Sharjah Ruler tells book fair that education is key to terrorism fight
It is through education that we can rid the region of the scourge of terrorism, the Sharjah Ruler yesterday said.
“The most effective way to face negative forces is through education and upbringing from an early age, all the way through to university,” said Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi as he addressed visitors to the Frankfurt International Book Fair in Germany.
“This will empower individuals and develop their critical thinking and decision-making skills.”
Sheikh Sultan praised the constructive role Sharjah Youth and Sajaya Young Ladies of Sharjah organisations have played in encouraging creativity in the emirate’s young minds as he endorsed international book fairs.
“Taking part in different international fairs and exhibitions provides a platform to communicate with other cultures, enhance dialogue and promote the literary and scientific values of the Arab and Islamic world, as well as draw on international experience and expertise,” Sheikh Sultan said.
Concerned at the lack of appreciation shown to Arabic culture and literature, Sheikh Sultan hoped his visit to the fair and his leadership of the Sharjah edition – to be held on November 1 – will act as a sign that writers’ and publishers’ work is valued.
“It is important that we are supporting authors, illustrators, publishers and other experts to develop the quality and quantity of literature,” he said.
“Sharjah’s cultural initiatives restore confidence and support intellectuals in the Arab world, many of whom had been disheartened with a lack of respect and recognition, in addition to the launch of children’s programmes, to build a new generation of writers, poets and intellectuals.”
Sheikh Sultan also used the occasion to launch the German edition of his book, The Conflict between Power and Trade in the Gulf, which this year was also published in English and French.
The event was part of a range of initiatives run by UAE cultural bodies in Frankfurt, led by the Sharjah delegation.
On Wednesday, Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, founder of publishing house Kalimat Group, addressed a panel on the opportunities that literature translation presented.
She said: “The initial idea of using partnerships to have rights deals with different publishers really opens doors as a publisher, not only for cultural exchange, but also to make sure that children in other parts of the world can understand more about our stories,” she said. “It can act as an agent of soft diplomacy and make this world a better place.”
Abu Dhabi Culture and Tourism was also at Frankfurt, hosting seminars emphasising German and Arabic cultural organisations and the challenges facing to regional publishers.
Yesterday, Emirati author and academic Saeed Hamdan Altunaji and German literary scholar Klaus Reichert discussed the value of translating German literary classics to Arabic.
Also yesterday, the pavilion hosted a discussion on book piracy and intellectual property rights in the Arab world.
On the international front, blockbuster author Dan Brown launched the German translation of his latest novel, Origins.
With the latest novel finding the author’s hero, the symbologist Robert Langdon, solving a case involving clues found in modern artworks, Brown said that the planned Guggenheim Abu Dhabi would have been an ideal setting for Origins.
“I think if that building was finished when I started this book there would have been a good chance the plot would have moved to Abu Dhabi,” he said. “Call me when [The Louvre Abu Dhabi] is done. I want to see it.”
Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah,second left, visits the pavilion of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi at the Frankfurt International Book Fair