and profound connections between Sharjah's cultural institutions and their counterparts. Simultaneously, it provides a new platform for forging partnerships and cultural cooperation. This cooperation is instrumental in driving our objectives to preserve our achievements, embody our cultural values, and promote literature, arts, and creativity as potent instruments for impactful and far-reaching communication. This communication extends beyond official institutions and initiatives, reaching individuals and societies, and ultimately influencing various vital sectors shared between Sharjah and Greek cities,” Al Ameri further added.
He continued: “Under the guidance of Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, Chairperson of SBA, we eagerly anticipate presenting a comprehensive agenda that mirrors the emirate’s status as a leading cultural city. We will narrate its journey of accomplishments as the Capital of Arab and Islamic Cultures, World Book Capital, and home to the world’s largest book fair since 2020.”
Nikos Koukis, President of the Hellenic Foundation for Culture, added his thoughts, stating: “We are deeply honoured that Sharjah has graciously accepted our invitation to be the Guest of Honour at the 20th edition of the Thessaloniki International Book Fair scheduled for May 2024. This collaboration has been in the making for two years, and we are confident that celebrating Sharjah will open up new avenues of communication. It will strengthen cultural bonds between Greece, Sharjah, the UAE, and the Arab world.”
He further noted: “We have every confidence that the partnership between the Greek Foundation for Culture and the SBA will yield the desired results.”
For her part, Khoulah Al Majini, Director of Events and Marketing at SBA, said: "Every time Sharjah is celebrated as a guest at international book fairs, we strive to provide a vivid and comprehensive portrayal of Emirati and Arab culture. Therefore, during our participation in the Thessaloniki International Book Fair 2024, we will be keen on translating the deep-rooted historical relations between Arab and Greek cultures and convey the values that reflect the UAE's cultural identity, whether through writers and creatives or our music and folk heritage, and the ongoing intellectual and cultural movement in Sharjah and the UAE in authorship, publishing, translation, and advancing libraries."
The Thessaloniki Book Fair was initiated in 2004 and has since grown into a prominent platform for books and literature. It showcases works from Greece, the Balkans, Western Europe, the Southeastern Mediterranean, and various corners of the world. The fair is organised by the Hellenic Foundation for Culture, in collaboration with Greek publishers, TIF-HelExpo, the Region of Central Macedonia, and the City of Thessaloniki. This event is supported by the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports.
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