Abu Dhabi: In celebration of translating 900 books into Arabic, the Kalima Project for Translation will be holding a six-day cultural event in Abu Dhabi starting on Thursday to mark the milestone, with a number of reading activities planned, including seminars with authors and translators.
This was announced by its organisers on Sunday.
Launched by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA) nine years ago, the Kalima Project was created to bring back the Arab tradition of translating books into Arabic. The project has been a major success so far with 900 titles from various languages and areas of knowledge translated into Arabic.
The six-day event which will take place in Yas Mall and under the theme of ‘A book is a man’s best companion’, will feature a book fair with many of Kalima’s translated publications on sale, giving young Arabic-speaking residents the opportunity to access books they might have been previously unable to because of the language barrier.
“This event, in accordance with the declaration of 2016 as the Year of Reading by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, highlights TCA Abu Dhabi’s important role in promoting cultural dialogue, raising the level of knowledge in our society by reviving Arabic translation and addressing the shortage of high-quality translated books into Arabic,” said Saif Saeed Gobash, director-general of TCA Abu Dhabi.
Gobash added that it was important to preserve the Arabic language through such initiatives.
“The importance of maintaining quality works in Arabic is highlighted through this initiative which appeals to a large number of reading enthusiasts eager to keep up-to-date with prominent international literature. Our language deserves more attention and appreciation, owing to its rich vocabulary, vast heritage, large number of speakers worldwide, and Kalima has been steadfast in achieving this,” he said.
Abdullah Majid Al Ali, acting executive director, National Library Sector at TCA Abu Dhabi, praised the work of the Kalima project and said that such work was needed to bring different civilisations together.
“As one of our leading projects, Kalima seeks to promote a culture of tolerance and a bridge between civilisations. As we celebrate its ninth anniversary, in conjunction with the Year of Reading, we underline the importance of supporting books and the reading movement.
“The efforts put into this event will help raise awareness of the importance of reading and encourage future generations to engage with books as a way of life,” he added.
A culture of reading in the UAE
The celebration of translating 900 titles into Arabic comes at time when the UAE is heavily invested in spreading the culture of books and reading. 2016 has been marked as the Year of Reading by the UAE and the country also recently passed a National Reading Law to further promote the culture of reading in the UAE.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has also announced plans to build the largest public library in the Arab world located in Dubai. The Mohammad Bin Rashid Library, costing Dh1 billion, will contain more than 4.5 million printed, audio, and e-books.
Marina Mall Abu Dhabi is also celebrating the Year of Reading and is hosting a two-week book fair from November 16 to 26 with several different authors taking part. The event will involve story-telling sessions for young children, including one by Asma Al Katbi on November 25 on her popular book Penguins from 4pm to 6pm. The book fair runs daily from 10am to 10pm.
Kalima Project Event
Where: Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi
When: November 24-29
Marina Mall book fair