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Sharjah: Unesco will be the guest of honour at the upcoming Sharjah International Book Fair, organisers announced on Saturday.

The UN’s cultural heritage body was chosen due to its role in elevating knowledge and education worldwide, particularly in countries afflicted by wars, conflict and natural disasters, according to the Sharjah Book Authority, the book fair’s organiser.

“The decision reflects our deep appreciation for its offerings and sponsorship of an array of projects,” said Ahmad Bin Rakkad Al Ameri, the Sharjah Book Authority’s chairman.

Unesco-backed projects include literacy, technical training, teacher training, international science programmes, cultural and history projects and international cooperation agreements to preserve the world’s culture, natural heritage and human rights.

The Sharjah Book Authority’s cultural ties with Unesco include the ‘Kitab Fi Jarida’ (Book in a Newspaper) project, one of Unesco’s largest projects to promote Arabic books.

Under the scheme, Unesco has published parts and summaries of books in the form of an illustrated monthly supplement inside daily newspapers in Arab countries. The supplement is distributed free of charge.

Since it began, the project has published 300 million copies and highlighted the work of 160 authors.

Established in 1945, just months after the UN was founded, Unesco comprises 195 member countries and has more than 50 field offices and 12 institutions and centres across the globe.

In 1998, Unesco named Sharjah the Cultural Capital of the Arab World. That same year, His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, launched the Unesco-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture.

The prize aims to reward individuals, groups or institutions whose work and achievements have promoted knowledge of Arab art and culture.

The award was founded in line with the emirate’s goal to boost a better understanding of civilisations and to promote international dialogue and exchange between Arab culture and other cultures.

The book fair will take place at Sharjah’s expo centre from November 2 to 12.