The Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) has explored new opportunities for cultural cooperation to strengthen bilateral relations between Sharjah and several Italian cultural entities during a meeting with a high-level delegation from Italy.

His Excellency Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA, received HE Nicola Lener, Ambassador of Italy to the UAE, and Prof. Ida Zilio-Grandi, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Abu Dhabi, at the SBA headquarters to discuss the participation of Italian publishers at the upcoming Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2020), Translation Grant, and the Publishers Conference organised by SBA ahead of the fair. He offered the delegation an insight into the array of potential opportunities for cultural exchange these events provide.

The meeting also touched upon the Sharjah’s preparations and cultural agenda for Bologna Children's Book Fair 2021, which the emirate will attend as Guest of Honour.

The Italian delegation was briefed on the various creative and cultural events organised annually by SBA, including SIBF -  the largest literary event of its kind in the Middle East and one of the top three book fairs in the world, and the hugely popular Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival. SBA also highlighted the accomplishments of Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone (SPCFZ), and its vital role in supporting both Arab and global publishers.

Al Ameri stressed that the foundations of the strong ties between Sharjah and various Italian cities had been laid by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, who has led a vibrant, decades-long dialogue between civilisations.

He said: “Sharjah was Guest of Honour at Turin International Book Fair last year, which is one of the most important cultural events in Europe. Our participation opened the doors to cultural entities of Sharjah and Italy for greater bilateral cooperation opportunities in many fields, and was a platform for Emirati intellectuals to meet their Italian counterparts.” 

During the visit, Al Ameri lauded the efforts of the Italian Cultural Institute in Abu Dhabi for engaging Emirati society with Italian culture and creativity, pointing out how such entities play a vital role in bringing civilisations together.

Italian Ambassador HE Nicola Lener pointed out that culture plays a prominent role in strengthening its relationship with the emirate of Sharjah and it would seek to further bolster this partnership through promoting activities related to education and books. He noted that Italy is keen on enhancing cooperation between the two countries through Sharjah, which is at the forefront of a global cultural movement.

He said: “We look forward to greater Italian presence and participation in the events held and organised by Sharjah, and we will also initiate plans to organise cultural events in the emirate.”

During the visit, Al Ameri gifted the delegates an Italian translation of Hadeeth Al Thakira, authored by the Ruler of Sharjah, which outlines HH Sheikh Sultan Al Qasimi’s prominent role in the events during the period leading up to the foundation of the UAE, and other strategic local and regional events.

Source: National Network Communications – NNC

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