The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has launched the complete ‘Oyoon Al She’er Al Arabi’ Arabic poetry series for World Poetry Day on 21 March 2023.
The initiative aims to revive Arab poetic heritage by publishing a collection of 100 books compiled from original sources by a group of researchers specialising in Arabic poetry. The series includes anthologies of Arabic poetry from the pre-Islamic era to the 18th century, with insightful introductions and explanations catering to a wide range of readers.
His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, said: “The release of the full ‘Oyoon Al She’er Al Arabi’ Arabic poetry collection is a cause for celebration, as we honour this essential component of our Arabic culture and language. Guided by the UAE’s vision for safeguarding and nurturing culture, we have developed a rich and unique reference for scholars and all those who love this authentic art form. A labour of love by the renowned poets, authors, and researchers created this valuable literary work, this initiative reflects the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre’s mission to promote Arab cultural and linguistic heritage and make it accessible to wider audiences.”
His Excellency Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji, Executive Director of the ALC, said: “One key objective of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre is to make significant contributions to the preservation of Arab heritage, where poetry features as a prominent element. The ‘Oyoon Al She’er Al Arabi’ Arabic poetry series is an important achievement in this area, providing an integrated database that tracks the history of Arabic poetry. We are grateful to the 21 authors, researchers, and critics specialising in traditional Arabic literature, coming from countries across the Arab world, whose considerable talent and effort has resulted in this milestone collection.”
The Centre launched the series’ first 25 books in 2021, while the second and third instalments of 25 books each were released in 2022. This release for World Poetry Day 2023 sees the complete collection of 100 books available for the very first time.
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has announced the results of the third edition of its successful Research Grant Programme.
This year’s edition received a total of 111 participants from 17 countries, including 13 Arab countries, one African, two Asian, and one European. This marks an increase of nearly 40% over the last session.
His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, said: “The Research Grant programme is at the heart of our strategic plans at the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, and aims to support Emirati, Arab, and Arabic-speaking researchers to conduct research that elevates the Arabic language and promotes its use locally and internationally as a language of science, culture, and creativity. The programme offers a significant incentive for researchers focusing on Arabic and reflects the Centre’s commitment to advancing scientific research in the field and enhancing the cultural status of Abu Dhabi, highlighting its pioneering role in supporting and promoting our language.”
This year, the ALC selected eight research papers, whose authors received financial support to complete their work. The Centre aims to create the necessary conditions for scientific research to thrive and to help thinkers, researchers, and creators to produce distinguished works which are worthy of publication.
The papers covered various fields of the Arabic language. In the Supporting Manuscript Editing and Arab Heritage category, the ALC chose three research projects, the first of which, Report on the Book ‘Ibn Musafir’s Choices’, was presented by Moqbel Al-Ahmadi from Yemen and Shafiq Bitar from Syria. An important work of Arab heritage, Ibn Musafir’s Choices provides explanations for 18 highly acclaimed Arabic poems that literary scholars and critics unanimously agreed are outstanding.
Hadith Bayad wa Riyad by Fayez Al-Qaisi from Jordan, examines a prose story by an unknown Andalusian author dating back to the eighth century AH and focusing on platonic love as its main theme. A unique manuscript of the story is preserved in the Vatican Library.
The third paper is titled “The Storytelling Creation: A Study in Narratives... and an Investigation of the Biography of Iskandar Dhul-Qarnayn and the Wonders that Happened to Him”, by Nabil Hamdi Al-Shahed from Egypt. The biography of Iskandar Dhul-Qarnayn is one of the most prominent biographies to not gain popularity and reach in our modern era. The study presents a set of justifications that it seeks to collect and study, in order to make it one of the most notable biographies of a historical figure with profound impact and who was mentioned in the Holy Qur’an.
In the Literature and Criticism category, the ALC selected four research papers, the first of which is Evolving Narratives in Emirati Literature: A Technical Study, by Maryam Al-Hamshi from the UAE. The study explores narrative and character building, as well as novel development and overlapping literary genres.
The New Historical Novel and Betting on Fantasy by Mustafa Al-Nahhal from Morocco seeks to develop the critical approach to new historical novels, both in line with the development of literary theory and analysis, and according to the evolution of the fictional discourse itself, which takes history as its background and a framework for fantasy.
The Literary and Critical Movement in Saudi Arabia: Beginnings and Trends by Muhammad Al-Safrani from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia aims to outline a framework for Saudi literature and poetry in the course of the renaissance of Arabic poetry, impressionism, and modernity in poetic and literary criticism in the Kingdom.
The fourth research paper in this category is The Aesthetics of Meaning: The Philosophy of Tradition in the Arabic Language from Interpretation to Meta-Interpretation by Shafiqa Wail from Algeria. The study examines the Arab philosophy of tradition on the grounds that it is an ‘aesthetic’ of meaning and considers the process of understanding in a new philosophical field by returning to the ontological origin of the Arabic language and its heritage, and through a new framework: meta-interpretation.
Lastly, in the Arabic Lexicon category, the ALC selected The Illustrated Arabic Dictionary for Children by Amr Gomaa from Egypt, an illustrated Arabic dictionary directed at children in the early years of their development and elementary education.
The Scientific Committee of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), held its first meeting in 2023, where committee members explored the Centre’s strategy and plans for the year ahead, discussed the committee’s objectives and responsibilities, and highlighted the ALC’s accomplishments over the past year.
The meeting was chaired by His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, with the members of the Scientific Committee in attendance, namely, Professor Dr. Bilal Orfalli, Professor Dr. Khalil al Sheikh, Professor Dr. Abdullah al Ghathami, Professor Dr. Ali Al Kaabi, Professor Dr. Vitaly Naumkin, Professor Dr. Muhsin al Musawi, Professor Dr. Muhammad Abu al Fadl Badran, Professor Dr. Hanada Taha-Thomure, and Professor Dr. Wen-Chin Ouyang. Also in attendance was H.E. Saeed Hamdan Al-Tunaiji, Executive Director of the ALC.
“The Scientific Committee of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre is a notable addition to the Centre’s development of the projects and initiatives,” said bin Tamim. “It presents innovative visions and scenarios that support this mandate and the Centre’s vision to cement Abu Dhabi’s role in championing the Arabic language across all cultural, creative, and educational fields.”
“During its first meeting of 2023, which brought together distinguished academics, literary figures, and intellectuals, the Scientific Committee sought to build on the Centre’s achievements in 2022 and the many milestones accomplished through continuous and close collaboration between the ALC team and the committee,” bin Tamim added. “We are confident that the outcomes of today’s meeting will encourage the ALC to move forward, develop more programmes, and achieve even greater success this year.”
The meeting’s agenda covered several topics, most notably, discussing the committee’s responsibilities and objectives, and going over the ALC’s most significant achievements in 2021 and 2022. On another note, the meeting discussed the execution plan for upcoming projects, which include the 32nd Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, to be held from 22 to 28 May 2023; the second International Congress of Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries on 21 May 2023; and the ninth Abu Dhabi Translation Conference, which is set to be hosted on the side lines of the ALC’s participation in the 2023 Bologna Children’s Book Fair.
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has announced the formation of its 2023 Scientific Committee, headed by ALC Chairman His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim and bringing together renowned academics, scientists, and experts in the Arabic language and various other literary and cultural fields.
The Scientific Committee contributes towards accomplishing the Centre’s strategic objectives of promoting the Arabic language and enhancing its status in cultural and creative fields, as well as encouraging its use among native speakers and non-speakers alike. The Committee also works to form creative visions, ideas, and recommendations to support the ALC’s current and future projects and initiatives.
“The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre’s Scientific Committee is a fundamental pillar in the organisation’s structure and helps drive its efforts to strengthen the presence of the Arabic language at local, regional, and international levels,” said H.E. Dr. bin Tamim. “The Committee’s efforts over the past two years have facilitated key partnerships, projects and initiatives that have had a notable impact on the local and regional cultural ecosystem. With members including some of the most renowned experts in their respective fields, we are confident that the 2023 Scientific Committee will continue to present innovative ideas and perspectives and drive further success and achievements for the ALC.”
The ALC Scientific Committee 2023 includes: researcher and academic Prof. Dr. Bilal Orfali, the Sheikh Zayed Chair of Arabic and Islamic Studies and Head of the Arabic and Near-Eastern Languages Department at the American University of Beirut; Prof. Dr. Khalil Al Sheikh, a researcher, scholar, literary critic and translator; and academic and literary critic Dr. Abdullah Al Ghathami, Professor of Criticism and Theory at the Faculty of Arts Department of the Arabic Language at King Saud University in Riyadh.
Also on the Committee are Prof. Dr. Ali Al Kaabi, Vice Dean of the College of Education at the United Arab Emirates University; Prof. Dr. Vitaly Naumkin, President of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences; and Prof. Dr. Muhsin al Musawi, Professor of Arabic Literature and Comparative Studies at Columbia University in New York.
Members also include poet, author and academic Prof. Dr. Muhammad Abu al Fadl Badran, Vice President of the University of South Valley in Egypt, former Secretary-General of the Council for Culture, and former President of the General Authority for Cultural Palaces in Egypt; Dr. Hanada Taha Thomure, Endowed Chair Professor of Arabic Language and Assistant Dean of Research and Development at the College of Education at Zayed University; and Prof. Wen-chin Ouyang, Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at SOAS, University of London.
The new Scientific Committee will be entrusted with offering recommendations and suggestions on the strategic plans, programmes, projects, and activities supervised, managed, or implemented by the ALC. It is tasked with helping to develop the Centre’s vision and content policies; suggesting experts, specialists and research centres to collaborate with; subject matter recommendations related to the fields of publishing, libraries, technology, activities, and events; and identifying topics and themes for conferences, seminars, and workshops that help achieve the Centre’s objectives.
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has launched the Qalam Creative Writing Programme, offering writing workshops to talented Emiratis to expand their skills and encourage new authors to publish their creative works.
The launch of the programme coincides with the national Reading Month in March, underlining the ALC’s support for creativity and authorship. This is in line with Abu Dhabi’s vision for culture and identity, which aims to strengthen deep-seated cultural values, contribute to the advancement of the Arabic language, and encourage non-speakers to learn it and speakers to help enrich it. The Qalam Creative Writing Programme offers a series of specialised workshops throughout the year, where distinguished professors supervise a creative laboratory, enabling participants to improve their writing skills in various creative fields.
His Excellency Dr Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, said: “The Qalam Creative Writing Programme is one of the tools the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre uses to spread the Arabic language, enhance its presence locally and internationally, and enable the production of Arabic content. The Qalam Project had already published more than 42 creative works by Emirati authors from various generations, and by upgrading the project to a programme for teaching professional writing, we strive to create more opportunities for talented people to develop their skills, present their creative works, enrich the cultural scene, contribute to the quality of Arabic writing, and promote dialogue and discussions about it.”
In its new format, the Qalam Creative Writing Programme offers three workshops throughout the year, where literary works completed during the programme are published at the end of the year, with the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre covering the expenses.
The programme begins with a novel writing workshop, supervised by Dr Youssef Hatini, Professor in the Department of Arabic Language and Literature at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU). From 18 March until 1 September, 10 face-to-face meetings will be held at the Cultural Foundation in Abu Dhabi. The workshop mixes theoretical and practical elements, covering various topics related to novels and their components, the meaning of the story and how it is made, how to develop characters, narrative time and space, the social dimension of language and the use of symbolism, narrative rhythm, and the levers and obstacles of the narrative style.
In September, two workshops will be held in parallel. The Poetry Writing workshop will be supervised by academic, critic, and poet Dr Aisha Al Shamsi on 1 September and continue until 27 October, where one face-to-face meeting will be held every week at the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation. The workshop covers topics related to poetry and its various forms, rhythm in poetry, poetry writing techniques, poem writing with practical applications, and reviewing and proofreading texts.
Meanwhile, the Children’s Writing Workshop is supervised by Dr Fatima Al Mazrouei, writer and publisher with a PhD in Literature and Criticism, and will be held from 5 September to 7 November, with one face-to-face meeting per week at the Cultural Foundation in Abu Dhabi. The workshop begins with an introduction to children’s literature, before covering the principles, elements, and techniques of writing, in addition to reading various literary texts. Furthermore, the session introduces illustration techniques and discusses how to collaborate with illustrators, in addition to offering participants practical applications on writing, proofreading, editing stories, and preparing them for printing.
Registration is open until 13 March for talented Emirati writers aged 18 and older. The application requires sending a short resume and a draft or chapter from a novel via the registration link, either on the kalima.ae website or on the Kalima Project for Translation’s accounts on social media.
The Kalima Project for Translation at the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has recently published the Arabic version of the book ‘The Ethics of Sport: What Everyone Needs to Know’ by Robert L. Simon, translated by Noman Al-Hamwi and reviewed by Muhammad Fathi Khader.
The book explores a range of sports-related issues and tries to analyse them through a set of questions that critically investigate how the philosophy of ethics, despite its diversity, applies to sports cases that occur in stadiums. It looks into the ethical approaches that best define the event and analyses it within the framework of moral philosophy at the individual and social levels.
Robert L. Simon presents the connection between academic curricula and sports, and the implications this connection has on the choices of student athletes, while highlighting the family and societal influences that play a role during their upbringing. The author also presents different examples of sports behaviours and highlights their compatibility with ethical rules, concluding with results that illustrate the ideal model in each case and how to approach it by understanding the virtues and applying them to behaviour on the field.
The book explores the ethics of sports, tackling ethical issues that arise in the athletic world, particularly in competitive sports, in a way that addresses sports fans, athletes, critics, or individuals with a vested interest in the ethical issues that arise while playing sports. The issues covered in the book range from the more abstract, like the importance given to winning the game, to specific controversies, such as the debate over the use of performance-enhancing drugs, the nature of gender equality, and violence in competitive sports. The book explores different aspects of these issues and proposes plausible solutions to the kinds of ethical questions that prevail in sports.
The author focused on issues of morality and attempted to read acts committed in sports, especially competitive ones, through the lens of principles put forward by philosophical theories. This, in turn, was based on an analysis of behaviour and its reference in freedom, choice, moderation, correct judgment, good and evil, as well as impartiality and its impact on decision-making both for the trainer, the player during the game, or the referee responsible for enforcing the rules of the game.
Robert L. Simon was born on 12 May 1941 in Brooklyn, New York. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Lafayette College in 1963, and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania in 1969. Simon was appointed assistant professor of philosophy at Hamilton College in 1968, and authored several books on various philosophical issues, including: ‘The Individual and the Political Order’ (1977) and ‘Fair Play: Sports, Values, and Society’ (1991). He received numerous awards from the college, most notably the Dean’s Award for Research Achievement, the Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award, and the Samuel and Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching, and was also elected President of the International Association for the Philosophy of Sport. Simon passed away on 31 May 2018 after suffering from pancreatic cancer.
The book’s translator, Noman Al-Hamwi, was born on 6 December 1963 in Latakia, Syria. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from the Department of English Language at Tishreen University in 1986 and worked in the field of education, moving between several countries, before settling in Abu Dhabi, where he currently resides. Al-Hamwi began working in translation in 1993, translating English and American films and series into Arabic, in addition to working in education. He earned a Master of Education from Curtin University in Perth, Australia in 2010, and worked as a lecturer and translator at the Emirates College for Advanced Education. Al-Hamwi was awarded the Ibn Battuta Prize for Travel Literature in 2013 in Manama, Bahrain, for translating Alberto Granado’s book ‘Traveling with Che Guevara: The Making of a Revolutionary’.
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), concluded its participation in the 54th Cairo International Book Fair, organised by the General Egyptian Book Organisation at the Egypt International Exhibition Centre from 25 January until 6 February 2023.
The Centre hosted a busy agenda of cultural events and activities that brought together renowned intellectuals and creative thinkers, and attracted large numbers of the fair’s visitors and participants. The agenda included a wide range of seminars, discussion panels, poetry and musical evenings, as well as book signings for the ALC’s most prominent publications in various fields. The Centre also participated in a variety of events organised by the Cairo International Book Fair, driven by its mission to strengthen the status of the Arabic language and encourage the production of Arabic-language creative and cultural content at the regional level.
HE Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, said: “The Cairo International Book Fair is a prominent cultural event that brings together pioneers of the publishing and book industry from all around the world every year. It is an ideal platform for the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre to showcase the progress we have made in our projects and initiatives, as well as to promote our publications in various fields. It is also an opportunity to explore the latest global trends in publishing and translation, and to build productive partnerships with publishing houses and stakeholders with extensive experience in cultural and creative affairs in the Arab region, laying solid foundations for future projects.”
On the sidelines of the fair, the Centre organised a series of musical and artistic celebrations in collaboration with Egypt’s Cultural Development Fund, including two concerts in the Al Ghoury Dome. Umm Kulthoom: Poetry and Singing saw artist Marwa Nagy and her band perform the songs of the famed Egyptian singer, to celebrate the launch of ALC’s book of the same name. Meanwhile, at Abu al Tayyeb and Shawqi: A Selection of Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan’s Favourite Poems, audiences enjoyed compositions by Egyptian musician Mustafa Saeed, performed by the Aseel Band for Contemporary Arabic Music.
The ALC also organised a screening and reception at Cinema El Hanager at the Cairo Opera House, for the film Millstone: Al Ain “The Eye” is the First to See Dreams by Emirati director Nasser Al-Dhaheri. The film documents the life of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founding Father of the UAE, and recounts how he spearheaded a renaissance in the eastern region of Abu Dhabi.
ALC Chairman HE bin Tamim took part in a panel discussion organised by the Centre under the title Arabic Language in Educational Curricula: Current Situation and Development Mechanisms, which explored the presence of the Arabic language in various educational curricula in the Arab region, and presents the report issued by the ALC on that subject. HE bin Tamim also participated in the opening session of the second edition of the Translation from Arabic: Bridge of Civilisation conference, as well as a session titled Salah Fadl: Critical Efforts between Theory and Practice, both organised by the fair.
The ALC’s Acting Executive Director, Saeed Hamdan Al-Tunaiji, took part in a panel discussion at the Intellectual Property Conference titled The Threat of Piracy on the Economics of Publishing, and another session at the Translation from Arabic: Bridge of Civilisation conference titled The Role of Awards in Supporting Translation.
The Centre’s agenda included a evening with Emirati poet Khulood Al Mualla, who performed a selection of her poems, and a panel discussion about the book Ali Bey Al-Abbasi’s Travels: Travel Literature and the Translation Challenges, which shed light on translated content and the challenges translators face when working on travel literature.
The Centre collaborated with the Arab Cultural Salon Foundation to organise a talk titled The Generation of Pioneers and Their Impact on Arab Culture: The Experience of Salah Fadl and Jaber Asfour, and also also held a symposium and book signing event for the publication Umm Kulthoom: Poetry and Singing, part of a series of music books issued by the ALC. It also hosted a panel session for the book Café Riche: Unfolding Egypt’s History by Emirati novelist and poet Maisoon Saqer, winner of the 2022 Sheikh Zayed Book Award in the Literature category.
The session The Short Story in the UAE discussed the craft of short form writing, exploring its evolution, main characteristics, stages of development, and the most notable names in the field. Lastly, the session Arabic Music: Power of Influence...and Richness of Impact tracked the development of Arabic music through the ages.
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has launched the third round of the research grant programme following the remarkable success of the previous two editions.
His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, said: “The research grant programme, launched by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre in 2021, offers a significant incentive for researchers in the field of the Arabic language and reflects our commitment to advancing scientific research in that regard. The programme advances Abu Dhabi’s cultural status and its pioneering role in supporting the Arabic language and enhancing its presence.”
For his part, Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji, Acting Executive Director of the ALC, noted the important role that the research grant programme plays in driving academic research forward across all fields related to the Arabic language, revealing that the Centre had offered six research grants in 2021 and eight in 2022, which went to researchers from various Arab countries.
Several conditions need to be met to qualify for the grant, most notably, the research paper should be no less than 50,000 words, and the research must be related to one of the following fields: Arabic lexicon, linguistic studies, literature and criticism, curricula for teaching Arabic to native speakers and others, and reviewing manuscripts. The research should be new in nature, meet academic standards, and align with the ALC’s strategy and directions, in addition to not being previously published or presented to any other party.
The announcement indicated that two or more researchers can participate in submitting one paper. It went on to detail the procedure for applying for the grant programme, whereby the researcher sends their CV and the initial outline of the research paper to the email address: Grant@dctabudhabi.ae no later than 15 February 2023.
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre strives to advance the status of the Arabic language by developing general strategies to develop it in scientific, academic, cultural, and creative fields, while promoting its use in civilised communication and encourage Arabic language learning and mastery at the local and international levels. The Centre also supports Arab talents in the fields of writing, translation, publishing, scientific research, audio-visual content production, and organising book fairs.
As part of its participation in the 54th Cairo International Book Fair, the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), organised a musical evening titled ‘Classical Arabic Singing Concert: Between Abu Al Tayyib and Shawqi – A Selection of the Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan’s Favourite Poems’, in collaboration with Egypt’s Cultural Development Fund.
The event shed light on the legacy of Abu Al Tayyib Al Mutanabbi, whose work was much loved by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founding Father of the UAE, as well as on the memorable writings of Ahmed Shawqi, highlighting the leading role the two poets played in the history and development of Arab poetry.
Held at Qubbat al Ghouri in Cairo, the evening featured the Aseel Band for Contemporary Arabic Music performing lyrical texts by the two great poets, composed by Mostafa Saeed.
“This event reaffirmed the deep-seated cultural connections between the Emirati and Egyptian peoples, long united by a passion for the great art forms of poetry and music. Both are integral elements of our Arab culture, and powerful instruments for creative dialogue,” said HE Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC. “We selected texts by two of our greatest Arab poets, Abu Al Tayyib Al Mutanabbi and Ahmed Shawqi, who, despite living centuries apart, are connected by the same values and inspiration, both understanding the true essence of the Arabic language and the intellectual, scientific, artistic, cultural, and human heritage behind it.”
Composer and researcher in the sciences of melody, Mostafa Saeed stands out with his approach to developing Arabic music from within its original system. He has led theoretical and applied artistic projects that captured the attention of Arabic classical music enthusiasts around the world, earning him an array of awards for his work – most notably, the Aga Khan Award for Classical Music (2019), the Maqam Festival Award in Baku, Azerbaijan (2009), and the Arab Music Festival Award in Cairo (2003), in the Oud category. Saeed founded the Aseel Band for Contemporary Arabic Music in 2003 to be a practical implementation of his project ‘Modern Classical Arabic Music’.
The band was established to perform contemporary melodies developed out of traditional Arab musical heritage, offering a truly new perspective on Arabic music and expanding the horizon for this genre in terms of instruments played, performance, group work, singing, and experimentation in direct instrumental sounds, and musical thought. Many of the band’s productions are derived from poetic, literary, historical, and musical works.
The first Arabic Language Summit, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, led to effective recommendations to enrich the Arabic language.
The summit's theme was "Language and Identity Formation" and was organised by the Ministry of Culture and Youth in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC).
Her Excellency Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, said: "In the presence of experts, specialists and academics from around the world, the two-day summit covered key issues and themes that advance Arabic language and expand its position as a language of science, knowledge, and civilisation and humanitarian dialogue with various peoples and civilisations, thereby achieving our leadership's vision of supporting efforts to preserve and strengthen the Arabic language as a fundamental pillar of Arab identity".
She added: "This year, we identified key recommendations that we hope would serve as a starting point for working toward the stability of the Arabic language's status, promoting its use, and benefiting from the unique content that it presents for various aspects of life. The recommendations help guide media institutions, content writers, librarians, and creative writers, who can help young people enhance their Arabic language skills and benefit from advanced technology. They can improve their learning and expand their perceptions of the importance of Arabic language and use it as a starting point for dialogue with their peers all over the world".
Her Excellency said the cultural retreat held during the summit was part of an integrated effort with partners, who provide opportunities to discuss the most significant issues facing the Arabic language and to come up with effective solutions that contribute to consolidating its status. This reflects the interest of the nation and its institutions to develop a treasure of human knowledge and thought, and underline language as a main premise of societal identity.
Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, said: "The Arab Language Summit will elevate the stature of the Arabic language and open new horizons that keep up with the rapid speed of technical advancements. Through linguistic and creative bridges, Arab culture will spread throughout the world".
He added: " The cultural retreat is also a part of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center's ongoing initiatives to highlight the status of Arabic at the regional and Arab levels by hosting a number of specialised events and retreats that seek to identify the barriers to Arabic's growth as a global language, develop effective methods to address them, and innovate new concepts and business models. The aim is to integrate these solutions into all facets of people's lives in line with the UAE's vision and plan for a better future for the Arabic language".
His Excellency praised the efforts the specialists who took part in the summit and retreat, who through their extensive knowledge and rich experience, opened the horizons of dialogue and constructive discussion that supports Arabic language development and enables youth to master the language, while realising the goals and aspirations of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center.
Creating non-traditional future patterns
At its first session in 2023, the Arab Language Summit issued recommendations stressing the need to use the aesthetics of the Arabic language and its timeless masterpieces in poetry and prose, and to focus on dialects as because of their linguistic, aesthetic, and spiritual values. It called for activating the role of productive institutions in developing content specialised in early childhood and kindergartens in Arabic and activating the role of media institutions in establishing Arabic in the society and as part of the identity. It also stressed the importance of planning to enrich the content and production of Arab television and drama, through workshops in content development to create beloved Arab and international heroes.
The summit also called for the need to write a common human history as the foundation for a broad understanding of Arab culture, helping young people communicate and express themselves in their mother tongue and for promoting the use of artificial intelligence in teaching grammar and broadening perceptions of Arabic and its various dialects, and recognised the need to host exhibitions across the world to introduce Arabic aesthetics and calligraphy.
The recommendations also stressed the importance of launching scientific and cognitive research to bring colloquial dialects closer to the classical ones, stimulate studies in the identity and nature of the language, and the need to launch studies on Arabic literature and its effects on world literature and languages. The summit also urged to encourage genuine linguistic and music education of the next generation beginning in early childhood, as well as to popularise the greatest works in Arabic poetry through h musical works.
A cultural retreat to strengthen the position of the Arabic language in key domains
During the summit, a cultural retreat was organised under the patronage and in the presence of Sheikha Alyazia Bint Nahyan Al Nahyan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary for Arab Culture at the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (ALECSO), who discussed several topics related to enhancing the presence of the Arabic language and ways to develop innovative mechanisms and visions to improve its position in various domains.
The retreat included a series of specialised sessions that discussed themes such as “Language and the Worlds of Creativity”, and “Arabic Language Academies, a Future Vision”, and discussing the prospects for the Arabic language, and organising sessions that raised topics “Arabic Language and Literature”, “Arabic Language and Education Curricula”, and “Arabic Language and Youth”.
Establishing and Strengthening the Arabic Language
The retreat developed a set of recommendations that stressed the importance of supporting Arabic language academies and centers, achieving Arabic manuscripts, continuing to publish and digitise modern dictionaries, encouraging and developing studies and research, supporting the movement for translation and Arabisation, and encouraging the use of social media and contemporary technologies to further the presence, enrichment, and dissemination of the Arabic language and to provide a framework for the Arabicisation of scientific words, which will result in the complete Arabisation of curriculum.
The recommendations included encouraging research into the relationship of Arabic music and the language, and its expression of identity, and supporting Arab identity through symbols and motifs, and the heritage of decoration and architecture.
The participants also suggested enhancing the role of social media influencers in promoting the use of Arabic language among children and young people and urged institutions and entities to enact legislation and policies to use the Arabic language in internal and external communications and during meetings.
The Sheikh Zayed Book Award (SZBA) at the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), participated in the ‘Introduction to Arab Literary Criticism’ conference at the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society (ICLS) at Columbia University in New York.
The conference discussed notable issues regarding literature and literary criticism, which shed light on the beginnings of Arab literary criticism as a tangible practice in pre-modern times, the transfer of subjective approaches in contemporary Arab criticism from Morocco to the Levant, and the role of translation in the development of Arab literary criticism. The event also explored poetry and criticism in different eras, body language in Arabic literature, and other major topics in the field.
His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, noted the importance of collaboration with the prestigious Columbia University on such specialised international conferences, which he described as an important part of the literary studies in comparative critical contexts that demonstrate the nature of interactions between literature and the resulting shifts in vision and content.
The conference explored the development of rhetoric in classical Arabic poetry, educational criticism, as well as literary comparison models in the study of Suleiman al-Bustani and his translation of Homer’s Iliad, and moral and political discourse in Arab literary criticism through time.
On another note, the sessions discussed topics including ‘Poetry Stanzas in the Muqalleen Record: Constants and Variables of Arab Literary Theory’ and ‘Sites of Arabic Literature Theory’, along with theory courses.
Now in its second edition, the conference is considered to be the largest of its kind, specialising in the Arabic language and comparative studies. The event discusses the development of Arabic literature over time and analyses its various transformations in an innovative manner, with a cohort of scholars and researchers in the fields of criticism and literature.
The programme for the conference was launched in March 2021 with a virtual discussion session titled ‘Theory of Arabic Literature: Prospects and Limits’ on 19 March 2021. The first session was then organised on Columbia University campus in New York from 14 to 17 December 2021. The first edition of the conference covered a range of topics in the field of literary theory and its development, as well as key issues related to Arabic literature. Sessions also discussed contemporary challenges in Arabic literature, and the issue of decolonisation as a theory.
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), is showcasing some of its major projects, initiatives and publications with its participation at the Jeddah International Book Fair 2022.
The fair is organised by Saudi Arabia’s Literature, Publishing, and Translation Commission from 8 to 17 December at the Jeddah International Exhibition and Convention Centre.
The ALC is highlighting its various cultural projects and initiatives to reach the largest possible audiences, as well as showcasing its publications covering a variety of topics. The centre is also strengthening relations with local and Arab entities, institutions and publishing houses.
His Excellency Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, said: “Jeddah International Book Fair 2022 is an important cultural event that has a vital role in driving the inspiring intellectual and social development process in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. With its rich cultural programme, the event promotes and advances the publishing industry and the translation sector, offering the public a comprehensive view of the region’s literature and arts sectors.
“The ALC is participating in this year’s fair to highlight our latest projects and initiatives, which will strengthen the position of the Arabic language and promote it as a main pillar of Arab cultural identity. We look forward to enhancing communication with experts and stakeholders in the publishing, translation, and book industries, in an effort to come up with innovative visions that would elevate the cultural scene in the Arab region and expand its scope.”
The ALC’s presence at the Jeddah International Book Fair 2022 is advancing its vision to promote and support culture, as well as introducing the ALC’s projects and publications to the audience. The centre is also promoting Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) and working to attract Saudi universities to participate in the event.
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre has presented 450 of its publications for visitors at the Jeddah International Book Fair, along with works from the Kalima Project for Tsranslation, which aims to revive the translation movement in the Arab world, support cultural activity in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and contribute to the regional and international cultural scenes. The ALC is showcasing the latest addition to the Arabic Poetry Series project, which is the largest encyclopaedia of anthologies in Arabic poetry, including a series of 75 books so far – set to reach 100 books by the end of the year – written by researchers specialised in Arabic poetry. The series aims to revive Arab poetic heritage, a key pillar of Arab identity.
Jeddah International Book Fair brings together leaders in literature, publishing, and translation from Saudi and international institutions, along with readers and enthusiasts. More than 600 publishing houses are expected to participate in the fair, which is set to present a rich cultural programme of activities and events, including lectures, cultural workshops, and seminars with renowned experts and intellectuals, in addition to poetry evenings, theatrical performances, and educational and training corners for children.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Al Dhafra Region, the third edition of Al Dhafra Book Festival has concluded after a successful seven-day run.
The festival, previously known as the Al Dhafra Book Fair, took place under the theme ‘Celebrating a Cultural Legacy’ from 5 to 11 December at the Public Park in Zayed City in the Al Dhafra Region.
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), launched the new version of the event, transforming it into an innovative festival to enhance Abu Dhabi’s cultural agenda and connect the Al Dhafra community with its heritage and history.
The 2022 festival inspired pride, belonging and loyalty to the UAE, as well as to promoting reading, knowledge and culture in the community, empowering visitors to play an active role in the UAE’s continuous development.
In total, 41 local publishers and distributors showcased their latest books to encourage reading in the Al Dhafra community. The new format of the festival transformed it from an exhibition into an event packed with culture, education, entertainment and artistic performances.
The book fair attracted32,605 visitors, including many students and families, to enjoy the various activities at the 4,000 square-metre site in Zayed City.
His Excellency Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, said: “The remarkable success of the new edition of the Al Dhafra Book Festival highlights the creativity and culture in Abu Dhabi, while revealing how it interacts with the environment and society. It also showcases the strong cultural movement throughout the emirate, with its unique identity and national traits.
“We thank the publishers, authors, academics and partners who contributed to the success of the new edition of the Al Dhafra Book Festival with their outstanding creativity and their commitment to delivering their cultural works to readers in Al Dhafra. They are essential partners in our efforts at the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre to organise these events as a platform to strengthen Emirati values and heritage.”
With its new format, the Al Dhafra Book Festival 2022 presented a wide range of diverse literary, musical, and heritage-based activities. The programme included more than 100 activities covering various topics, most notably a series of cultural evenings titled ‘Voices Loved by the People’, which celebrated renowned poets and artists from Al Dhafra.
The festival allocated two areas for youngsters, with one dedicated to children’s workshops, performances and story readings, and another for workshops for youth. There was also an art corner, which featured exhibitions by artists, as well as art workshops held throughout the day. The event also offered visitors a chance to meet fictional characters inspired by Emirati and Arab folktales, which were brought to life with 3D models around the festival, along with a series of roaming artistic and musical performances.
The Al Dhafra Book Festival 2022 was held in partnership with the Al Dhafra Region Municipality - Department of Municipalities and Transport as a strategic partner, and Baynounah TV as a media partner.
Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Al Dhafra Region, the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), launched the Golden Narrative (Sard Al Thahab) Award at the Al Dhafra Book Festival 2022.
The award will be presented annually for the best short stories, either published or unpublished by new or emerging writers, graphic stories, and works of historical literary fiction.
The name of the Award was inspired by the poetry of the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. In his verses he uses the word ‘Sard’ (narration), to indicate discipline and consistency, while ‘Thahab’ (gold) denotes beauty and aesthetics. The name represents what the art of storytelling possesses in terms of discipline in content and form, in a way that facilitates communication and openness.
The (Sard Al Thahab) Award will preserve the art of storytelling by promoting its study and inspiring its use and expression in contemporary works. It also seeks to discover talented short story writers and publish their fictional works, while honouring established creators in the field of short stories.
By showcasing various aspects of Emirati culture, including history, notable figures, geography, folklore, the award will motivate authors to highlight the UAE’s excellence, beauty, and its historic and present achievements.
His Excellency Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, said: “The Al Dhafra Region occupies a distinguished place in the UAE’s history, so this book festival is the ideal place to launch the (Sard Al Thahab) Award. Through this award we will further our strategy to strengthen the UAE’s culture and identity, while enriching and preserving the Arabic language. We also aim to encourage creativity, and motivate Arab generations to use their imagination and express their experiences. This Award is of great significance because it draws inspiration from the art of narration in all its forms in the Arabic language, which has long been an integral part of Arab literary tradition from its earliest days.”
The Golden Narrative (Sard Al Thahab) Award is a further addition to the series of inspiring initiatives launched by the ALC, which strengthen the UAE’s position as a leading supporter of creativity, arts, and culture.
The Award includes six prize categories, including the Short Story Prize for unpublished stories, and the Short Story Collection Prize, which recognises published Emirati or Arab stories, that draw inspiration from heritage.
The Popular Narratives Prize category honours works that collect popular folktales that build a collective memory and contribute to the formation of a cultural identity, or notable studies that analyse these tales, while the Narrators and Biographers Prize celebrates narrators of popular literature and biographies from the UAE and the wider Arab world.
Other categories include the Illustrated Story Prize, which selects a narrative that relies on images in its structure, and the Emirati Storytelling Prize, which honours literary works that explore Emirati identity and are inspired by the UAE’s history, geography and symbols.
This year’s Al Dhafra Book Festival offers an intellectual programme to connect various segments of Emirati society to their heritage and aims to create a society of avid readers who can make significant contributions to the UAE’s continuous progress and development. The Festival is being held in collaboration with the Al Dhafra Region Municipality – Department of Municipalities and Transport as a strategic partner, and Baynounah TV as media partner.
Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Al Dhafra Region, the third edition of Al Dhafra Book Festival kicked off yesterday. Taking place at the Public Park in Zayed City in the Al Dhafra Region, the event runs until 9 December under the theme ‘Al Dhafra: Where Heritage Meets Prosperity’.
Al Dhafra Book Festival is a continuation of the Al Dhafra Book Fair, organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi). The 2022 edition presents a renewed version of the event, inspired by the rich local cultural heritage, which promotes a sense of belonging, encourages creativity and innovation, and celebrates literature and writers. The event aims to advance and promote the Al Dhafra Region as a key part of the UAE’s cultural scene, in addition to offering a unique platform for all segments of the community to enjoy books.
The festival will provide intellectual content that connects the various segments of Emirati society with their heritage, documenting their connection to the past to inspire pride and promote the values of belonging and loyalty to the UAE. The festival also aims to create a society of cultured and avid readers who can make significant contributions to the UAE’s continuous development and progress.
His Excellency Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, said: “Al Dhafra Book Festival aligns with our objectives at the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre to advance the status of the Arabic language and position it as a key component of Emirati identity and a pillar of UAE culture. With its new and improved format, the 2022 edition of the festival cements the ALC’s leading position in organising major cultural events that meet the highest standards and cater to the needs and requirements of the community in the Al Dhafra Region. The event also enhances the remarkable intellectual and cultural achievements of creative poets and writers, shedding light on inspiring works by renowned figures from the region.”
The 2022 edition of the festival is set to bring together 40 local publishers and distributors, who will present the latest books to encourage reading in the Al Dhafra community and provide an innovative and inspiring experience. The new format of the festival transforms it from an exhibition to an event packed with culture, education, entertainment, and artistic performances. The event aims to attract more than 15,000 visitors, including many students and families, to enjoy the various activities at the 4,000 square-metre site.
The Al Dhafra Book Festival 2022 presents a wide range of diverse literary, musical, and heritage-based activities. The programme includes more than 100 activities covering various topics, including a series of cultural evenings titled ‘Voices Loved by the People’, which will celebrate renowned and popular poets and artists from Al Dhafra.
The festival allocates two areas for children and young people’s activities, one dedicated to children’s workshops, performances, and story readings, and another for workshops for youth. The Al Dhafra Book Festival includes an art corner, which features performances by artists, as well as art workshops held throughout the day to cover numerous topics, including colour mixing, bag design, and more.
The event offers visitors a chance to meet a group of fictional characters inspired by Emirati and Arab folktales who have been brought to life with 3D models distributed across the festival. Also on the agenda is a series of roaming artistic and musical performances.
The Al Dhafra Book Festival 2022 is being held in partnership with the Al Dhafra Region Municipality - Department of Municipalities and Transport as a strategic partner, and Baynounah TV as a media partner.
Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, representative of the ruler in the Al Dhafra region. The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has announced it will be organising the Al Dhafra Book Festival 2022 from 5 to 9 December at the Public Park in Zayed City.
The festival will be held under the slogan ‘Celebrating a Cultural Legacy’, as an interpretation of the the Arabic version whichis taken from a poem by the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, where he expresses his pride and ambitions for the Al Dhafra region.
Al Dhafra Book Festival was formerly known as Al Dhafra Book Fair, which has had two previous editions organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre.
His Excellency Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, said: “Al Dhafra Book Festival 2022 is a continuation of the Al Dhafra Book Fair, of which the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre organised two editions so far. Now in its third instalment, the event is developing in parallel with the steady growth in the region’s cultural and literary community. It presents a renewed version of the event, inspired by the rich local cultural heritage, which promotes a sense of belonging, encourages creativity and innovation, and celebrates literature and writers to occupy its rightful place in the UAE’s cultural landscape, providing a unique opportunity to enjoy books in all their forms”
“Al Dhafra represents an important part of the history of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and was the scene of countless historical and social events that will remain present in the nation’s memory,” H.E. bin Tamim added. “The region was near and dear to the heart of the Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who worked to spearhead its development and wrote timeless poems about it. His widely known sung poem “Beynounah” embodied his vision for the status of Al Dhafra and its role in the UAE’s journey towards growth and prosperity – a journey we are still on today, guided by our wise leadership, to make our country one of the most developed in the world and home to an ever-growing list of achievements and successes.”
This year’s Al Dhafra Book Festival seeks to provide intellectual content to connect the various segments of Emirati society with their authentic heritage, documenting the links to the past to inspire pride and promote the values of belonging and loyalty to the UAE. The festival also aims to create a society of avid readers who can make significant contributions to the UAE’s continuous development and progress. It reflects the ALC’s objectives to strengthen the position of the Arabic language as a key component of Emirati identity and culture.
The 2022 edition of the festival will feature around 40 local publishers and distributors, who will present their latest works. The new format of the festival transforms it into a celebration full of cultural, educational, and entertainment events and artistic performances. Around 15,000 visitors, including school students, are expected to attend to enjoy the various activities at the 4,000 square meter site in Zayed City.
The programme will feature more than 100 activities, including a series of cultural evenings titled ‘celebrated Voices, which will celebrate renowned and popular poets and artists from Al Dhafra.
The festival has two areas for young people’s activities, one dedicated to children’s workshops, performances, and story readings, and another for workshops for youth. The Al Dhafra Book Festival includes an art corner that will feature performances by artists, as well as art workshops held throughout the day. There will also be roaming artistic and musical performances, allowing visitors to meet a group of fictional characters inspired by Emirati and Arab folktales that have been brought to life with 3D models.
Al Dhafra Book Festival 2022 is being held in collaboration with the Al Dhafra Region Municipality – Department of Municipalities and Transport as a strategic partner, and Baynounah TV as media partner.
The Kalima Project, an initiative of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has organised a cultural session titled ‘Kalima for Children’.
The event at the Children’s Library in the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation aimed to spark the children’s imagination to help them develop positive long-lasting reading habits. The agenda included a storytelling session featuring two titles translated from German: ‘Sola the Calf’ and ‘My Mother, the Superhero’.
Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji, Acting Executive Director of the ALC, said: “The Kalima for Children event reflects our commitment at the ALC to creating a well-read, educated and knowledgeable younger generation. We aim to develop children’s skills in innovative ways that help connect them with books, while encouraging them to read and empowering them to make a positive contribution to their country’s advancement.
“The event also reflects the Kalima Project’s commitment to enriching literary content in Arabic. This offers a platform to empower the Arabic language as a symbol of national identity and a language of creativity and culture, and creates opportunities for Arab children to access major international publications, which helps them grow into a generation comfortable in interacting with world cultures, while preserving their own identity and culture.”
The Kalima Project is an ambitious initiative by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, in 2007 to revive the translation movement in the Arab world and support cultural activities taking place in Abu Dhabi. The project serves to advance the emirate’s role on the regional and international cultural scenes, setting the stage for a widespread Arab scientific and cultural renaissance built around books. It also facilitates the organisation of various events and activities related to translation.
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), is participating this week in the Kuwait International Book Fair 2022, one of the largest events of its kind in the region.
Taking place from 16 to 26 November, the fair is organised by the National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature (NCCAL) in Kuwait. As well as an exhibition, the event includes a series of seminars, lectures, and poetry evenings, which provide a platform for interaction between writers, publishers, and readers.
Through its participation, the ALC aims to further cooperation with stakeholders in the publishing and book fair sectors, while also highlighting its initiatives, projects and activities in publishing, translating books and digitization.
As well as displaying 300 of its works, the ALC is participating in a wide range of activities, including seminars, book launches, workshops and meetings, to promote its programmes and projects. The event is also an opportunity to attract Kuwaiti publishers to participate in the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) 2023.
The ALC has highlighted the publications that are part of the Kalima Project, which aims to revive the translation movement in the Arab world, foster an active cultural effort in Abu Dhabi, and enrich the regional and international cultural scene.
The Centre will discuss the important role of the prestigious literary prizes it organises, including the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, launched to celebrate the accomplishments of creators around the world, and the Kanz Al Jeel (Treasured Sayings) Award, which honours Nabati poetic works, as well as folk studies and research. The award is given to scholars and creators who present works that celebrate the heritage and values of Nabati poetry.
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has announced the recipients of the ‘Spotlight on Rights’ grant programme, which supports translations from and to the Arabic language, as well as production of digital and audio titles.
all for applications was ed in May 2022during the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF More than 2,000 applications were received, from the 1,037 received last year. So far this year, 135 applicants have received support, with 71 publishing houses from 16 countries benefitting from the programme.
His Excellency Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, : “The we have seen among publishers from all around the world for the ‘Spotlight on ight’ programme our at the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre to encourage talented Arab writers, translators, and audio-visual content rs. Arabic generate interest in learning the language among native speakers and non-speakers. The programme intellectual property rights in the region digital content.”
Since its launch in 2009, the programme has strengthened between the ALC and Arab and international publishers, more than 900 books with over 120 publishers across various categories, including children’s , science, history, and social sciences, among others.
The ‘Spotlight on Rights' grant programme supports the ALC’s to knowledge in Arabic and other languages. also encourages the exchange of rights between Arab and international publishing houses, to translate works from and to Arabic, and s opportunity to long-term with publishers participating in the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.
The offer for printed book translated to or from Arabiche grants for conversion from print to e-book are AED 7,400 for each book.
About Al Ain Book Festival
Founded in 2000, the Al Ain Book Festival - formerly known as the Al Ain Book Fair - celebrates Al Ain’s rich cultural heritage and the inspiring work of Emirati writers, intellectuals and creatives, past and present. Rebranded in 2022, the Festival, organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre under the auspices of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, delivers a diverse programme which aims to foster the culture of reading and inspire people to connect with Emirati heritage, culture and creativity by bringing Emirati stories to life through poetry, performance, film, art and music for everyone, especially young people.
About the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, established following a directive from His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, works to support Arabic language development and modernisation through comprehensive strategies and frameworks, enrich the scientific, educational, cultural and creative contributions of the Arabic language, promote Arabic language proficiency and cultural understanding, and support Arab talents in the fields of writing, translation, publishing, scientific research, arts, content creation and organisation of book fairs. The Centre works to realise its foundational vision through dedicated programmes, human expertise, and meaningful partnerships with the world’s most prestigious technical, cultural, and academic institutions.
About the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi
The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) drives the sustainable growth of Abu Dhabi's culture, tourism and creative sectors, fuels economic progress and helps achieve Abu Dhabi's wider global ambitions. By working in partnership with the organisations that define the emirate's position as a leading international destination, DCT Abu Dhabi strives to unite the ecosystem around a shared vision of the emirate's potential, coordinate effort and investment, deliver innovative solutions, and use the best tools, policies, and systems to support the culture and tourism industries.
DCT Abu Dhabi's vision is defined by the emirate's people, heritage, and landscape. We work to enhance Abu Dhabi's status as a place of authenticity, innovation, and unparalleled experiences, represented by its living traditions of hospitality, pioneering initiatives and creative thought.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Al Ain Region, Al Ain Book Festival 2022 has concluded after welcoming 74,519 visitors at five cultural locations across the city.
The 13th edition, themed 'All Eyes on Al Ain', ran from 14 to 20 November and highlighted the UAE’s rich cultural heritage, while promoting Al Ain as a leader for the creative industries in the region.
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), conceived the new vision for the event, which was formerly known as Al Ain Book Fair.
The ALC curated a stellar events programme aimed at celebrating and highlighting the work of Emirati and Arab writers and creatives, both past and present.
With 130 exhibitors, the inaugural festival exceeded expectations, providing dynamic, collaborative and inspiring for adults and children alike. The Festival hosted more than 300 activities, including over 70 performances, 55 cultural seminars and activities, and over 200 children’s workshops and activities.
Throughout the week, Al Ain Square at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium was the Festival’s hub, hosting live music, performances, art shows and children’s workshops Other activities took place at Zayed Central Library, Qasr Al Muwaiji, Bait Mohammed bin Khalifa and the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU).
Earlier this year, the ALC announced publishers would be exempt from paying rental fees to the key book fairs and festivals it organises.
The decision was part of the strategy to drive growth in the publishing sector in the Arab world, as well as to enhance recovery and support local and international publishers.
His Excellency Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, said: “The Al Ain Book Festival, in its revamped edition, has been a great success in supporting our publishers, artists and authors, while also showcasing our rich Emirati culture and heritage. Through this, we have continued our mandate to advance the Arabic language, while ensuring the destination of Abu Dhabi hosts a packed calendar of inspiring and informative events.”
The Festival’s Highlight Events
During Al Ain Book Fair 2022, thousands of visitors enjoyed events across different cultural programmes with appearances by numerous high-profile literary figures and artists. The Main Stage Programme featured musical performances celebrating both Arab and global cultures, including folk music and roaming entertainment shows. Some of the visitors’ favourites were the Lady of Fairy Tales stage show, the hypnotic Tanoura Dancers, the spectacular Chinese Dragon Show, the Golden Carnival and the traditional performance of the African Kodzo Drummers.
The Festival also celebrated the 52nd National Day of Oman on 18 November. For the occasion, Omani folklore groups performed throughout the day and the festival was visited by the Oman National football team. The celebrations then culminated in a musical evening with renowned oud musician Faisal Al Sari.
An Inspiring Children’s Programme
As part of the Children’s Programme, more than 200 activities were held during the festival, including storytelling and art workshops organised by the Abu Dhabi Children’s Library, the colourful Peter Pan Stage Show at Al Ain Square, and a Character Design Workshop with Emirati Manga artist Asma Alromaithi, also known as Asami Art.
Among the favourite activities for children and families was the Knowledge Challenge, which tested their understanding of Arabic literature and culture, Making Slime, and Music Drawing With Gerald Mercier. Children also could learn about music in the workshops organised by the Emirati pianist Iman Al Hashemi, while teenagers were given the chance to discover the future of Artificial Intelligence in the daily workshops, and enjoy the digital corner activities.
An Educational Triumph
Al Ain Book Festival provided a platform to showcase and support Arabic culture and creativity, especially among students, researchers and educators. During the Festival, the ALC and the UAE University (UAEU) signed an agreement to collaborate on a range of cultural and educational projects that promote the Arabic language.
The UAEU also hosted literary and culture seminars such as Emirati Children's Literature: Between Inspiration from Heritage and Looking to the Future, and Forts of Abu Dhabi, Their History, Features and Functions.
Education was also a key part of the programme at Bait Mohammad Bin Khalifa, with events such as How Do We Prepare Our Children for Education? and A Creative Family: Looking at Ways to Nurture and Inspire Creativity. Additionally, as part of Men’s Health Awareness month, the Festival hosted a campaign of different activities, such as a walk around Hazza bin Zayed Stadium partnering with Al Ain Club and the Faculty of Medicine at UAEU. The activities also included the celebration of International Students' Day hosted by the UAE Students Association.
A Platform to Champion Arabic Poetry
Arabic poetry was a huge feature of the festival. A spectacular pre-opening concert took place at Al Jahili Fort on Saturday 12 November enjoyed by 1,700 attendees, where the performers, including Hamad Al-Amri, sang renditions of traditional Nabati poetry.
The Festival also hosted the prize ceremony of the first- ever Kanz Al Jeel (Treasured Sayings) Awards.
Launched earlier this year by the ALC, the awards celebrated the increasing popularity of Nabati poetry, while honouring the legacy of the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who cemented the literary genre in the hearts and minds of Emiratis and Arabs. The six winners, from four different countries, each contributed to keeping this important poetic legacy alive through their excellent work.
A Roll Call of Talented Speakers
The AABF 2022 welcomed over 120 guest speakers and moderators who enriched the festival’s programme with their wide-ranging experience and expertise. These included the inspirational Asma Seddiq Al-Mutawa, Founder and President of the women’s book club Salon Al-Multaqa, who moderated several panel discussions. The poet Sheikha Al Mutairi also hosted the panel discussion Shining Female Role Models, Emirati Women in Community Service. Dr. Parween Habib, the r media professional and author, hosted a session with the author and media expert Dr. Aysha Al Busmait about her unique experience in adopting her daughters, as reflected in her book titled Motherhood by Choice.
Al Ain Book Festival is due to return on 14 November 2023 with an exciting new programme of discussions, workshops, performances and activities.
Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in Al Ain Region, Al Ain Book Festival 2022 was launched today , which for the first time ever takes place across five cultural sites across the city.
The annual event, previously organised as a Book Fair, has been reinvigorated by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC) with a dynamic free-of-charge events programme celebrating the work of Emirati and Arab writers and creatives, past and present.
A spectacular pre-opening concert took place at Al Jahili Fort on Saturday 12 November with performances by renowned Arab singers. Throughout the week, the Al Ain Square at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium will be the hub of the Festival, hosting live music, performances, art shows and children’s activities.
The key Festival sites include Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, Zayed Central Library, Qasr Al Muwaiji, Bait Mohammed Bin Khalifa, and the UAE University. Al Jimi Mall, Al Ain Mall and Bawadi Mall will also host ‘Book Closet’ events.
The Festival is organised by the ALC, part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), as part of its mission to preserve and promote the Arabic language and Emirati culture, with a renewed focus on Al Ain as a cultural and creative hub for the region.
Throughout the week, highlight events include ‘Sung Poetry’, a beautifully curated series of daily poetry evenings at the Qasr Al Muwaiji (Muwaiji Palace); live music from around the world, theatrical performances, and a children’s programme including arts and crafts workshops, storytelling and competitions, all hosted in Al Ain Square at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium. There will also be inspiring Arabic-language cultural seminars on topics such as ‘Female role models’ at Bait Mohammed Bin Khalifa.
His Excellency Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, said: “The Al Ain Book Festival is a vital platform to celebrate the work of Emirati writers, intellectuals and innovators, and through this annual event the ALC seeks to nurture a culture of reading that is inherent to Emirati heritage and values. The reinvigorated Festival programme is also an opportunity to promote a strong sense of community in young Emiratis and inspire the values of culture and creativity that are integral to the UAE. The Festival aims to offer something for everyone and highlights Abu Dhabi’s leading position in producing major cultural events at the highest regional and international standards.”
Under the slogan ‘All Eyes on Al Ain’, the 13th edition of the event will shine a new light on Al Ain’s rich cultural heritage. Home to the UAE’s first UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Al Ain is not only the birthplace of the UAE’s Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, but also of renowned poets who helped to keep Nabati poetry alive – an ancient and increasingly popular form of Arabic poetry. The Festival celebrates their work while also reviving legendary characters from Arabic folktales for a new generation through interactive installations.
Through a transformed programme spanning literature, performance, music, film and sport, AABF invites visitors of all ages and interests to rediscover the joys of reading.
Key events include:
Pre-Opening Concert, Al-Jahili Fort - 12 November
Three internationally acclaimed singers in the Arab world performed at a special concert to kick-off the Al Ain Book Festival 2022 celebrations on Saturday in star-studded style. The singers included Emirati artist Hamad Al-Amri, Saudi rising star Arwa, and Lebanese singer Abeer Nehma, reflecting the cultural diversity of the Arabic event.
Sung Poetry, Qasr Al Muwaiji - Every evening
The majestic Qasr Al Muwaiji located in central Al Ain will present a series of daily Arabic-language poetry evenings celebrating eleven renowned poets from the city who transformed Nabati poems into songs. The public can learn about each of the poets and hear beautiful recitals by leading creatives and scholars from across the UAE, as well as renditions by well-known Arab singers.
Main Stage Programme, Al Ain Square, Hazza bin Zayed Stadium - Daily
The main stage at the Festival’s hub, in Al Ain Square at Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium, hosts diverse performances around the clock, including live music, traditional folklore shows, puppet theatre, theatrical performances, scientific shows, meet-and-greet sessions with talented children and book signings with acclaimed authors.
As well as activities for all the family, visitors will discover the all-important showcase of publishers from across the Arab world at the Stadium.
Mobile Entertainment Shows, Al Ain Square, Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium - Daily
Experience the cultures of different peoples through live musical performances by the likes of Emirati and Omani folk bands, African drummers, Egyptian Tannoura dancers and more.
Sculpture Corner, Al Ain Square, Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium - Every evening
Professional sculptors will showcase their work, offering budding artists the chance to ask them questions and learn about their experiences. Look out for the internationally acclaimed Lebanese artist Bassam Kyrillos, among the Arab artists exhibiting. The corner also includes free drawing workshops for children aged 8-12 years.
Children’s Corner, Al Ain Square, Hazza bin Zayed Stadium - Daily
A wonderful range of activities combining learning and fun will inspire children to create and innovate, from storytelling to scientific and artistic workshops, music sessions to challenges and competitions.
Cultural Tech Activities, Al Ain Square, Hazza bin Zayed Stadium - Daily
A programme for children and teens integrates culture and technology, offering unique experience in the worlds of metaverse. Enjoy reading stories, playing with robots, and an AI workshop.
Literary and Cultural Seminars, UAE University (Morning) and Bait Mohammed bin Khalifa (Evening)
For Arabic speakers, a compelling programme of seminars and workshops will take place each morning at the United Arab Emirates University and every evening at Bait Mohammed bin Khalifa featuring authors and artists as well as cultural and civic leaders.
At the University, panel discussions focus on creative topics ranging from non-commercial Arab cinema to Emirati Children's Literature, while the Bait Mohammed bin Khalifa is hosting seminars on wide-ranging issues such as female role models and sustainable innovation.
Visitors can also meet the winners of the ALC’s new international poetry prize, ‘Kanz Al Jeel’ or The Treasured Sayings Award on 15 November at the Bait Mohammed bin Khalifa.
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre is leading the organisation of the multi-site event with the support of its partners including its strategic partners, the Al Ain Club and United Arab Emirates University, media partner the Abu Dhabi Media Company, and logistics sponsor, Tawzea Distribution and Logistics Services.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC) has announced the six winners of its inaugural Treasured Sayings (Kanz Al Jeel) Award.
The winners will be be presented at a ceremony at the Zayed Central Library on the 16 November at 6pm during the Al Ain Book Fair 2022 (14-20 November).
Launched earlier this year by the ALC, part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, the award celebrates the legacy of the increasingly popular tradition of Nabati poetry. The committee received a total of 234 submissions from 20 different countries across six categories.
The winners of the Treasured Sayings Award 2022 are:
⦁ Poet Obaid bin Qadlan Al Mazrouei (UAE) in the Poetry Matching category for his work, which was characterised by its ability to identify with the atmosphere of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s poetry
⦁ Poet Salem Saif Al-Khaaldi (UAE) in the Poetic Publications category for his collection (Good Heart) comprising 220 poetic verses, published by Hamaleel Publishing in 2022, which was distinguished for its artistic and linguistic interdependence, which reveals the depth of the poet’s experience and his mastery of the tools of the Nabataean poem
⦁ Artist Abdelkader Daoudi (Algeria) in the Arts category for his painting titled (God has given us Good and Grace), which innovatively portrays the poetry of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
⦁ Dr. Ayesha Ali Al Ghais (UAE) in the Studies and Research category for her book (The Initiation of Excellence in Emirati Nabati Poetry: A Critical Study), published by Aldhabi Publishing in 2022, which is an appraisal of a number of Nabataean poems by the greatest Emirati poets from the nineteenth century to the present day
⦁ Dr Khaled Al-Masri (Jordan/USA) in the Translation category was for his translated book Smile, may your life smile: from the pioneers of wisdom, leadership and love, featuring the poems of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
⦁ Orientalist and diplomat Marcel Kurpershoek (Netherlands) in the Creative Personality category for his dedication in studying Nabati poetry over more than a quarter of a century.
His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, warmly congratulated the winners of the first edition, wishing them continued success. He said: “The Treasured Sayings Award is an inspiring cultural award that stimulates literary creativity in the country and the region and celebrates the important poetic contributions of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and his influence on contemporary Arabic poetry. The Treasured Sayings Award will have a great impact on motivating creators in various fields to present quality works inspired by or related to Nabati poetry and its legacy, and to explore new and innovative ways to experiment with poetic compositions.”
Eissa Saif Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the Higher Committee of the Treasured Sayings Award and Vice Chairman of Abu Dhabi’s Cultural and Heritage Programmes & Festivals Management Committee, pointed to the resounding success of the first cycle of the award. He especially highlighted the wide turnout of participants in various fields of literature and from all over the world. He said: “This confirms the originality and importance of the poetic and literary work of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who established an important hub for creators, translators, artists and critics of different nationalities and ethnicities, and contributed to launching a new creative movement that enriches the literary scene and reflects the noble values rooted in the Emirati society.”
Al Mazrouei also congratulated the winners of the first edition, expressing his appreciation of their outstanding creative contributions and works, and inviting authors from all over the world to participate in the next editions of the award.
Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, The Ruler's Representative in the Al Ain region, the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, has announced that the 13th edition of the Al Ain Book Festival (AABF), previously known as a ‘Book Fair’, will take place from 14 to 20 November. For the first time, the event will occur across five sites in Al Ain including the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, Zayed Central Library, Qasr Al Muwaiji (Muwaiji Fort), Bait Mohammed Bin Khalifa, and the UAE University.
Under the slogan ‘All Eyes on Al Ain’, the event will return to the city, known as the birthplace of the Founding Father of the UAE, the capital’s ‘garden city’ and home to the UAE’s first UNESCO World Heritage Sites. With a renewed mission to not only shine a light on Al Ain’s heritage and Emirati culture, but also to nurture a culture of reading, the Festival will celebrate the work of Emirati and Arab writers, creatives, and intellectuals, both past and present.
Through a transformed events programme, spanning literature, performance, music, film and sport, the Festival will bring Emirati stories to life and celebrate the Arabic language in all its forms. Stories and voices from beyond the UAE will also be celebrated in the ambitious programme.
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), which is leading the organisation of the multi-site event with the support of its sponsors including its strategic partners, the Al Ain Club and Al Ain University, media partner the Abu Dhabi Media Company, and logistics sponsor, Tawzea Distribution & Logistics Services, is part of the Centre’s wider mission to preserve Arab heritage, promote the development of the Arabic language, and equally to deliver ambitious events that support the creative and cultural industries in the UAE.
Dr Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of ALC, said: "The new spirit of the Al Ain Book Festival departs from the traditional role of book fairs as primarily platforms for buying and selling books, in favour of a distinctly interactive cultural celebration that shines a light on Emirati culture and creativity. The Festival will be open to everyone with a special focus on young people, and the newly expanded visitor offering will showcase the work of Arab writers, artists and creatives that enrich our society today.”
Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji, Acting Executive Director of ALC, said: “This year’s Al Ain Book Festival will engage a community of readers in a much more diverse and dynamic way, encapsulating a new chapter for the annual event. Reaffirming the central position of Al Ain on the cultural map, the festival will welcome 110 exhibitors and potentially more than 35,000 visitors to different locations across the city. As part of the festival’s long tradition of promoting literature and culture, the event will celebrate the heritage, writing and language of the UAE and Arab world.”
Across the multi-site Festival, visitors can expect a huge range of events and activities designed for all tastes and age groups. Panel discussions, live music, shows and performances, seminars, workshops, sports activities, and heritage events will all provide a unique platform to explore all areas of Emirati culture and creativity.
The Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium will serve as the hub of the festival, hosting a multi-faceted Children and Youth Programme and a dynamic Arts Programme, as well as the all-important Publisher wings - an inspirational showcase of publishing in the Arab world today.
The stadium will host 70 performances, including folk and heritage shows that highlight the beauty of popular music around the world, as well as dance and comedy shows. Visitors can expect to see and hear the Syrian, Dubai-based handpan player Anas Alhalabi, and Emirati, Egyptian, and Omani folklore brought to life at the stadium.
A series of 49 cultural seminars will be hosted across four Festival locations as part of the cultural programme. Discussion topics spanning heritage, family, children, sport, history, arts, sustainability, literature and poetry will offer something for all age groups and levels of expertise. Some of the questions to be explored across the cultural programme, include ‘What do we mean by the concept of youth empowerment?’; ‘Does the art of fiction come with training or talent?’; and ‘What is behind representations of the Emirati burqa in popular culture?’
Qasr Al Muwaiji will also host one of the Festival’s highlight programmes, the “Sung word: The Eleven Poets of Al-Ain” to celebrate the legacy of Nabati poetry and timeless sung poems, famous locally and across the Arab world. Thanks to cultural phenomena such as the TV Programme the Million's Poet, the oral tradition of Nabati poetry dates back to the 14th century, and has become increasingly popular today. The Festival will spotlight young and veteran talent inspired by Al Ain’s great poets.
During the seven-day Festival, young people, families and children will discover more than 200 activities, designed to inspire creativity and innovation, ranging from arts and crafts workshops to storytelling, puppet shows and science and engineering projects. The Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium and Zayed Central Library in particular will offer programmes geared towards the younger generation.
Visitors will discover spectacular kinetic installations which recreate prominent fictional characters from Emirati and ancient Arab folklore, such as Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, the magical Coconut Tree, the Bird Beast, and Sea Giant. Audiences will be invited to get the full character experience with the use of augmented reality and discover the hidden details that complete the story of each protagonist.
A programme dedicated to Arab cinema will showcase young emerging Emirati filmmakers and offer workshops and discussions such as Creative Writing for children’s films, and how to reach audiences in non-commercial cinema, led by renowned film directors and creatives such as Nujoom Alghanem and Nasser Al Dhaheri.
As part of ALC’s wider programme of cultural initiatives, the Festival programme champions current and future talent across the cultural and creative industries, and aims to foster a widespread culture of reading.
The Zayed Central Library, will notably host the “Kanz Al Jeel” (Treasured Sayings) Award Ceremony on 15 November to honour the winners of the first edition of this initiative launched earlier this year by the ALC. Across six prize categories aimed at poets, writers, translators, and scholars, the Award celebrates the legacy of the increasingly popular oral and literary tradition of Nabati poetry.
The Festival will also host an event to mark the launch of a long-term partnership between the ALC and the UAE University. The multi-faceted collaboration will promote knowledge and skills sharing, including educational initiatives and cultural events.
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), launched a series of music books at a ceremony yesterday as part of the Centre’s participation at Frankfurt Book Fair 2022.
Consisting of a number of publications, the series is a notable addition to the ALC’s roster of publications and focusses on Emirati and Arab singing and music. It includes biographies of artists Eid Al-Faraj and Ibrahim Jumaa written by author Ibrahim Al-Hashemi, a book on Umm Kulthum’s reasons for selecting the poems she sang, alongside a variety of other titles, including educational books.
The launch ceremony was attended by His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, and Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji, Acting Executive Director of the ALC and Director of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF), along with media representatives and book enthusiasts.
“The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre continues to drive the advancement of the Arabic language and enrich the Arabic library with original titles in an effort to encourage creativity and support authors,” said Al Tunaiji. “The series of music books we have launched is a means to shed renewed light on music and singing in the region. For the first time, the series presents biographies of musical pioneers in the UAE, in addition to documenting traditional performing arts and exploring new perspectives on Arabic singing by experts.”
The series includes two books from the ‘Pioneers Among Us’ initiative, where poet and writer Ibrahim Al-Hashemi documents the life of Eid Al-Faraj, a singer, composer, and poet. The first biography of its kind for this artist, it chronicles Al-Faraj’s journey from birth through childhood, education, and various stages of his career until the present time, illustrated by a collection of photographs.
In the second book, Ibrahim Jumaa: The Etheric Melody of the Sea, Al-Hashemi presents the life and achievements of a pioneer of music and composition in the UAE, and documents the songs and poems he wrote, composed, and presented at festivals and special occasions. The publication features photographs from Jumaa’s life, showcasing the awards and honours he received during his career.
“This music book collection completes the book series we previously launched at the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre,” added Al Tunaiji. “These works, wherein Emirati authors document the lives and professional careers of UAE musical pioneers, will greatly enrich the regional cultural scene and promote more in-depth research into the UAE’s musical heritage. The series offers a new perspective on Arab musical heritage, which is sure to spark new dialogue around it.”
The collection includes Dr. Hamad bin Sarai’s book Wahhabi Art: Kinetic and Verbal Performance from Emirati Folklore, which consists of field research documenting a form of folk performance art closely related to the agricultural environment, through interviews with people who practice the artform.
Meanwhile, the Encyclopaedia of Sung Poems, compiled by researcher Dr. Hammad Al Khatri, includes poems sung in the UAE, which are usually closer to popular taste and extend deep into the history of the community. The poems address phenomena and symbols from the surrounding environment and embody authentic Emirati vocabulary that expresses the culture of the people.
In the book Folk Songs for Children and Women in the United Arab Emirates, Dr. Fatima Al Mazrouei tries to remedy the lack of documentation of traditional folk songs, especially in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, where she collected many songs for her book which were never previously featured in published songbooks. The author also sought to collect children’s songs – often referred to as ‘Al-Ragousat’ in Abu Dhabi – in addition to songs about names, especially girls’ names.
Writing about the connection between Umm Kulthum and Arabic poetry, Dr. Ahmed Youssef Ali’s book Umm Kulthum: Poetry and Singing chronicles the legendary singer’s efforts to elevate Arabic song by performing the works of some of the greatest poets of her time and before. Umm Kulthum had a modest upbringing, only receiving religious education and being taught traditional culture, but her exceptional taste allowed her to select the poetic texts that would best serve her songs, sometimes rearranging the verses for the greatest effect.
Egyptian composer and researcher Hassan Zaki Shehata sheds light on four composers whose works have achieved tremendous success and fame in his book Rhythms of Light: A Musical Biography of Four of the Geniuses of Oriental Melody, where he analyses the works of Ahmed Sedqi, Abdel Azim Abdel Haq, Mahmoud Al Sharif, and Ali Ismail.
The collection also presents two books by composer and music researcher Muhammad Saeed Hegab. ‘The Flute: A Morsel of Cane with a Scent of Legends traces the history of the flute in an attempt to separate reality from the myths that were associated with the instrument in ancient times. The author lists the various forms of the flute and the phonetic differences between them, highlights the importance of the flute in different cultures, and explains how the instrument is manufactured and played. Meanwhile, Hegab’s The World of Bowed Instruments traces the history of string-based, bow-using instruments back to their beginnings and explores the evolution of the various families of bowed instruments. The book focusses on the instruments’ use in the musical traditions of the Arab region and similar traditions in neighbouring cultures, offering an overview of how they are made and played.
In Iraqi Musical Heritage and Civilisational Communication, Dr. Muhammad Hussein Kamer, a professor of sciences and musical theory and an expert in the al-gouza and Iraqi maqam instruments, explores the subjects of cultural communication, the connection between modern and traditional music, music education, and music learning in schools. The author discusses traditional Iraqi music, focussing on the al-gouza instrument, and offers detailed studies on the Iraqi maqam, its history, types, and characteristics.
Music researcher Bassam Abdel-Sattar’s educational book The Qanun Instrument includes an introduction to the oriental instrument and its components, highlights its role in the traditional school of music, details
its musical range. The publication includes lessons and technical exercises for playing the instrument, as well as a practical guide directed at musicians who play the qanun or are looking to learn it.
The collection also features The Medium in the Rules and Theories of Arabic Music, a theoretical and applied study of the rules and theories of Arabic music, written by Egyptian author Ahmed Youssef Al-Taweel, Professor and Vice Dean of the Higher Institute of Arabic Music at the Academy of Arts.
The History of Music in Arabia and Andalusia, written by Julian Ribera and translated by Hussein Hassan, is being reprinted. The book highlights the role of the Muslims of Andalusia in preserving music and passing it down to later generations, where its legacy inspired numerous European musicians.
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC) organised the inaugural Publishing Industry Forum, an event for the Emirates Publishers Association, at the St. Regis Abu Dhabi on DATE. The forum aimed to support the promotion of the Arabic language and efforts to create Arabic content, and showcased local and international ALC publishing projects as well as its initiatives to support Emirati publishers.
The event was attended by His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji, Acting Executive Director of the ALC, and His Excellency Rashid Al Kous, Executive Director of the Emirates Publishers Association, along with 50 Emirati publishers specialising in children’s and young adult literature, e-book and audiobook publishers, literary agencies, copyright trade professionals, and translators, in addition to representatives from the ALC’s various departments.
Al Tunaiji said, “The publishing sector has faced many challenges in recent years, which has required stakeholders and relevant authorities to mobilise efforts and clearly outline the future of the industry. The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre is committed to developing systems for the publishing sector at the local and international levels, providing support to writers and publishers and promoting their work across global markets. The Publishing Industry Forum with the Emirates Publishers Association is a continuation of these efforts, helping to strengthen communication between industry players so that stakeholders can remain on top of developments and address any challenges that may arise.”
HE. Rashid Al Kous said, “This forum has given the global community of publishers a meaningful new opportunity to present recommendations which they believe will fuel necessary efforts for modern technology uptake to continue growing and advancing our industry. The forum’s participants from our region can harness and customise the recommendations to benefit their businesses while diversifying their content into ebook and audiobook formats, particularly in the children’s and young adult genres, since these have come up as central discussion themes along with translations, book marketing, fairs and festivals.
“The Arabic language will always be the primary medium for the transmission of our deep-rooted history and cultural identity, while also serving as a protector of our identity for generations to come. Therefore, the role that Emirati and Arab publishers play in achieving these goals cannot be overstated. Through their contributions, they are turning the local and regional publishing industry into an inclusive cultural ecosystem that continually promotes learning among Arab readers in their mother tongue.”
The forum assessed the current state of the Emirati publishing industry and the challenges it faces, shedding light on publishers’ aspirations and their proposed solutions to sector-wide issues. The event highlighted the role of book fairs and their impact on the industry, with attendees exploring ways to revamp the professional programme for the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2023 and discussing Al Dhafra Book Fair’s prospects for development.
Other topics of discussion included modern marketing mechanisms and the multitude of channels for print, digital, and audio publications. The forum also spotlighted the outcomes of the first International Congress of Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries, as well as the successes of the ALC’s regular participation at various international book fairs.
Organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), the Sheikh Zayed Book Award (SZBA) has opened submissions for its 17th edition. The submission period will run until 1 October, 2022.
This announcement follows the success of the 16th edition, which received the largest number of submissions across its nine categories since its inception, with more than 3,000 submissions from 55 countries, including 20 Arab countries and 35 international countries – an increase of 28 percent from the 15th edition. The SZBA classifies submissions into nine categories: Literature, Translation, Contribution to the Development of Nations, Arab Culture in Other Languages, Children’s Literature, Literary and Art Criticism, Young Author, Publishing and Technology, and Cultural Personality of the Year.
“The Sheikh Zayed Book Award continues to make strides towards enriching Arab culture, and today, we are on the verge of a new chapter for the initiative, where it continues to embrace innovators and creative thinkers from around the world,” said HE Dr Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC and Secretary-General of the SZBA. “The Award is now one of the most respected of its kind, as proven by the unprecedented number of nominees in its most recent edition, where writers and thinkers from various fields competed for the prize. This year, we again look forward to receiving a host of imaginative and enlightening new works for upcoming edition.”
The Award receives self-nominations from authors, as well as submissions from publishing houses, which can nominate books they have published with written consent from the authors. Nominated works must meet a set of criteria to be submitted for consideration for the SZBA. All nominated works must have been published within the past two years and must not have won any prominent international awards. Original nominated works should be written in Arabic, with the exception of works nominated under the Translation category, which must be translated to or from Arabic, and submissions under the Arab Culture in Other Languages category, where works published in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Russian are accepted. For the Cultural Personality of the Year award, entrants must be nominated by academic, research, or cultural institutions; literary bodies and universities; or by three prominent intellectual and cultural figures. Nominees for all other categories are required to personally fill out the nomination forms on the SZBA website.
Nominees can submit their submissions to the Sheikh Zayed Book Award and access more information about the process on the official SZBA website www.zayedaward.ae or by emailing email@example.com.
The 16th edition of the Award honoured winners across eight categories: In the Literature category, the Award went to Emirati author Maisoon Saqer for her book ‘Maq’ha Reesh, Ain Ala Massr (Eye on Egypt: Café Riche)’, published by Nahdet Misr Publishing in 2021, while Syrian writer Maria Dadouch won in the Children’s Literature category for her novel ‘Loghz al Kora al Zujajiya (The Mystery of the Glass Ball)’, published by Dar Al-Saqi in 2021. Dr. Mohamed Al-Maztouri from Tunisia won in the Young Author category with his book ‘Al Badawa fi al She’er al Arabi al Qadeem’ (Bedouinism in Ancient Arabic Poetry), a study issued by the Faculty of Literature, Arts and Humanities at Manouba University and the GLD Foundation (Al-Atrash Complex for Specialised Books) in 2021.
The Translation category saw Dr. Ahmed Aladawi from Egypt win the Award for his work on translating ‘Nash’at al Insaniyat Einda al Muslimeen wa fi al Gharb al Maseehi’ (The Rise of Humanism in Classical Islam and the Christian West) by George Makdisi from English to Arabic, which was published by Madarat for Research and Publishing in 2021. Meanwhile, Moroccan author Mohamed Aldahi’s book ‘Al Sarid wa Taw’am al Rooh: Min al Tamtheel ila al Istinaa’ (The Narrator and the Soulmate: From Acting to Faking) – issued by Le Centre Culturel du Livre in 2021 – won in the Art & Literary Criticism category.
The Arab Culture in Other Languages category saw Dr. Muhsin J. Al-Musawi from Iraq and the USA win for his book ‘The Arabian Nights in Contemporary World Cultures: Global Commodification, Translation, and the Culture Industry’, issued by Cambridge University Press in 2021, while the Award for Publishing & Technology went to Bibliotheca Alexandrina (the Library of Alexandria) in Egypt.
The ‘Cultural Personality of the Year’ accolade was awarded to renowned Saudi thinker Dr. Abdullah Al-Ghathami in recognition of his notable contributions, studies and research projects that enriched the cultural movement in the region and the Arab world.
Kalima Reading Club, part of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), organised a series of events in ongoing efforts to engage the community with activities and initiatives that promote reading as a habit, and encourage reading in Arabic, in particular.
The agenda saw the Club showcase the latest publications from the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) and launch its new Monthly Book initiative.
The events also included a session to discuss The German Experience, in the presence of its author, Ali Al Ahmed, along with His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, and Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji, Executive Director of the ALC. The book was translated into English and German, with both editions issued by the ALC. The Kalima Reading Club also launched its refreshed membership programme, which was initiated in 2020 to offer several benefits to new members.
H.E. bin Tamim said: “The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre works tirelessly to promote reading as a daily habit among all members of the community, launching a series of initiatives designed to empower a new generation with knowledge and imagination. The Kalima Reading Club strives to spread the culture of reading, and today, we are happy to be discussing ‘The German Experience’ and launching the new membership system and monthly free book initiative to attract increased participation and introduce new audiences to the literary works and cultural benefits that the Club offers to its members.”
Author of ‘The German Experience’ Ali Al Ahmed, an Emirati journalist and diplomat who served as UAE Ambassador to Germany and France, spoke about his experience living in several different German cities, and highlighting Germany’s rise as a European power and the fourth largest economy on the planet.
Al Ahmed explained that his book sheds light on some of the many contributions that the German people have made to human civilisation. It paints a picture of life in the country based on his impressions, observations, the most memorable places he visited there, as well as the important customs and traditions.
The publication examines the many reasons for the success of the pioneering German experiment, with the author asserting that those who live among the Germans feel that a leading reason behind this success is their belief that the value of a person derives from their mastery of their work and perseverance despite all challenges.
The author is an Emirati journalist and diplomat; he holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Eastern Washington University and served as UAE Ambassador to Germany and France.
Kalima Reading Club launched its new membership programme during the event; it is now available to the public, with members receiving numerous benefits including a 50% discount on ALC publications and access to the Club’s activities. Members must be at least 18 years old, be passionate about reading, and participate in at least three discussion sessions annually.
The event included the launch of the Monthly Book initiative for DCT Abu Dhabi employees, which aims to encourage reading and knowledge building. The initiative allows employees to choose from an extensive list of books in various disciplines, such as social sciences, religion, literature, history, natural and exact sciences, arts, sports, and many more.
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), held an introductory symposium for the ‘Kanz al Jeel’ award, at the 16th edition of the Liwa Date Festival in Al Dhafra Region.
Nabati is a form of vernacular poetry that stems from the many varieties of Arabic in the Arabian Peninsula, which contrasts the poetry written according to the classical rules of literary Arabic. The ‘Kanz al Jeel’ award, launched by the ALC at the 31st Abu Dhabi International Book Fair in May, celebrates the rich history and heritage of Nabati poetry and aims to preserve this traditional heritage for the next generation. The award honours Nabati poetic works, as well as folk studies and research studies into the subject.
Discussing the award, its objectives, and its categories at the symposium were His Excellency Abdullah Al Ali, Member of the award’s Higher Committee and Acting Director General of the UAE National Archives, and Eissa Saif Al Mazrouei, Vice-Chairman of the Committee for the Management of Festivals and Cultural and Heritage Programmes in Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the award’s Higher Committee.
HE Al Ali noted the diversity of the award’s six categories, which are Poetic Matching, Creative Personality, Arts, Studies And Research, Poetic Publications, and Translation.
HE Al Ali reviewed the general conditions of the award and highlighted that the award allows registration through individual participants, literary unions, cultural institutions, universities, or by receiving three recommendations from distinguished literary and intellectual personalities.
Meanwhile, HE Al Ali added, nominations for the Creative Personality category can only be received from academic, research and cultural institutions, as well as the award’s Higher Committee.
Al Mazrouei indicated that the philosophy of the award and its name were derived from a poem authored by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. He stated that the award is a platform through which to honour the efforts and distinguished work done in the field of Nabati poetry, and to highlight the status of this type of literature, which acts as a window into Arabian society.
He emphasised the moral value carried by this award, due to exceptional position in Emirati and Arab society that poems authored by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan occupy.
Al Mazrouei added that the ‘Kanz al Jeel’ award is unique in seeking to preserve the art of Nabati poetry and contributes to the empowerment of all generations by more closely connecting them to their poetic and cultural heritage. He noted that translating the poems of the late Sheikh Zayed into many languages, in addition to translating influential and inspiring Nabataean poetic texts, is a key objective.
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), continues to receive local and international submissions for the first edition of the recently launched Kanz Al Jeel Award. Even more are expected in the coming weeks, with the call for entries open until 30 July.
The Award, launched by the ALC recently, celebrates the rich history and heritage of Nabati poetry.
Nabati is a form of vernacular poetry that stems from the many varieties of Arabic in the Arabian Peninsula, which contrasts the poetry written according to the classical rules of literary Arabic. The Award honours Nabati poetic works, as well as folk studies and research studies into the subject. It aims to preserve the traditional heritage of Nabati poetry for the next generation.
The Kanz Al Jeel Award’s six categories include ‘Poetic Matching’, which seeks to match the poetry of the late founder of the nation, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, specifically his poem “Ya’al Nou Banat Mazoona”; ‘Studies and Research’ which reviews and assesses academic and scholarly research into Nabati poetry; and ‘Arts’, this year open to artistic works of Arabic calligraphy that embody Sheikh Zayed’s poetry.
The ‘Translation’ category considers works translating Sheikh Zayed’s poetry into one or more languages or works that have rendered a great service in translating Arabic poetry into other languages, while ‘Poetic Publications’ is open to Nabati poetry books that demonstrate originality in form and content and constitute a qualitative addition to the Nabati poetry canon. Finally, the ‘Creative Personality’ award is presented to a figure who has produced outstanding creative works in Nabati poetry, its studies, music, singing or painting.
Issa Saif Al Mazrouei, the Award’s Higher Committee Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Abu Dhabi’s Cultural and Heritage Programs and Festivals Management Committee, noted that the great diversity in entries received by the Award, both from inside and outside the UAE, confirms the close connection between the people of the region and the Arabian Nabati poetic heritage.
"Poetry reflects the core elements and values of a society, narrating both its history and future aspirations. The Nabati poetry canon, in particular, boasts some of the most compelling artistic and poetic creations of all time, and uniquely expresses the collective identity of the Arabian region. It is essential that we keep this art form alive for future generations,” Al Mazrouei said. “To this end, the Kanz Al Jeel Award will contribute to creating a critical new poetic movement, using the art of our country’s founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, as inspiration and as a starting point for establishing more broad creative horizons in the field of poetry. The Award will link new generations to their culture and authentic heritage, of which Nabati poetry is one of its most important pillars.”
Thus far, the Award’s ‘Poetic Matching’ and ‘Studies and Research’ categories have received the highest percentages of entrants, registering 54% and 27% of all submissions respectively. The ‘Arts’ category has received 7% of applications, while the ‘Translation’, ‘Poetic Publications’ and ‘Creative Personality’ categories have each received 4%.
The Award’s Higher Committee has set special conditions for participation. Nominated works must demonstrate a high level of originality and innovation and represent a significant addition to the cultural canon. Each candidate can submit only a single entry for one of the Award’s categories. A nominated work cannot be submitted for another category in person or by proxy in the same year. Nominated works must be written in Arabic, except for the ‘Translation’ and ‘Studies and Research’ categories, which consider poems translated from Arabic into other languages.
Conditions include that the submitted work must contain an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) to guarantee property rights, and that poetic, scholarly or translated works must be published, provided that no more than five years have passed since its publication. An exception is made in the ‘Translation’ category, which accepts submission of unpublished works.
Nominations for the ‘Creative Personality’ category are only open to academic, research and cultural institutions which have actively contributed to enriching local and Arabic poetic, critical, or artistic movements.
The Award is receiving submissions until 30 July. The total cash prize value of all six categories of the Award totals AED 1.5 million, and the winners will be announced in November 2022.
The Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim, took part in a special discussion panel at the 17th edition of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina International Book Fair in Egypt this week, where he debated the global challenges facing the Arabic language.
The ALC, part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), is taking part in the event, which is running until 28 July at the historic library, in collaboration with the General Egyptian Book Organisation and the Egyptian and Arab Publishers Association. The book fair is this year being presented under an ‘Awareness and Building Humans’ theme and includes 75 cultural events, bringing together more than 300 speakers and lecturers
In a special session tackling ‘Problems and Challenges of the Arabic Language’ alongside the Director of the Manuscript Center at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Dr. Medhat Issa, and moderated by Egyptian poet and journalist Mahmoud Sharaf, Dr. bin Tamim categorised the challenges into five main blocs, the first of which is the ‘problem of the language among its natives’.
The second challenge presented by Dr. bin Tamim is that of ‘Arabic teaching through its various stages’, as language should be the link between the present and the past. Furthermore, it is the link between the people of all nations who speak Arabic, as it is a language of science, knowledge, culture and civilisation.
The third challenge involves ‘translation and terminology chaos’. Dr. bin Tamim emphasised that the importing of Western terms into the Arabic lexicon has created a crisis, with inaccuracies in many terms translated for various fields of knowledge.
In the ‘digital challenge’, Dr. bin Tamim stressed that many obstacles prevent a strong Arabic digital presence, especially due to the low levels of computer literacy across Arab societies, weak Internet infrastructure, and the lack of effort by universities and centres in digitisation of research, studies, manuscripts and publications.
The fifth challenge is the ‘creative challenge’. Dr. bin Tamim said that elevated creativity, especially artistic, contributes greatly to the Arabic language. Creativity and encouragement of literary and artistic production is of great benefit for the language, he added.
During the session, Dr. bin Tamim presented the most prominent programmes, projects and partnerships managed by the ALC in its work to support and promote the Arabic language in Abu Dhabi, the UAE, and the world.
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), is taking part in the 17th edition of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina International Book Fair in Egypt with a series of events and meetings.
Participating in the renowned book fair is in line with the ALC’s commitment to reviving the Arabic language, finding solutions to the problems hindering its widespread use in the Arab region and the world, and exchanging ideas and experiences with other parties working to position and promote Arabic as a language of art, science, and civilisation.
The Centre’s agenda for the fair includes a series of meetings with various authorities concerned with culture and the Arabic language. Furthermore, the ALC’s Chairman, His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim, will be participating in a panel discussion titled ‘Problems and Challenges of the Arabic Language’, held on Tuesday, 19 July as part of the cultural programme taking place at the book fair.
The Bibliotheca Alexandrina International Book Fair kicked off on 18 July and is set to continue until 28 July. Held in collaboration with the General Egyptian Book Organisation and the Egyptian and Arab Publishers Association, this year’s edition of the fair is themed ‘Awareness and Building Humans’ and includes 75 cultural events, bringing together more than 300 speakers and lecturers.
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, has announced the Sheikh Zayed Book Award Scientific Committee for the 17th edition. Chaired by H.E. Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Secretary-General of the Award and Chairman of the ALC, the Committee includes: Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji, Acting Executive Director of the ALC; critic, translator, and Professor of Arabic Language and Literature at Jordan’s Yarmouk University, Dr. Khalil Al Sheikh; Juergen Boos, President and CEO of the Frankfurt Book Fair; French Professor and Researcher Floréal Sanagustin; Lebanese academic and researcher Dr. Nadia El Cheikh; Egyptian literary critic and professor Dr. Amany Fouad Gadallah; Saudi Arabian writer and novelist Dr. Badria Al Bishr and Jordanian-German Translator Dr. Mustafa Al-Slaiman.
Each year the Scientific Committee appoints a group of distinguished regional and international literary figures as judges, who serve on nine separate judging committees. The Scientific Committee then reviews and approves the judges’ selections before submitting them to the Board of Trustees, to be officially endorsed and to select the winners of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award.
His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Secretary-General of the Award and Chairman of the ALC, welcomed the new members and applauded the distinguished roles the previous members played, which helped strengthen the Arab cultural movement, and paved the way for many notable achievements.”
“Appointing such renowned and celebrated figures who have had a remarkable impact on the cultural scene to join the SZBA Scientific Committee reflects our commitment to promoting the Award and advancing its status,” H.E. bin Tamim said. “We look forward to the valuable scientific knowledge and experience the new members will bring and we are confident that they will continue along the same path as their predecessors, who made significant contributions to enrich and develop the Award, which has come to enjoy a commendable presence in the Arab region and around the world.”
For his part, Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji said: “Being part of this prestigious committee is an honour that I cherish. Over the past 16 years, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award has offered a rich and important experience that has helped elevate the book industry, supported researchers and creative thinkers, and established a unique and inspiring environment for research and innovation.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Amany Fouad Gadallah, a Professor of Literary Criticism in the Higher Institute of Artistic Criticism at Cairo’s Academy of Arts, said: “I am pleased to have been chosen among the members of the Scientific Committee of the 17th Sheikh Zayed Book Award, and I am confident that the Committee will do everything in its power to evolve intellectual, literary, and cultural output.”
On a similar note, researcher Dr. Nadia El Cheikh, the Vice Provost for Cultural and Research Engagement at NYU Abu Dhabi, said: “I am happy to be joining the Scientific Committee of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award in its 17th edition. This pivotal award has made remarkable contributions towards serving Arab culture, in addition to supporting intellectuals and creators.”
For her part, novelist Dr. Badria Bishr from Saudi Arabia, said: “I am honoured and delighted to be a member of the Scientific Committee for an international literary prize as respected as the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, which strives to advance human intellect and celebrate creativity, excellence, and innovation. Joining the Committee is both an honour and a great responsibility.”
The Sheikh Zayed Book Award will continue to accept nominations for its 17th edition until 1 October 2022. Applications can be submitted through its website or via email.
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has extended the application deadline for its ‘Kanz Al Jeel’ Award to 15 August 2022, to allow more poets, researchers, and translators from the UAE, the region, and the world to participate and enrich the programme with their outstanding poetic works.
The award was launched to honour Nabati poetic works, as well as folk studies and research studies into the subject. Nabati is a form of vernacular poetry that stems from the many varieties of Arabic in the Arabian Peninsula, which contrasts the poetry written according to the classical rules of literary Arabic.
Inspired by the poems of the late Sheikh Zayed, the award aims to preserve the traditional heritage of Nabati poetry for the next generation by honouring established and rising poets and academics. Scholars and poets will be awarded in six different categories: Poetic Matching, Creative Personality, Arts, Studies and Research, Poetic Publications, and Translation.
Issa Saif Al Mazrouei, the Award’s Higher Committee Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Abu Dhabi’s Cultural and Heritage Programs and Festivals Management Committee, said: “The Kanz Al Jeel Awards represent a window into the world of poetry, especially Nabati poetry, which has enjoyed a distinctive standing in Emirati society since ancient times, through the award we seek to advance Nabati poetry”.
“We saw a lot of quality from participants since we opened the door for applications, we therefore decided to extend the application period to allow interested artists to highlight their outstanding work and efforts in the various award categories”. “We are confident that the first edition of the Kanz Al Jeel Awards will beacon a new start for Nabati poetry which is a deeply rooted art form in the heritage of Emirati people”.
The Studies and Research category has recorded the highest rate of participation so far at 49%, while the Poetic Matching category has registered 24%. Arts follows with 12%, and together the Translation, Poetic Publications, and Creative Personality categories have received 15% of applications.
The award’s Higher Committee announced that the entries received thus far demonstrate great talent and reflect the growing interest in the award and the various subjects it covers. The award offers a cash prize of AED 200,000 for each category, except for Creative Personality, which is worth AED 500,000.
Application for the award can be submitted through the following link
Arabic novel translations are not receiving effective attention in the West in comparison to works from other regions of the world agreed scholars at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.
Discussing the current status of the Arabic novel, both Dr. Roger Allen, professor of Arabic & comparative literature, University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Muhsin Al Musawi, Professor of Arabic Studies and Comparative Literature, Columbia University, New York, affirmed that the Arabic novel did not spread due to the limitation of translations to global languages adding that relatively few Arabic novels have been translated.
Dr. Al Musawi, recipient of this year’s Sheikh Zayed Book Award for Arabic Culture in Other Languages said literary awards have provided opportunity for the spread of Arabic novels.
“Recently we witnessed some modern novels being awarded accolades, however we have to admit that the Arab novel is not as influential globally as Latin American novels, this is also reflected in academic research,” he said.
Arabic novels lack the ability to attract attention and discussion which can only be done through a live critical literary environment.
“Whether its within academic institutions or journalistic reviews to attract attention, Latin American literature has that medium for their novels to reach far and wide compared to Arabic novels.”
Professor Allen said that the reception of Arab novels in Anglophone countries is much less than in France, Spain, Italy and Germany. There are several initiatives in Britain to extend the reach, but there is none in the United States.
“For example my colleague in Oxford pointed out to me in the 1990s the fact there were almost no translations of Maghrabi fiction into English, they were going into French and Spanish but the English translation were concentrated heavily on Egypt,” Dr. Allen said.
There is a colossal increase in the output of fiction, today, especially from the Gulf region and attention is being paid to it. Huge changes have taken place in the process of translation of Arabic novels into English, in terms of coverage all across the Arab world, Allen said.
“Above all now the absolute necessity is to include in every conversation the theorization of the activity itself, I often find myself getting in to arguments over the quote by the famous German philosopher Friedrich Schleiermacher who said the translator has to choose whether he is going to domesticate the text or to foreignise the reader, I very much hope that the goal of translation in general is to foreignise the reader”.
The 31st Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) hosted a panel session on Wednesday (25 May) which delved into the fascinating ‘One Hundred and One Books’ project, the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC) initiative that has compiled a list of the greatest Arabic language titles of all time.
The talk, titled ‘One Hundred and One Books: Arabic Books that Enriched the World’, took place at the fair’s Youth Platform. Literary critic and researcher Dr. Khalil Al Sheikh, a member of the initiative’s editorial committee, spoke about the genesis of the ‘One Hundred and One Books’ project, noting that the idea was for the ALC to present the greatest treasures of Arab knowledge to the world – with an end result of a more comprehensive world literature canon which was not limited to European and American countries, but spanned from the Far East to the Far West.
Dr. Al Sheikh said, “Initially, our idea was to include books that have impacted world culture, but we later changed it to books that have enriched other countries of the world. Therefore, each title selected is an element of enrichment for the world. After a lot of toing and froing, we proceeded with the book selection by focussing on their nature and whether they were appropriate for both specialists and youth.”
The ‘One Hundred and One Books’ publication provides a critical explanation of every title chosen, encouraging individuals to question each inclusion and inspiring further research into the works. Initially, 200 books were shortlisted, but the project’s committee was adamant about featuring only 101 books as an invitation for the readers to read more and question why specific titles were not included.
Dr. Bilal Al Orfali, Professor of the Sheikh Zayed Chair in Arabic and Islamic Studies, said, “There are numerous Arabic books that have changed elements of the world. For years, elements of Arabic culture have interacted with different cultures globally, producing literature and art. The project is a call for thinking about the art of selecting books; it activates the role of the critic and the reader at the same level.”
The 101 selected works have been compiled into a publication, which will be translated into various languages in the future. A second volume is already underway and will consist of a list of the 101 best Arabic novels of the 20th century.
ADIBF 2022, organised by the ALC, part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, is ongoing at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre until 29 May.
The 31st Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) , has seen participation from an impressive 1,130 international, regional and local publishing houses representing more than 80 countries – some of which have brought with them rare literary treasures to delight visitors.
Attendees at the fair, which has been organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, have been able to see the stunning ‘Golden Quran’, a precious and unique 11th century tome consisting of 184 gold-coated pages. A truly one-of-a-kind item, it is one of the oldest preserved Quran editions in existence. This invaluable holy book is on display at the Adeva bookstall alongside other magnificent examples of the art of Islamic calligraphy.
A rare 16th century book valued for Dh 11 million was presented by French Library Claverell. Written in 1550, the book contains images of rare and valuable bird species.
Those who like a bit of local history could find the first printed record of Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the fair’s Antiquariaat Forum stall. On display was the Viaggio dell'Indie Orientali by the Venetian jeweller Gasparo Balbi, detailing his nine-year voyage from Venice to the Far East between 1579 and 1588, during which Balbi visited the Arabian Gulf region.
At the Le Prince Art Consultancy booth, world travellers and geography fans could peruse one of the most spectacular illuminated atlases in existence. Bound in two volumes, the atlas comprises two engraved allegorical frontispieces and 226 double-page engraved maps. All the maps are fully hand-coloured and finished with gold-leaf, with decorative flair which far surpasses what is encountered in the other Dutch atlases.
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has signed a collaboration agreement with Tawzea for distribution and logistics services for book fairs organised in the emirate, allowing for further expansion and enhanced services for visitors and publishing houses.
Signed by Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji, Acting Executive Director of the ALC and Director of ADIBF, and Ali Al Nuaimi, General Manager of United Printing and Publsihing - Tawzea. The agreement aims to develop the service infrastructure of book fairs organised by the ALC. It will allow the Centre to benefit from Tawzea’s capabilities and reach through its website (www.tawzea.ae) and its smartphone application, available for Android and iOS devices, which will display 500,000 titles and provide book home delivery services in the emirate for nominal fees.
Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji, Director of ADIBF, said the agreement would boost the Centre’s standing and presence, while empowering the book fairs’ leading role in promoting culture and creativity among all members of the community.
He said: “Building strong partnerships with various authorities and institutions in the UAE is a core component in our efforts to support and develop the Arabic language, as well as to organise book fairs that bring together renowned writers, thinkers, and publishers on a yearly basis, who, in turn, outline ambitious strategies to upgrade and add value to the cultural scene, in line with our common aspirations and goals.”
Tawzea will work to support book fairs with expert teams, supervise and preserve the displayed books, and communicate with visitors and customers about the delivery services. It will also allocate an administrative team to be in the exhibition sites before and after the event to ensure all operations run smoothly.
For its part, the ALC will provide a set of special privileges for Tawzea, including allowing distribution teams access to the emirate’s three book fairs before their launch, during the event, and after their completion. The Centre will provide a prime location for the company at the events, with pavilions that allow Tawzea to communicate with visitors at the book fairs’ entrances. The ALC also will promote the partnership with Tawzea and the company’s online book sale and delivery services in media coverage and news about the Centre.
The 31st Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) continues to cement the event’s reputation as an intellectual and creative space for all segments of society, with fun and thought-provoking experiences on offer for visitors of all ages. Children have been especially catered to with a host of skill-building and artistic activities and educational sessions, as well as a wide range of books and publications.
Organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), the fair offers young people an exciting and stimulating day out, with an experience designed to expand their knowledge and advance their mental and physical abilities. Across the 26,814 square metre exhibition space, play areas have been set up for children alongside various other facilities to engage, provoke and stimulate young minds.
Throughout the fair, publishers have educational books, games, posters and more on display, to draw the attention of children who are presented with endless diversions at the event. Publishers specialised in children’s literature have offered various activities ranging from educational games and creative exercises to storytelling sessions to engage their young audience.
Children are attracted by what is new and bright, said veteran publisher Bassam Shabaro, Founder and Director of Dar Thaqafa Publishing and Distribution. “They love the brightly coloured books with attractive drawings produced by the global education chains, and educational stories with animals,” he said.
The role of publishers, said Bilal Antal of Rowad Al-Majd Publishers, is to present simple, purposeful books that cater to children’s intellect and emotions. “Children are smart, and know what they want, so publishing houses present books that drive curiosity and awaken the imagination, in addition to those which educate children about the Arab values that our parents and grandparents were raised on,” Antal said.
Maryam Moussa, Director of Programmes at Nabati Publishers, believes that a child can reach the minds of his or her peers.
“We have a number of young writers who are very easily able to reach children with stories and themes that are close to their minds and hearts, because they use simpler language than an adult would use,” she said, “We are proud to present educational stories that demonstrate the values of our society and support our national identity.”
Educational games that teach children through play have become a globally popular, said Aya Abu Madi from Smart Skills Company. “Children can have fun while learning to solve problems, thinking outside the box, and experiencing teamwork,” she explained.
Overall, many publishers at the fair emphasised the need to understand children’s visions of the world in order to succeed in breaking through and connecting with this valuable young audience.
The Black Box Cinema activation at this year’s Abu Dhabi International Book Fair has once again proved to be one of the most popular features of the annual event, with the corner screening 22 Arabic short films, both narrative and documentaries, from 13 countries to regular full houses.
Black Box Cinema’s organisers’ aim is to spread film culture, bringing people from all over the world together over their shared love for cinema, while offering audiences the chance to discover Arabic cinema.
Taking place for the fifth time at the Fair, Black Box Cinema’s capacity has been increased this year from 50 to more than 70 seats. Nawaf Al Janahi, the Emirati film director who founded Black Box Cinema, said: “Black Box Cinema has become a landmark in ADIBF since its debut in 2017, creating an excellent link between the public and the Arab culture. As we’re in a very popular book fair, we’ve expanded for our literary audience, and have been familiarising them with the art of short films. We are constantly encouraging people from different cultures to familiarise themselves with Arab culture and the world of films by being presented here.”
Al Janahi, who personally views and selects each movie to be screened at ADIBF, added, “Whenever I am between films, I love to work on projects like these around the world and spread film culture everywhere. As the platform is very multinational, we have the perfect opportunity to show recent works from experienced directors and new ones. ‘Watch more films' is the only advice I’d give to anyone who wants to be a part of the film industry.”
Organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), the 31st edition of ADIBF is taking place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) until 29 May. This year, it has seen the participation of over 1,130 publishers from over 80 countries and more than 450 cultural, academic and creative events under its theme ‘Inspire, Innovate, Enrich’.
Algerian novelist Wassini Al-A’raj and poet Dr. Zainab Al-A’waj took part in a fascinating session at the 31st Abu Dhabi International Book Fair this week, where they discussed the creative ties that unite them as a married couple.
During the ‘Family and Culture’ session, organised by Al Multaqa Literary Salon Foundation and moderated by Emirati cultural activist Asma Al-Mutawa, the pair spoke about marriage and its impact on their creative projects. Al-A’raj is the author of books including The Prince's Book: Paths of the Iron Gates, with Dr Al-A’waj revealing that for the past 40 years she has always been the first to read her husband’s books.
“He has always given me his opinion of what I write and, in turn, I not only read to him, but listen to his story ideas before they are written. I live with its characters and events and enjoy it, then it is told to the children and grandchildren,” she said. Dr. Al-A’waj added that for her, creativity is a cumulative process based on her love of reading, listening to music, and watching theatre and cinema. Her husband, she said, has been a strong – and even unwitting – supporter as she recently worked on her first novel.
“Wassini encouraged me a lot, as I worked on my first narrative for about three years. When it ended, I needed the opinion of a specialised person, so I sent the novel to Wassini under a false name, so that I could find out his opinion objectively and without bias, and indeed he gave me a number of notes on the structure of the novel and deleted some parts,” she said. “I finished the novel with him after four or five months; I asked him which publisher he recommends, I sent it, and published my first novel.”
Her husband said that the pseudonym under which he received his wife's novel, Zeina Maria, sparked a certain memory that made him curious to know more about this writer.
Al-A’raj said: “I liked the work and wrote to her adding my positive and negative comments. I told my wife about the work and even gave it to her to read it. Then, I forgot the topic, so I was later surprised that Zeina Maria herself sent a request for help to publish the work. I helped her, and of course I told my wife about that as well, only to be surprised that she was the author and she did all this to receive an objective view of her work.”
He said that he is the first to read his wife’s poetry and is always honest with his opinions about her work.
A panel discussion at the 31st Abu Dhabi International Book Fair this week has seen experts and academics discuss Egyptian writer and intellectual Taha Hussein, considered one of the most influential cultural figures of the 20th century.
During the session, entitled ‘Taha Hussein: Critic and Thinker’, Arab academics agreed that Hussein deserved the title of ‘Dean of Arabic Literature’ for his immense contributions to modernising Arabic literature. His critical approaches were even compared to the great Arab classical poet, philosopher and writer Abu Alaa Al-Ma'aari.
His Excellency Hassan Nazim, Iraq’s Minister of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities, described Hussein's literary status and genius in creating a modern shift in the Arabic language paradigm that led to its modernisation. “He was keen to rethink Arabic language heritage and adapted it to the needs of a new generation,” he said.
Dr. Mohsen Al Musawi, Professor of Arabic Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, New York, said that Hussein continually worked to defend intellectuals who immersed themselves in honing their craft.
“At the height of his career, during the cholera epidemic in Egypt, he adhered to his critical and intellectual vision and philosophy. He was keen that societies and countries should be led by educated leaders,” Dr. Al Musawi said.
Dr. Hassan Madan, the Bahraini author and academic, hoped more Arabs would engage with Hussein’s writings, saying: “Dr. Taha Hussein drew the features of the intellectual and literary road map needed by us as Arabs. It is an Arab project that concerns Arab culture, and we here in Abu Dhabi, as Arabs, are discussing his importance as a great literary figure. We need to engage more with his writings to understand his experience and legacy.”
Dr. Diaa al-Kaabi, Associate Professor of Modern Literary Criticism at the College of Arts, University of Bahrain, described Hussein as a man of great depth and an inspiration, who shared many similarities with Abu Alaa Al-Ma'aari.
“A man of great depth and foresight, there is a deep connection between him and Abu Alaa Al-Ma'aari, the classical poet. Hussein’s blindness lent him a unique insight, which reflected in his critical speeches,” she said.
Dr. Ahmed Al Saeed, Founder and Executive Director of Beit Al-Hikma, Cultural Industries Group, reflected on Hussein’s influence in China. “Dr. Taha Hussein's literature resonated in China and with Chinese intellectuals and writers. I have reviewed many doctoral and Masters’ theses that dealt with his work as he is regarded as a great figure, not only a regional figure but a global one whose work is respected all over the world,” he said.
The session was attended by HE Saqr Ghobash, Speaker of the Federal National Council; HE Ambassador Dr. Muzaffar Mustafa Al-Jubouri, Iraq's Ambassador to the UAE; HE Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, and a number of other officials and cultural figures, as well as journalists and media professionals.
Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) continued to offer thought-provoking discussion and valuable insights for attendees, with sessions including ‘Islam and the West: Past, Present and Future’ featuring Dr. Bilal Al-Arfa Lee, Professor of the Sheikh Zayed Chair in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the American University of Beirut, and Ed Husain, a prominent British writer and a professor at Georgetown University in Washington DC.
Having written numerous books on Islam, Husain explained how all his works are not just about Islam as a religion, but more widely about the future of Britain. With around 5 million Muslims currently living in the UK, and an expected increase in this number in the coming years, the author revealed that he believes combined Muslim populations could have the power to influence 35-40% of governmental seats. “Muslims in the UK can be the kingmakers of the future decision-makers of the country,” he claimed.
Speaking about his writings, he added, “My books and my writings are designed to explain that you cannot read a single book about the history of the West without remembering the debt the modern West owes to the Arabic culture and Muslim civilisation.”
Praising the UAE as a pioneer with a future-focussed mindset, Husain stated that the country is modern and outward-looking whilst remaining rooted in a classical understanding of Islam. “My work is designed to remind students that the West and the Arab world are sisters of civilisation - they are a part of the same family. Islam is a body of ethics that calls us to live our best lives while being conscious that we have to answer to our God,” he added.
Ongoing at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) until 29 May, ADIBF is organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi).
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC) welcomed His Excellency Lee Seok-gu, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the UAE, to the 31st Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) today.
Received by Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji, Acting Executive Director of the ALC and Director of ADIBF and Dr Khalil Al Sheikh, Acting Director of Arabic Language Education and Research Department Director, Ambassador Lee was presented with a debrief on the Centre’s activities and visited the CIMA pavilion at the fair. Developed by the Institut du Monde Arabe (Arab World Institute) in Paris, CIMA, the Certificat International de Maîtrise en Arabe (International Certificate for Proficiency in Arabic) is the first internationally recognised certification to assess proficiency in modern standard Arabic. The initiative was founded in 2018 to encourage non-Arabic speakers to learn and master the language.
Despite Arabic literature witnessing a decline, literary awards are helping preserve the region’s publishing industry, experts stated during a panel session at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF).
Discussing the impact of literary awards on writers, readers and publishers, representatives of six literary awards from across the Arab world highlighted the current state of decline in Arabic literature, as well as suggesting solutions.
Dr. Hisham Azmy, Secretary-General of the Nagib Mahfouz Award in Egypt, stressed that Arab awards are a great motivator and a driving force in contributing to changing the creative scene. He explained that the awards’ great advantages include supporting creators and introducing them and their works throughout the Arab world and beyond. He also pointed out that Arab awards today help expand the readership base, which draws attention to other works published by the authors, in addition to the fact that translation of the winning works opens the way for communication with new communities.
Talib Al-Rifai, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Kuwait’s Almultaqa Prize for the Arabic Short Story, said as parts of the Arab world struggle economically it is a difficult feat to become an Arabic writer or publisher.
“Our communities now are facing hard times, with ongoing wars, an immigration exodus from many countries. So, to have a specific agency awarding writers, it is a great thing, specifically because Arabic writers are struggling a lot,” he said.
Ali Khalifa, Secretary General of the Isa Award for Service to Humanity in Bahrain, said that compared to other regions, which have thousands of publishing houses, there are fewer in the Arab world, which makes it difficult for writers to be published.
He said: “Writers have suffered simply to publish their books. They would owe people money or take loans just to publish their own books or even carry the books physically to distribute them. That was done in some of the more comfortable Arab countries.”
Khalifa stressed that awards are important but work must be done to increase the benefits of such awards, as well as to make sure the judging systems are fair.
Asaad Abdul Rahman, Member of the Board of Trustees and CEO of the Palestine International Institute, said: “The Arabic language is in a dire situation, this, in turn, affects publishing and awards because our language is the cradle of our culture.”
Abdul Rahman called for the support and promotion of existing writers. “The awards presented by the Palestine International Foundation introduce new generations to the products of dead writers that the new generations do not know, and this raises awareness of the value of the late creators,” he said. “Awards have created an important lifeline for writers and publishers across the Arab world.”
Abdulaziz Alsebail, Secretary General of the King Faisal Prize in Saudi Arabia, said that awards are a platform for unknown writers and authors to present their work. Writers from across the Arab world become recognised, their previous works are discussed and this opens opportunities for more writers to follow them.
“Prof. Suzanne Stetkevych from the US was studying and conducting incredible research into the Arabic language for years, she was not known or recognised in the region. When she was recognised by the King Faisal Prize for Arabic language and literature, her work was spread amongst many people,” said Alsebail.
His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Secretary General of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), said Arab literary awards go beyond the motivational aspect in encouraging creators to continue with their artistic efforts. He believes the awards inspire talent in the region, develop the fertile imaginations of the youth, and motivate promising authors.
ADIBF, which runs from 23 to 29 May at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), is organised by the ALC, part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi).
A high-level delegation from Egypt, led by Her Excellency Dr. Inas Abdel Dayem, Egypt’s Minister of Culture, and including academics, writers, publishers and media professionals, is participating in the 31st edition of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, which has been organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi).
Members of the Egyptian delegation include Dr. Hisham Azmi, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Culture; Dr. Mustafa Al-Fiqi, Director of the Ba'ad Library and winner of this year's Sheikh Zayed Book Award for Publishing and Technology; Dr. Haitham Al Haj Ali, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Egyptian General Book Authority; Dr. Ahmed Bahidin, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Egyptian General Book Authority; Islam Bayoumi, Director of Exhibitions Department at the Egyptian General Book Authority; Dr. Khaled Sorour, Head of the Plastic Arts Sector; and Dr. Ahmed Al-Saeed, Head of the Central Department of Museums and Exhibitions, member of the Cultural Committee and coordinator of the professional programme at the Cairo Book Fair.
HE Dr. Abdel Dayem said Egypt and the United Arab Emirates share a long history of collaboration across various sectors, with culture being among the most notable. She said that ADIBF offers an opportunity for closer ties with Emirati institutions to advance the cultural landscape across the Arab world.
“The book fair is an extension of the honourable legacy of the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who believed that building societies begins with building capacities, awareness and knowledge among human beings,” HE Dr. Abdel Dayem said. “It was launched as the UAE embarked on a holistic and wide-reaching developmental, societal and civilisational movement, which has cemented its position today as one of the most developed countries regionally and internationally.
“We are committed to actively participating in this grand event because we are aware of the great value it brings, placing it on par with major international events of this kind. Our participation stems from a common vision we have with the UAE to build a new generation of intellectuals and creative thinkers capable of expressing and addressing their nation’s issues.”
Among the events delegates participated in was the panel session ‘Taha Hussein: Insight of Mind’, in which celebrated Arab literary and academic figures discussed the legacy of late author and intellectual, known as the ‘Dean of Arabic Literature’.
The Egyptian delegation also included leading publishers such as Mohammed Rashad, President of the Arab Publishers Association; Sherif Bakr, General Manager of Al Arabi Publishing and Distribution House; Ahmed Bouhi, Founder and General Manager of Dawen Publishing and Distribution; Ahmed Muhannai, General Manager of Publishing, Dawen Publishing and Distribution; and Ali Abd El-Moneim, Head of Content Acquisition MENA at StoryTel. This year, a total of over 100 exhibitors from Egypt are attending ADIBF.
The 31st edition of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF), which is running at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) until 29 May, is aiming to create a new generation of bibliophiles with activations in its E-Zone Corner.
Ahmed Rewihel, Head of Partnerships and Business Development MENA for audiobook company Storytel, said that around 80 percent of its users have started reading and listening to books since they subscribed to Storytel.
He said: “Easy accessibility is the primary reason we find many non-readers and readers listening to audiobooks. In addition, enhanced user experience with features like sleep mode, speed adjustments, read or listen, kids mode, and personal lists entice individuals to listen to audiobooks at Storytel. Today’s generation consumes tons of content every day, and audiobooks are an excellent way to help them consume valuable content and increase their knowledge.”
Rewihel said audiobooks can help bridge the divide between digital and traditional books. “An interesting insight that we found at Storytel is that audiobooks and traditional paperbacks feed into each other and increase interest in reading overall,” he said.
Organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), ADIBF aims to encourage a love of books in all forms.
In January 2022, ALC launched the ‘Fifty Thousand Readers Initiative’ where 50,000 participants were awarded a free three-month subscription to Storytel, one of the world’s largest Arabic audiobook and e-book collections.
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has launched Kanz Al Jeel Award at the 31st Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) to celebrate the rich history and heritage of Nabati poetry.
Nabati is a form of vernacular poetry that stems from the many varieties of Arabic in the Arabian Peninsula, which contrasts the poetry written according to the classical rules of literary Arabic. The Award honours Nabati poetic works, as well as folk studies and research studies into the subject. It aims to preserve the traditional heritage of Nabati poetry for the next generation. Candidates will compete for a share of total prize pool of AED 1.5 million.
The launch ceremony for the Kanz Al Jeel Award was attended by His Excellency Dr Ali Bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC; Eissa Saif Al Mazrouei, Vice-Chairman of the Committee for the Management of Festivals and Cultural and Heritage Programmes in Abu Dhabi, Chairman of the Award’s Higher Committee; H.E. Abdulla Majed Al Ali, Acting Director General of the National Library and Archives and Member of the Higher Committee of the Kanz Al Jeel Award.
Moderated by Emirati poet and media personality Shaikha Al Mutairi, the launch event was also attended by Higher Committee Members Saeed Hamdan Al Tuaniji, Acting Director General of the ALC, and Dr. Dheya Al Kaabi, Assistant Professor of Narratives and Modern Literary Criticism at the University of Bahrain.
H.E. Dr. Ali bin Tamim said: “Today, we celebrate the launch of an exceptional award that brings tremendous value and depth to our cultural scene. It derives its name from one of the poems of our Founding Father the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and reflects his wisdom, passion for poetry, and his vision, which helped cement this literary genre in the hearts and minds of all Emiratis and Arabs.”
The award is a promising step towards enriching the local and Arab cultural and literary landscape with new poetic models that serve to introduce readers to this artform, enrich Arabic libraries, preserve this piece of our heritage, and promote it as a literary genre that reflects our societies and their aspirations,” H.E. bin Tamim added. “The award is supervised by a jury of renowned experts and literary and intellectual figures with extensive expertise in Nabati poetry and its history.”
For his part, Eissa Saif Al Mazrouei said: “Launching this award reflects the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre’s commitment to protecting and promoting our heritage, and encouraging a sense of loyalty and belonging to nation. The award’s name is reminiscent of an expression that can be found on multiple occasion in a poem by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, where the word ‘Jeel’ refers to poems and is the colloquial Emirati form of the word ‘Qeel’ (what was said).”
“The award celebrates Nabati poetry and seeks to promote the poetry of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan,” Al Mazrouei added. “It will undoubtedly be a notable addition to the poetic arts and to the Sheikh Zayed Poetry Encyclopaedia, a priority area for the ALC. With that in mind, we extended the application period to receive entries for the first edition of the award until July 30, 2022, in order to attract the largest number of creative people who are passionate about this poetic and literary genre.”
On the same note, H.E. Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji said: “The great value this award brings is perhaps most evident in its unconventional theme and name, boasts a unique aesthetic and points to a meaningful objective. Popular poetry today needs this kind of award in order to reach the world, and go beyond the bounds of spoken poetry, limited to its local audience and culture. We strive for the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair to be a launchpad for the award. We deeply value the importance of Nabati poetry and its close connection with our culture; it is an integral part of the culture and civilisation of the Emirati and Arab people.”
Meanwhile, H.E. Abdulla Majed Al Ali asserted: “The UAE stands firmly at the forefront of the cultural scene in the region. This award follows in the path of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award in the tremendous value that it represents. It is inspired by a wise leader who always associated civil and societal development with intellectual advancement, knowledge, and culture. We are committed to supporting Nabati poetry, as well as all academic studies, research, and translations related to it. We strive to communicate it to other cultures so that they can explore our identity, and we encourage the youth to explore Sheikh Zayed’s poetry and great legacy, and transform it into images and songs. This is truly a unique award and we are certain it will carve a niche for itself from the very first edition.”
For her part, Dr. Dheya Al Kaabi said: “The poems of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan cemented the importance of Nabati poetry, marking its continuity through the generations. It established poetry as a transient artform. The late Sheikh Zayed’s poetry was exceptional, as was his political and social wisdom and his approach to building bridges with other countries. When we look back on what he said in interviews, we find poetry that speaks of wisdom. We hope that this award will promote his values, support academic studies of Nabati poetry, and motivate Arab researchers and orientalists to keep up their efforts and continue to advance and promote this artform.”
Nominations are open until 30 July with individuals, literary unions, cultural institutions and universities invited to submit in any of the categories of the award, except the ‘Creative Personality’ category, where nominations are only accepted from academic, research and cultural institutions, or high-profile literary and academic figures.
Candidates are required to have actively contributed to enriching local and Arabic poetic, critical, or artistic movements. Nominated works must also feature a high level of originality and innovation, making a significant addition to human culture and knowledge. Each candidate can submit only a single entry for one of the award’s categories. A nominated work cannot be submitted for another award in person or by proxy in the same year. Nominated works must be written in Arabic, except for the Translation and Studies and Research categories, which consider poems translated from Arabic into other languages.
Organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), the 31st Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF 2022) hosted the latest meeting of book fair directors from across the Arab world.
The 19th Meeting of Arab Book Fair Directors on May 26th 2022 aimed to cover issues regarding the development and advancement of these fairs, the enhancement of their role in supporting the publishing sector and its workers and ways to promote their position as platforms to spread knowledge among various members of the community.
Representatives of the General Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) attended the meeting, along with directors and officials from book fairs.
Attendees discussed the challenges facing book fairs and how to turn them into promising opportunities, in addition to exploring the current state of affairs in the Arab publishing industry and the challenges publishers face. Several additional issues also were on the table, including the role that book fairs play in spreading culture and civilised communication, as well as the impact they have in promoting books and other content to readers.
ADIBF will be heading the Meeting of Arab Book Fair Directors as the presidency of the meeting is transferred from KSA to the UAE. For the upcoming year, ADIBF will supervise and coordinate with the General Secretariat to track progress made on development plans, in addition to working to advance and promote Arab book fairs.
Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji, Acting Executive Director of the ALC and Director of ADIBF, said: “Through innovation and collaboration between the organisers of Arab books fairs, we have effectively supported the region’s publishing industry its growth. We have great faith in these fairs and the pivotal role they play in the development of communities. Arab book fairs will undoubtedly play a constructive role in enriching the cultural movement in general. We look forward to the meeting’s recommendations, which aim to bring all efforts to enable book fairs to continue to enlighten Arab minds, promote awareness and advance thought.”
Saad Al-Zughaibi, Director of the Department of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities in the General Secretariat of the GCC, welcomed the UAE’s efforts – represented by the ADIBF management – to organise and host the 19th Meeting of Arab Book Fair Directors.
He said: “These annual meetings are in compliance with the decisions of Their Highnesses and Excellencies, the Ministers of Culture in the GCC region, to promote further collaboration in the cultural sector in the region. A wide range of topics was addressed during this meeting in order to enhance the level of organisation in GCC book fairs; pitch and coordinate new accompanying cultural events; discuss topics that support book fairs; and raise recommendations to the Committee of Ministers of Culture, which promotes joint action and advances the cultural movement.”
The 19th Meeting of Arab Book Fair Directors also reviewed the progress made towards implementing the recommendations of the 18th meeting, in addition to exploring several topics proposed by member states, including the tentative dates for book fairs in GCC countries from 2026 to 2030, as well as the activities accompanying these events. Attendees also discussed the Gulf Cultural Strategy 2020-2030 and the requirements of the next meeting.
The 31st edition of Abu Dhabi International Book Fair takes place from May 23rd to 29th at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).
Prize-winning authors taking part in a discussion session at the 31st Abu Dhabi International Book Fair have emphasised the importance of research grants for Arabic literature in order to deepen knowledge, understanding and spread the Arabic language.
Dr. Salah Jarrar, Visiting Professor at the Department of Arabic Language and Literature, the University of Sharjah and Dr. Saad Eddin Kulaib, Professor at the Faculty of Arts, the University of Aleppo stressed the importance of grants to foster creativity, consolidate culture and expand knowledge and research horizons in literary critique and creative writing.
Speaking at a panel session discussing research grants hosted by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, which is part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, the authors discussed their work with Dr. Muhammad Abu Al-Fadl Badran.
Dr. Jarrar, a specialist in Andalusian literature and the author of (Araeis El Adab) Literary Enchantments, said that the importance of Arabic manuscripts and the necessity of pursuing them by specialists and experts from all fields is key. “They represent our identity and culture and the present is closely related to it, from which we can get to know ourselves. It also may answer many important questions raised about the Arabs being moving away from their culture and history, "he said.
Speaking about his book, The Beauty of the Arabic Language (Al Jamal Fi Allissan Al Arabi), Dr. Kulaib shared his writing journey. “In the beginning, I was looking for texts by authors, or visual customs and traditions to write about the beauty of the Arabic language, because I believed that it was simple as it was aesthetic,” he said. “Coincidentally I discovered, while attending a lecture, that the Arabic language contains 125,000 linguistic terms under this category, so it led to me to focus on the societies that use these words, and I found that they are distributed in colloquial Arabic at the level of countries throughout the Arab world, and have been used for over 120 years," he added.
Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre’s research grants programme is part of the cultural strategy of Abu Dhabi, which supports the pillars and foundations of the emirate’s cultural sector to enhance qualitative scientific research efforts in various fields of culture and knowledge. The grants programme strongly encourages the study and research of Arab heritage as a strong foundation to open up the culture to the world, and also aims to support researchers in studying the Arabic language and enhance its presence within the Arab region and the world.
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has opened registration for its ‘Spotlight on Copyright’ programme at the 31st Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF), at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).
The programme aims to raise awareness about the benefits of copyrighting works while supporting the translation of content into and from Arabic. The programme also provides grants to convert printed content into digital e-books and audiobooks as well as fostering greater cooperation between Arab and international publishers.
The grants offered by the programme for a printed book translated into or from Arabic range from AED 9,200 to AED 14,700. The grants for conversion from printed works to e-books are between AED 3,700 and AED 7,400, while the grants for conversion to audiobooks range from AED 5,500 to AED 7,400.
The programme was first launched in 2009 and has since published more than 900 books with over 100 publishers across various categories, including children's books, science, history and social sciences. These books, which have enrich the Arabic literature scene, have since also been translated into several other international languages. By 2020, more than 900 books had been translated, with grants totalling AED 1,836,000 being awarded. In 2020, the programme introduced an audio/e-book grant to keep pace with the rapid transformation of the publishing sector globally. Electronic and audio content is now outpacing printed content around the world, as well as in the Arab region.
Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji, Acting Executive Director of the ALC and Director of the ADIBF, said: “With this programme, the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre seeks to promote respect for intellectual property rights in the Arab world. It encourages knowledge exchange between Arab and foreign publishing houses and works tirelessly to enrich Arabic content by offering support to publishers and encouraging the translation of content to and from Arabic.”
Participants can register and submit applications for the ‘Spotlight on Copyright’ programme online via: www.adbookfair.com, from May 23rd – June 9th, or in-person at Hall 10, Booth A06 at ADIBF. Further information is also available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) hosted a panel session featuring renowned Syrian poet Adonis on Wednesday (25 May), who shared his opinions on how there is currently an abundance of Arab literary and poetic talent.
Adonis, the pen name of Ali Ahmed Saeed Esber, is one of the most influential poets, critics, and essayists in contemporary Arabic literature, and as he participated in the 31st edition of the Fair, which has been organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), he spoke about the state of the region’s literary scene.
During the session, Adonis addressed the decline of poetry and the state of Arab literature, and discussed comparisons between Arabic and international poems, saying: "Talking about poetry is like talking about love, we live it, but we do not know how to analyse it."
Adonis questioned the difference between two views of poetry today, one that sees poetry as a reproduction of what already exists, and another that manifests itself in the usage of words as changeable, descriptive or narrative.
He noted the importance of women's poetry, saying, " This generation of women poets is especially accomplished. There are women who have not yet been able to publish their poetry but I am sure that their time will come."
Adonis reflected admiringly on the poetry of his generation, but cautioned against limiting ourselves to the poetry of the past 70 years, noting that if we do so, we are missing out on multiple eras of creativity. “If I mention poets like Umru Al Qais, Tarafa, Abu Nawas, Abu Tamam, or Al Mutanabi, you will not find greater poets than those the world over,” he said.
The CIMA pavilion at the 31st Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) was visited by the French Ambassador to the UAE, His Excellency Xavier Chatel, on Wednesday (25 May).
He was greeted by HE Dr Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), who accompanied him on the tour of the pavilion.
Developed by the Institut du Monde Arabe (Arab World Institute) in Paris, CIMA, the Certificat International de Maîtrise en Arabe (International Certificate for Proficiency in Arabic), is the first internationally recognised certification to assess proficiency in modern standard Arabic. The initiative was founded in 2018 to encourage non-Arabic speakers to learn and master the language.
HE Dr bin Tamim commended the efforts of the Institut du Monde Arabe in enhancing the status of the Arabic language as a global language of creativity, communication, culture and art. He expressed his keenness to launch more research and studies in Arabic, while promoting the language’s beauty, importance and connection to human civilisation and culture.
HE Chatel stressed that the cultural exchange and joint efforts of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre and the Institut du Monde Arabe have helped boost interpersonal contact and cultural exchange. This has cemented the relations between France and the UAE, forged effective communication, and introduced the Arab value system, history and culture through the language.
The ALC and Institut du Monde Arabe signed an agreement last year to coordinate with all CIMA centres in the UAE to submit reports on the number of registrations annually and their level of competence. Both entities would also share information on key performance indicators and organise joint events in conjunction with international events in support of the Arabic language.
ADIBF, organised by the ALC, part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), runs from 23 to 29 May at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).
The 31st Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) offers visitors a lot more than just books and literature. Organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), the fair also features a packed agenda of artistic events at its Art Corner.
The Art Corner plays host to a series of activities, carefully selected to suit the interests of all visitors. It offers fair-goers a standout exhibition space for displaying inspiring artistic creations from established and emerging artists from around the world, in addition to providing opportunities to communicate with artists and publishers of visual creations, as well as enthusiasts in the field.
The Art Corner also hosts workshops where budding illustrators, designers, and publishers can exchange experiences, learn new techniques, develop new tools, and hone their talents and capabilities.
Workshops at the Art Corner include a session on Decoupage Book Cover, which allows participants to learn how to use this technique in their drawings or calligraphy, or to create a background to be painted over with oil paint or acrylics.
The Comics for Beginners workshops focus on teaching participants how to draw characters and create a comic strip. Meanwhile, the Batman Forever session allows participants to improve painting and composition through step-by-step instructions in painting the Dark Knight using acrylic paint on canvas.
Another workshop is dedicated to Book Cover Design and Printing, which aims to introduce the foundations of book cover design using simple materials, to express both the book’s theme and the designer’s vision.
The ALC has also dedicated a number of events and workshops to Arabic calligraphy, with the aim of teaching participants advanced skills to enhance their knowledge of the artform and create more comprehensive and professional works.
The Art Corner welcomes all sections of the community to benefit from and enjoy its diverse series of workshops, where they can hone their skills, develop their talent, and help spread the culture of innovation and creativity.
ADIBF runs from 23 to 29 May at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) and is open daily from 10am to 9pm. For more information visit: https://adbookfair.com/
One of the most popular attractions at this year’s Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) is the Lifestyle Corner, where visitors are entertained with inspiring cultural, creative and recreational events.
Organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), the Fair is showcasing a variety of artistic, sports, social media and other performances, presented by world-class performers at its Lifestyle Corner. Here, visitors all age groups can experience interactive workshops, live shows and seminars providing a mix of entertainment and knowledge.
The Corner is hosting a series of sessions titled ‘My Experience’, including one with Emirati playwright Habib Al Attar, who will recount his own experiences in practicing the arts, particularly theatre. He will discuss the various stages of developing a play and how drama has been impacted by the rapid changes in the world and the changing tastes of audiences.
In another, Amer bin Jassas will highlight his experience in the field of media content development alongside Mohammed Al Mansoori, PhD holder in architecture, who will talk about traditional and contemporary Emirati architecture and its role in shaping the UAE’s history
Another ‘My Experience’ session will see content creator Ali Al Salloum talk about the credibility of social media and the impact of digital content on audience trends. He will be joined by Amira Mohammed, a presenter on Abu Dhabi TV, who will offer insights into the life of media personalities, while exploring visual media in general. Other high-profile personalities from various fields will also be joining the discussions during ADIBF.
The Lifestyle Corner will also feature a variety of culinary events, with celebrity chefs, such as Khulood Atiq and Sultan Al Otaiba. An event will also be dedicated to Turkish gastronomy and showcase several timeless recipes from different countries.
The 31st edition of ADIBF runs from May 23rd to 29th. More information about the fair’s activities is available at: https://adbookfair.com/
The ‘Dean of Arabic Literature’ Taha Hussein has been named by Abu Dhabi International Book Fair as the Focus Personality for this year’s edition. He was a role model who paved the way for generations of writers.
The panel discussion titled ‘Taha Hussein: Insight of Mind’, organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), discussed the legacy of the great Egyptian author and critic.
Moderated by Dr Nashwa Al Ruwaini, the seminar brought together Her Excellency Dr Enas Abdel Dayem, Egyptian Minister of Culture; Dr Ammar Ali Hassan, novelist and researcher in political science; Dr Asma Al Moqbel, Assistant Professor at King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia; Dr Hayan Juma Al Saei, critic and translator, and Egyptian academic Dr Muhammad Abu Al-Fadl Badran.
HE Dr Abdel Dayem asserted that Taha Hussein is one of the greats of Arab history, a widely influential name in Arab and international thought, and a role model whose career opened people’s minds.
She said: “Taha Hussein championed science and knowledge as the way to people’s minds. He promoted the values of love and peace, ensuring his name would live on as an exceptional Egyptian figure. He is so much more than a figure in our heritage and history, or our envoy to the West, collecting prestigious scientific credentials, he was a storyteller, novelist, and literary critic. Hussein was an accomplished writer leading a discussion on contemporary intellectual movements; he was an amalgamation of all these traits and brought great knowledge to humanity.”
Her Excellency applauded ADIBF 2022 for its efforts to celebrate Hussein as its Focus Personality, stressing the importance of celebrating such figures that Egypt and Arab culture have presented to the world. “This reaffirms that our culture does not only celebrate our past, but also looks forward to our future, and our knowledge is meant to foster communication,” she said.
Dr Ammar Ali Hassan said: “In just one year, we will be marking half a century since the Dean of Arabic Literature passed. Taha Hussein had a keen insight into nearly every topic; his masterpiece ‘The Days’ laid the foundation for the art of the autobiography and broke new ground in Arabic literature. The book created an entirely new style; Taha Hussein pioneered a text that is comparable to ‘One Thousand and One Nights’ in the place that it occupies in our Arab heritage, and he wrote it in just nine days. He wanted his ideas to reverberate in people’s lives, so he established himself as an intellectual who is accessible to everyone.”
Saudi academic and critic Dr. Asma Al Moqbel applauded Abu Dhabi International Book Fair for its commitment to highlighting a great literary and intellectual talent like the "Dean of Arabic Literature" Taha Hussein, who is considered one of the most important Arab literary figures.
A discussion panel titled ‘The Publishing Market in the UAE: An Overview with a Focus on explored opportunities in the publishing market at the 31st Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF), which is taking place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from 23 to 29 May 2022.
Moderated by Claudia Kaiser, Vice President of the Frankfurt Book Fair/Frankfurt Buchmesse, the discussion was led by Ahmed Rashad, CEO of Al Dar Al Masriah Al Lubnaniah, and Hessa Aljaroodi, owner and project manager at Madaar Publishing.
Speaking of readership trends in UAE, Ahmed Rashad said: “In the last decade, fiction books were the most published due to high customer demand, followed by self-help and children’s books. If new publishers plan to enter the UAE market, they must focus on these categories. Before 2022, we saw numerous publishers selling only through book fairs and bookstores. However, this changed after the pandemic as publishers had to go digital and focus on marketing through social media and e-commerce. Publishers need to invest more in marketing through social media, which has become indispensable.”
The experts shared insights and tips on how to effectively market books. “In the UAE market, publishers need to focus on high-quality book covers, especially when it comes to children’s books. Use bright colours, high-quality printing paper, and beautiful illustrations, and make the books attractive. Instagram and Snapchat are the best platforms for publishers today to influence purchase decisions,” said Hessa Aljaroodi.
“Rather than images, create videos and excite the reader with snippets of the story. For every book you release, you must have a book or an audiobook, because that market has seen massive growth since the pandemic.”
Organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), ADIBF features over 1,130 international, regional and local publishing houses from 80 countries. For more information, visit https://adbookfair.com/en/adibf.
One of the most popular presentations at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) this year has been by Ann Hiatt, the bestselling American author, Silicon Valley veteran and investor.
In her speech on the Youth Stage, she explained to the audience ways to take charge of their career with the right mindset. Sharing her personal experiences with her technology CEO mentors, such as Google’s Eric Schmidt, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, her insightful speech emphasised her five leadership principles.
She said: “Be fearless, be humble, be influential, be curious, be balanced - these are the five principles I have found common working with some amazing super-performers in the technology world. I was lucky enough to join the team of dreamers, doers and fearless people - do the same.
“It is good to be relentless in pursuit of perfection, but one mustn’t be afraid to fail. Just start by saying yes. That is the secret to enriching your knowledge. Irrespective of how daunting a task may feel, you have to be curious if you want to be a leader. If you want to commit to a better tomorrow, say yes today.”
Referencing her bestselling book Bet on Yourself: Recognise, Own and Implement Breakthrough Opportunities, she told the audience they needed to ask themselves important questions.
“First, ask yourself what do you want to learn in the next step of your career? What skill do I want expertise in? Then seek out leaders who align with your vision and ask them to delegate their tasks to you,” she said.
“The next step is surrounding yourself with high-quality people that show you the kind of life you want to emulate. Lastly, disrupt yourself - take on the hard challenges and be proactive in knowing what you want in your life. Constantly stay updated with the latest trends and what the future of your industry looks like, and you’ll definitely futureproof your career.”
Organised by the Abu Dhabi Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair takes place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from 23rd to 29th May.
The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) has shut down two publishing houses after finding they had violated intellectual property rights and participation conditions. The announcement was made on Tuesday, the second day of the cultural event, which is organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), under the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi).
Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji, Acting Executive Director of the ALC and Director of ADIBF, said the Fair was firmly opposed to violations that conflict with publishing laws and intellectual property rights in the UAE, stressing the need to adhere to all regulations to protect the rights of both authors and publishers.
Al Tunaiji said: “For more than three decades, ADIBF has established itself as an incubator for creativity and innovation, cultivating a global reputation as a platform that attracts thousands of Arab and international publishers to support and advance the publishing industry in the region. The ALC continues to uphold the UAE’s laws by holding a committee to monitor publication violations.”
He added that the ADIBF was devoted to fostering a culture of enlightenment that avoids any counterfeiting or infringement of intellectual property.
Rakuten Kobo, the global eBook brand, has announced it will adopt Arabic as a primary browsing language for users during the last quarter of 2022.
Based in Ontario, Canada, Rakuten Kobo is the second largest eReader brand in the world, hosting 7 million titles in 76 languages, delivering eBooks to 190 countries and running local operations in 25 countries.
The announcement was made by Michael Tamblyn, the company’s CEO, during a keynote speech at the International Conference of Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries, organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC) part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), as part of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2022.
Tamblyn said Rakuten Kobo aims to enhance the eBook sales sector in the region and create a thriving, wide-scale digital market for the publication of books.
He also discussed ways to start an independent digital market using eBook conversions, aggregation and distribution, self-publishing, audiobook production and global distribution.
He said: “In smaller and emerging markets, planning, policy, industry cooperation and government support can make a big difference. Spain is an example – a government programme supported 100 percent of the cost of digital conversion and metadata creation for thousands of Spanish titles.”
He called for publishers to strengthen their supply chains and strive to improve their work while benefiting from different types of support, especially government, which is necessary to achieve success in the sector.
Tamblyn also discussed Rakuten Kobo’s position, and the policies it pursues to open and discover new successful markets for eBook sales, as well as the importance and necessity of government support for eBook platforms.
Held on the side lines of the 31st Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) 2022 – organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) – the first International Congress of Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries continued with a series of panel discussions examining the latest trends in publishing.
One session, titled ‘Education and Publishing in the Virtual World’, discussed the wide-reaching effects of the pandemic on the education sector. It examined how students around the world of all age groups used remote education, which brought significant attention to digital learning platforms and systems that relied on academic publishing. The session explored the dominance of these new platforms in the education sector and whether open access education will eventually become a reality.
Moderated by Hanada Taha Thomure, Endowed Professor of Arabic Language and Director of the Arabic Language Centre for Research and Development at Zayed University, the panel consisted of Cristóbal Cobo, Senior Education Specialist with the World Bank; Al Kingsley, CEO of Edtech Company NetSupport and Chair of Multiple Educational Boards; Bissan Korban, Head of Higher Education Products and Services for the MENAT Region at Pearson ME Publishing; and John Russell, Director of Education at Alef Education.
In his session, Cristóbal Cobo said: “This current inspiration that technology will revolutionise the education industry is not new; we have known this for years. During the pandemic, we saw people worldwide invest a lot into technology to enable remote learning. However, in many cases, it led to ineffective learning and had a lot of gaps, especially between students and teachers. We need to teach both students and teachers how they can learn to think with these digital tools and not just how to use them. We need to enable them to learn how to distinguish between different types of information and form their own opinion. During the pandemic, we learned that human connection is not replaceable by technology, but we have to develop new capacities and be open for serious transformations as no one can be certain of what the future holds.”
In stressing the importance of holistic growth, Al Kingsley said: “When we think back to school memories, we remember interacting with our peers, school performances, activities with our classmates. Students experienced isolation during the pandemic as they lost peer-to-peer contact, which is essential for their development. There was an attempt to mitigate this digital divide by introducing technology solutions by providing personalised learning. I urge you to ask yourself what are we trying to achieve? Is it students who leave with the most knowledge or a system that creates well-rounded students who focus on their mental health, social skills, and academic greatness? So, how are we going to create these positive experiences? First, we need to ingrain confidence. Our teaching staff needs to develop confidence in integrating technology and students need to develop confidence in using it to benefit from technology truly.”
Bissan Korban, emphasised the importance of prioritising consumer needs. She said: “Every sector suffered due to the pandemic. The education sector was forced to create different learning experiences, which paved the way for the future of digitisation. This learning experience taught us that we need to look at the need of our users and then provide them with tools that enable better futures. If companies and publishers are truly interested in the needs of all stakeholders involved in education, we will observe effective communication taking place and creating an impact.”
John Russell discussed how AI and innovation can support creating learning pathways. He said: “With AI, we can provide highly personalised learning that is catered to students’ needs. By using generative language technology, students will have access to learning exercises created with their specific needs in mind, compared to a single book published years ago that is being used to teach all students. When we analyse data, we observe that student performance differs according to geographical location - students in densely populated areas and cities outperform students in the countryside. By combining AI and innovation, we can provide support in creating learning pathways, ultimately creating an ecosystem that focuses on end-to-end growth.”
The session was followed by a Keynote Speech titled ‘Reading in a Time of Distraction’, delivered by Nicholas Carr, a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, and New York Times bestselling author.
Carr spoke about the impact of mobile technology on the human ability to immerse oneself in deep reading. “It’s important to talk about this today as deep reading is under threat, and I think we all know why it’s under threat and it’s this thing we have in our pockets – the smartphone,” he said. “This new technology is not something that wants us to engage in deep reading, it has an adversarial relationship and does not want us to be lost into the pages of a book.
“When we spend a whole lot of time looking at our mobile screens or computer screens, we no longer use the criterion of importance to grab our attention, instead, we look at what is new, by looking at what is newest on our phone. The ability to take information and transforming into knowledge in essence is affected by that. Books are shields against distraction, through providing active immersive experiences, a reader is not only reading the words but experiencing them, bringing their own thoughts, ideas and emotions into the book”.
The Congress went on to discuss the role social media is playing in book publishing, where leading Western publishers are looking to collaborate with authors who have platforms and huge followings on social media. Titled ‘Is Social Media the New Book Market?’, the session highlighted how publishers are investing heavily in digital marketing as e-commerce gains ground in the book market, asking if this a bubble or a solid trend. Panellists also explored if the Arabic market has the same relationship to social media as other markets, and how influential are ‘booktubers’ and TikTok influencers in terms of book sales.
This session was moderated by Ed Nawotka, International and Bookselling Editor at Publishers Weekly, and brought together Sami Al-Batati, Founder and Presenter of YouTube channel ‘The Shadow of the Book’; Annie Arsane, Head of Platform Strategy for METAP at TikTok; and Joelle Yazbeck, Partner Manager for MENA at Twitter.
Sami Al-Batati said: “The publishing industry has the reader, the author and the critic. With booktubers, it is just readers and critics: readers consume the content while critics use their tools and standards to critique. Booktubers consume and share their personal experiences on the subject they read. Book reviews published by Al-Batati have reached 10 million views on YouTube, allowing a book reviewing community to widely grow in the Arab world.”
Annie Arsane said that the book reading community on TikTok has grown to 54 billion views globally. “People today love talking about the books they read, this has been a reality across time, but the problem is how do you find a person who has read a book that you have read and how do you find someone who has interesting recommendations. What media platforms have done is creating a space for people to have this discussion,” she said.
Joelle Yazbeck said: “On Twitter, we provide the ability for the public to engage directly with the authors, breaking the barriers and providing a real engagement for both. When a book is published and conversations are happening around it, the reader or the author have the ability to influence the public who start following the conversation and discussions on that book or subject.”
The 31st edition of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF), organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), will launch tomorrow under the theme ‘Inspire, Innovate, Enrich’.
The Fair, running from 23rd to 29th May at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), will see participation of more than 1,130 publishers from over 80 countries
This year, ADIBF will be hosting more than 450 cultural, academic and creative events, as well as interactive activities that appeal to all sections of society. As the Guest of Honour for ADIBF 2022, the Federal Republic of Germany will present an integrated programme showcasing the country’s culture and history at its own pavilion. These include events with nearly 80 publishers, experts and creators taking part in more than 14 cultural and professional sessions, as well as screenings of German films based on books. Visitors will also be invited to explore the works of renowned poet, author, playwright, and novelist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, while a visual narration at the pavilion will introduce visitors to illustrious German tradition of creativity and literature.
Audiences can enjoy events at numerous locations throughout ADIBF, including the main podium, youth platform, business lobby, lifestyle corner and art corner. The programme features a wide range of dialogue sessions, seminars, and literary, cultural and academic events. Some of the most-anticipated guests include Syrian poet and literary critic Adonis; Guido Imbens, who was awarded one half of the 2021 Nobel Prize for Economics; Prof. Roger Allen, leading Western researcher in modern Arabic literature; and Prof. Muhsin J. Al-Musawi, Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York.
This year’s event will also include a wide range of educational events and activities for children including musical and dance performances, workshops and more. The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre is inviting all members of society to attend the exhibition and participate in its events.
The 31st edition of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF), organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), is set to host prominent Arab and international cultural and academic figures who have contributed to human knowledge with work in the fields of literature, language, thought leadership and cultural studies.
British Professor Dr Roger Allen, Professor of Arabic Language and Comparative Literature at the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilisations at the University of Pennsylvania, will be one of the notable experts participating in the upcoming edition of the Fair, which will take place from 23 to 29 May, 2022, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). Dr Allen is known for his contributions in the field of translation, introducing Western readers to the works of Arab writers such as Naguib Mahfouz, Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, Abd Al Rahman Munif, Youssef Idris, and other Arab literary figures.
Also joining ADIBF 2022 will be Professor Muhsin J. Al Musawi, Dr. Muhsin J. Al-Musawi (Iraq/USA) is Professor of classical and modern Arabic literature, comparative and cultural studies at Columbia University, New York. A renowned scholar and literary critic, who has enriched Arabic literature with works such as ‘The Arabic Novel: Rise and Transformation’; ‘The Age of The Novel’; ‘Tharat Shahrazad: The Art of Modern Arab Narrative’; ‘Orientalism in Arab Thought’; ‘The Arab Novel After Mahfouz’, and many others.
Fair-goers will also be introduced to the achievements of Professor Homi K Bhabha the Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of Humanities, Department of English, and Director of the Humanities Centre, at Harvard University. Prof. Bhabha is the Founding Director of the Mahindra Centre for the Humanities at Harvard and Senior Advisor to the President and Provost of Harvard University. He worked as a professor of the Humanities in the English Department and Comparative Literature Department at Harvard University. His works include ‘The Location of Culture’ which was reprinted as one of the most prominent classics in the field, and ‘Nation and Narration’, in addition to scholarly articles in the fields of post-colonial studies and cultural theory, cultural migration, globalisation and human rights.
The exhibition will also host Professor Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Professor of Humanities, Columbia University. She is a founding member of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society. Prof. Spivak is a leading global figure on feminist issues, language, and development. Spivak is best known for her translation of and introduction to Jacques Derrida's De la grammatologie, (1976), ‘In Other Worlds: Essays in Cultural Politics’ (1987), and others.
Some of the world’s most influential media and publishing experts will be appearing in the UAE capital this month for the first-ever International Congress of the Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries.
Organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), the Congress will take place on 22 May 2020 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). The event is part of Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF 2022), which will run from May 23 to 29 at the same venue.
The Congress will bring together 300 experts from around the world representing international companies including Disney+, TikTok, World Bank, Rakuten Kobo and The New York Times to discuss how the publishing industry can evolve to nurture the growth of Arabic content.
Congress highlights will include a special guest speaker, Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, President of the International Publishers Association, as well as keynote speakers Nicholas Carr, Pulitzer Prize finalist and New York Times bestselling author, Rakuten Kobo CEO Michael Tamblyn, and Ann Hiatt, a bestselling author and Silicon Valley veteran.
Another highlight will be a panel discussion titled ‘Arabic Media Crossover: Adapting Books into Audio, Film, and Games’, featuring Hollywood screenwriter and podcast host Todd Gallicano; Maha Abdullah, MENA Localisation Consultant for Disney+ Streaming Services; Sultan Al Riyami, Head of Gaming and eSports for the Creative Media Authority at DCT Abu Dhabi; and Jonathan Knight, General Manager of Games at The New York Times. Moderated by Michael Garin, Director General of the Creative Media Authority, the session will explore how the regional publishing industry can maximise original Arabic content while maintaining its cultural distinctiveness, as streaming video becomes the main source of content for users around the world.
His Excellency Dr Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of ALC, said: “We are proud to host the inaugural Arabic International Congress of Publishing and Creative Industries, an initiative of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre aimed at discussing to ways to enhance the value and increase Arabic content through multiple platforms.”
The Congress will feature other expert-led panels and discussions bringing together leading publishers, content creators and professionals from the creative industries. These include ‘Is Social Media the New Book Market?’, which will explore the role social platforms play in increasing book sales and the impact of ‘booktubers’ and social media influencers. Moderated by Ed Nawotka, Editor of Publishers’ Weekly, the event will feature Saudi booktuber Sami Al Batati; Joelle Yazbeck, Partner Manager MENA for Twitter; and Annie Arsane, Regional Head of Platform Strategy at TikTok.
Another panel, ‘Education and Publishing in the Virtual World’, explores the links between education and technology and whether publishing in open access is becoming a reality. The session will be moderated by Hanada Taha Thomure, Endowed Professor of Arabic Language at Zayed University, and will feature Al Kingsley, CEO of edtech company NetSupport; Cristobal Cobo, Senior Education Specialist at the World Bank; John Russell, Director of Education for Alef Education; and Bissan Korban, Head of Products and Services at Pearson Education.
There will also be ‘fireside discussion’ titled ‘What Does the Future Hold for Arabic Content on the Internet?’ looking at how high-quality Arabic content can be nurtured in cyberspace. Nafez Dakkak, an expert in the edtech industry who focusses on uncovering new solutions that elevate educational systems, will be joined by Abdulsalam Haykal, Founder and Executive Chairman of Majarra.
Seating is limited, so pre-registration is essential to participate in the event. To register, please send an email to: email@example.com, with more information available at congress.adbookfair.com
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has announced the adoption of a new ‘Sales Monitoring System’ for the upcoming Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2022. The system uses advanced technology to provide instant information about the sales of books and materials within the exhibition allowing exhibitors access to detailed sales data and reports on a daily basis.
Through this system, ALC seeks to provide a user-friendly sales experience for exhibitors and visitors alike to help monitor book fair sales and give insight into readers’ interests. Facilitating access to a documented database of books and materials on display will also support planning for future events based on market demand.
Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji, Acting Executive Director of the ALC and Director of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, said: “At the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, we were keen to harness advanced technology to serve cultural mobility and elevate the status of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair and other exhibitions that we organise for the growth of the publishing industry. The new system, which meets the highest global standards, will provide an accurate and precise mechanism for book sales, saving time, effort and cost for exhibitors and visitors alike.”
He added: “We hope that this system will streamline sales of books at book fairs and boost the confidence of publishers and exhibitors at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. We look forward to this technology as a promising opportunity to advance the publishing sector, especially as we are recovering from a pandemic that impacted the volume of book sales not just in the Arab world but also globally.”
The system reduces human error by providing accurate information checks to verify the numbers entered, and streamlines purchases, invoices and the required data with details and reports for all book sales at exhibitions. Using sophisticated technology, it assists exhibitors in monitoring daily sales, showing inventory size and facilitating the process of tracking sales at a much lower cost.
The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) 2022 has named renowned Egyptian author Taha Hussein as ‘Personality of the Year’ for its 31st edition, which will take place from 23 to 29 May at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre with high-profile authors, intellectuals and publishers from around the world set to attend.
The fair is organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi.
Through its ‘Personality of the Year’ the event highlights every year a distinguished literary or intellectual figure that has left an indelible mark on Arab literature, thought, and culture. Hussein’s achievements have stood the test of time, his work still highly influential more than four decades after his passing. The author laid the foundations for an ‘enlightenment’ across the Arab world in the 20th century, and his works remain a fundamental base from which cultural and intellectual initiatives can be launched to further advance the Arabic language and literature.
Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji, Acting Executive Director of ALC and Director of Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, said: “Now entering its third decade of operations, the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2022 is proud to honour Taha Hussein with its esteemed accolade of ‘Personality of the Year’. About 50 years after his passing, the impact of the renowned Egyptian author’s literary output and intellectual contributions still resonate throughout the Arab world; they remain an invaluable source for scholars and researchers to study the Arabic language and its wealth of knowledge and ideas. As we celebrate this most influential figure, fondly known as the ‘Dean of Arabic Literature’, we have a prime opportunity to introduce his work to wider audiences, and it is our hope that a new generation of readers will discover and be inspired Hussein’s work, a gateway through which to explore their Arabic heritage, culture, and history.”
Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2022 will have a dedicated ‘Personality of the Year’ pavilion, and will host 4 sessions gathering Arab and international literary critics and writers to shed light on key aspects of Hussein’s intellectual, cultural, and literary output and influence.
The list of prominent figures set to join are Dr. Ines Abdeldayem, Egypt’s Minister of Culture; Syrian poet and critic Adonis; H.E. Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC; Dr. Salah Fadl, President of the Arab Language Academy in Cairo; and H.E Mohamed Al-Murr, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Library Foundation, among others.
The fair will also launch a new book series dedicated to studies and research on the work and life of Hussein, in collaboration with Arab publishers, and will be sponsoring the publication of new editions of the author’s works, and offering a selection of them in audiobook, digital and pictorial formats.
This year ADIBF will host more than 1,000 publishers from 80 countries, with more than 400 different activities targeting different audiences and age groups, including panel discussions and seminars, poetry evenings, children’s activities, and a wide range of cultural, creative and educational workshops and sessions, in addition to events under the Professional programme for publishers.
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has helped develop an innovative new app that encourages adoption and mastery of the Arabic language.
The ‘Scan and Learn Arabic’ app, launched in collaboration with Abu Dhabi’s Department of Community Development (DCD) and Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT), allows smartphone and tablet users to scan objects around the city, the names of which are then translated into Arabic.
The app aims to support all the government entities’ mandate to create a cohesive society, fostered through language learning. The initiative also furthers the ALC’s objectives to support Arabic by harnessing innovation, while ensuring the preservation of the language and its continued use in everyday society.
Users can download the application for free on iOS and Android platforms, and then use its built-in optical reader to scan texts at key facilities along the Abu Dhabi Corniche – the first of many sites in the emirate to be added. This will help visitors and residents from all segments of the community to learn the Arabic language and use it more in their daily lives.
His Excellency Dr Ali Bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, said: “We are dedicated to preserving the Arabic language as a core component of our Arab and Emirati culture, and keep it unmistakably present in the everyday lives of all members of our community. This initiative allows us to make the most from advanced technologies in our efforts to advance the Arabic language, improve its proficiency among speakers, and cement its position as the primary language of use among native speakers, while paving the way for non-native speakers to learn it.”
His Excellency Eng. Hamad Ali Al Dhaheri, Undersecretary of the DCD, said “The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre is collaborating with various key sectors in the emirate to launch this initiative, which reflects the extent to which entities and institutions across Abu Dhabi value the Arabic language and consider it to be a language of creativity and cross-cultural communication, bringing Arab communities closer with societies around the world. We fully recognise and appreciate the importance of such initiatives in strengthening our national identity through the Arabic language, one of the most essential foundations in our Arab and Emirati culture. Learning Arabic will also strengthen social cohesion among all components of our community. Research has shown that promoting the official language in any country and creating opportunities to learn it more easily enhances communication and solidarity among all the groups that make up said society.
“On one hand, the initiative allows for more extensive communication among all segments of the community, strengthening native speakers’ bond with the Arabic language. On the other hand, it sheds light on an array of educational options they can use to deepen their knowledge of the language. It will also enhance Arabic vocabularies amongst speakers, make the language more accessible, and widen its scope of use. It is essential that we support the Arabic language, advance it, and encourage younger generations to use it – this is the first step to driving sustainable development across communities and strengthen the bonds that bring a society together.”
His Excellency Abdulla Al Sahi, Undersecretary of the DMT, said: “It is critical that all relevant parties work together in order to provide all the tools necessary for promoting the use of the Arabic language in every aspect of our daily lives. The Arabic language is immensely rich in details and vocabulary and has had an undeniable legacy and tremendous contributions towards human civilisation for centuries. Our native language is one of the most important means of communication; it has long been the cornerstone of the harmony in our societies, offering a platform throughout history for literary, scientific, and social dialogue between various peoples.
“For our part in this joint project, the Department of Municipalities and Transport will work to identify key sites in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi throughout all stages of the initiative. We will work to ensure that the necessary technology is applied in order to advance the Arabic language in our operations and strengthen its role as a means for serving the community and promoting cohesion among various nationalities.”
As part of its participation in National Reading Month 2023, the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has partnered with the Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination to organise the ‘Determined to Read’ exhibition at the Majlis Sheikh Mubarak bin Qaran Al Mansouri in Al Dhafra region’s city of Ghiyathi, from 13 to 15 March 2023.
The event, which is the first of its kind in Ghiyathi, presents a small-scale book fair for People of Determination, catering to their needs and aspirations by providing books and publications in various fields. The Centre is also organising a series of accompanying events alongside the exhibition, in order to establish a culture of reading and promote it as a daily habit among all individuals.
The ALC is organising the exhibition as part of the activities for the ‘Khazanat Al Kutub’ initiative, providing nearly 200 titles and a total of 700 books across various fields, including children’s and young adult books, literature, history, natural and social sciences, arts, sports, and languages.
His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, said: “The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre constantly strives to advance the status of the Arabic language in cultural, creative, and academic fields, and to that end, we work to organise impactful cultural events and projects throughout the year, targeting all segments of the community, including People of Determination. We deeply believe that reading and books are an essential right for all, and with that in mind, it is important to join hands and work together to enable all individuals to access books in various fields, and to benefit from the significant cultural movement the UAE is witnessing, and particularly during National Reading Month.
“By organising the ‘Determined to Read’ exhibition, we aim to expand the reach of the ‘Khazanat Al Kutub’ initiative, launched by the ALC to motivate the public to acquire its publications in various fields, and to ensure that they reach the largest number of readers in various regions and cities around the UAE,” H.E. bin Tamim added. “The initiative has achieved remarkable success since its launch, and today, the event has reached the city of Ghiyathi, where it hopes to inspire a culture of reading among residents, build a community of avid readers, enhance their awareness and culture, and enable them to actively participate in the UAE’s sustainable development.”
His Excellency Abdullah Abdul Ali Al Humaiden, Secretary-General of Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination, said: "Through these activities, we aim to promote the concept of reading in the field of care and rehabilitation of People of Determination, in line with the National Reading Strategy 2026, and to create a generation of readers and an educated and conscious society, and the Foundation seeks to instill a love of reading in the hearts of its members, pointing out that Zayed Foundation will work hard to integrate this category into the programmes and initiatives included in the National Reading Policy to spread knowledge among People of Determination, and enable them to access contemporary knowledge.”
The exhibition offers visitors several themed corners to explore, in addition to a range of activities, including the Children’s Knowledge Challenge Competition, and a reading workshop for parents titled ‘A Book I Like’, in addition to performances by the Marionette Puppet Theatre and the Story Corner. The event welcomes visitors In the first period from 10 am to 1 pm, and in the second period from 5 pm to 8 pm.