Shaikh Sultan Opens Sharjah International Book Fair

  • 7 November 2013

His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, said intellectuals in the UAE have the freedom to judge things and the capacity to detect the most deceptive lies.

He was speaking at the inauguration of the 32nd edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) on Wednesday morning at the Expo Centre, Sharjah.

Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah; and Shaikh Abdullah bin Salem bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah; were present on the occasion. Organised by the Sharjah Department of Culture and Information, the SIBF will run through November 16.

Expressing happiness that the UAE will soon celebrate its 42nd anniversary, Shaikh Sultan said: “Thanks to Allah and the hard work of its leaders and the diligence of its people, the UAE has reached this level of cultural and civilisational sophistication, aspiring to develop the human mind and spirit.”

“We are not saying that we did not face many challenges, both local and international, in the process. The challenges were many and the UAE leadership overcame them through useful work and enlightened thinking,” he added.

He clarified that globalisation, masked with free trade agreements, aims to eliminate human critics and replace them with human commodities that “buy and sell, and are bought and sold”, noting that it threatens to result in an ‘ugly’ form of totalitarianism that mankind has never seen before.

He indicated that the UAE leadership entrusted with discussing those agreements managed, with their bright minds, to stop the cultural invasion of globalisation.

The opening ceremony featured numerous programmes and activities and started with a video about SIBF followed by a speech by Abdullah Al Owais, Chairman of Sharjah Department of Culture and Information.

Al Owais affirmed that this year’s SIBF welcomes representatives from 53 countries, enjoyed the unprecedented participation of 1,010 local and international publishing houses, and offers more than 400,000 titles and over 500 cultural activities.

Lebanon was recognised as Guest of Honour for the 32nd edition of SIBF. Gaby Layoun, Lebanon’s Minister of Culture, addressed the audience saying: “Lebanon has always been the birthplace of creativity. Our participation confirms cultural relations between our two countries.” Layoun offered his gratitude on behalf of his country to Shaikh Sultan and SIBF for placing such a bright spotlight on Lebanon’s literary achievements with this great distinction.

YoungSuk Chi, President of the International Publishers Association, said: “It is no news to anyone that we are in the middle of the most exciting and tumultuous time in publishing.” He added that the advent of the Internet and invention of the e-book allowed publishers to reimagine the book in endless ways.

He said the International Publishers Association celebrates SIBF for bringing great authors face-to-face with readers.

Dr Shaikh Sultan thanked the key sponsors of the book fair. The six main sponsors are etisalat, Sharjah Media Corporation, Shurooq, Government of Sharjah, Sharjah Transport and the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research.