SBA chairman Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri (second from left) with a delegation of US senators including Gustavo Rivera, Kevin Thomas, and James Skoufis in Sharjah

Sharjah: The exchange of books and cultural programmes between the UAE and the US is set to grow following a meeting between Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) and a delegation of US senators.

SBA chairman Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri recently received a delegation of US senators including Gustavo Rivera, Kevin Thomas, and James Skoufis, to explore cooperation between the SBA and cultural affairs entities in the US.

During a meeting at SBA headquarters, the two parties discussed several topics related to the publishing industry, library development, and the enhancement of Sharjah’s participation in Arab cultural initiatives in the US.

The delegates also visited Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone and were briefed on the benefits offered to investors. They were briefed on the international festivals and initiatives organised by SBA, including Sharjah International Book Fair, Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival and the Sharjah Children’s Book Illustration Exhibition.

Translated books

Al Ameri said: “We are also providing the US book market with the opportunity to double the number of translations of literary works from Arabic to English and vice versa, as we seek to foster the presence of Arabic books in one of the largest book markets worldwide. Boosting support for Arabic books will have a direct and positive impact on the cultural and creative spheres in the region.”

Senator Rivera praised the support of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to promote a culture of reading and foster the role of books in cross-cultural communication.

Senator Thomas said: “We have seen that Sharjah has a long-term vision to enhance the future of culture and foster its presence in all aspects of life, and this is clearly manifested through the emirate’s dedication to promoting knowledge and ensuring that the largest segment of society has access to books.”

Senator Skoufis said he looks forward to more strategic partnerships with Sharjah in public and private sectors, pointing out that the meeting with SBA’s officials will pave the way for greater cooperation between Sharjah and US cultural entities that seek to expand into the emirate.