Prior to the book fair’s opening ceremony, the Sharjah National Band offered a salutation performance featuring traditional Emirati dances, to celebrate Sharjah’s participation as guest of honour.
In his opening speech, Edward López Portez remarked: “It is a great honour to host His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, at the inauguration of LIBER International Book Fair 2019. The Sharjah Ruler is a role model when it comes to supporting and promoting culture, and we hope that having the emirate as our guest of honour will be the perfect opportunity to boost cultural cooperation and advance the Arab and Spanish publishing sectors.”
Miguel Barrero added: “Sharjah is a point of reference for Emirati and Arab cultures, and for the promoting of books and reading. These noble customs are vital enablers of growth and coexistence, and have positioned the emirate a global book industry hub. The emirate’s leading cultural project has received the recognition by UNESCO as the World Book Capital 2019. We are honoured to be the Guest of Honour at Sharjah International Book Fair 2020 - one of the most important cultural events in the world, which attracts 2.2 million visitors and hosts 1,900 exhibitors annually. We hope that LIBER 2019 will provide ample opportunities for knowledge exchange between Sharjah and Spain.”
During his keynote, José Guero, said: “This edition of LIBER seeks to promote Spanish literary works to a broader audience. The selection of Sharjah as a Guest of honour at this book fair is a result of our comprehensive knowledge of Sharjah’s leading role to promote publishing in the Arab and Islamic world, under the guidance and the vision of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, who spares no effort in supporting books and knowledge.”
For his part, HE Abdullah Mohammed Al Owais, Chairman of Sharjah Department of Culture, said speech: “Sharjah is delighted to continue its cultural meetings around the world. Wherever we go, we carry our message of the importance of constructive and humanitarian intercultural dialogue as a means to build knowledge-based societies, which enjoy continued peace and stability. On this occasion, we would like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to Spain for their renewed calls to promote the friendship between our two countries.”
“Under the directives of the Sharjah Ruler, the emirate holds the annual Sharjah Heritage Days event, which showcases UAE’s rich heritage and arts like calligraphy and theatre, and highlights our vibrant cultural scene. Spanish cities, Madrid, Valencia, Seville and Granada have been among the first to be hosted at this important cultural event. Sharjah and the and Spanish Archaeological Mission celebrated 20 years of cooperation through an Archaeological Exhibition at their National Archaeological Museum in 2016. The exhibition was organised in collaboration with the Autonomous University of Madrid and featured several important artefacts excavated in Sharjah’s historical sites”, the Chairman continued.
“Today, Sharjah’s aim is to further this cooperation and forge new partnerships, which will pave way for mutual success in economy, trade and culture,” he added.
After the inaugural ceremony, a commemorative photograph of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi and LIBER International Book Fair’s organisers, ministers and heads of cultural institutions in Spain, was taken. The Sharjah Ruler then toured the main exhibition hall, which features publishers from around the world, and was briefed about the latest publications and cultural initiatives they have undertaken.
His Highness also visited Sharjah’s pavilion, learning about the various activities it will organise during the fair, touring the emirate’s cultural and historical exhibitions on display. The Sharjah Ruler was also briefed about the events itinerary put together by Sharjah’s participating cultural institutions, in which several Emirati authors and intellectuals will talk about their works and discuss important topics like cultural exchange and ways to support the publishing industry.
During his tour, His Highness watched a performance by the Sharjah National Band, affiliated to the Sharjah Heritage Institute, in addition to live workshops in Arabic calligraphy and sewing traditional costumes, which attracted huge crowds.
© Press Release 2019