Dubai: In an attempt to raise the level of intellectual and literary capabilities of young Emirati and Arab writers and enrich the cultural movement in UAE and the Arab world, a Writers Exchange programme between the UAE and Japan was launched yesterday (Monday).

In partnership with Japan Arts and Culture Foundation, the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation (MBRF) officially launched the first phase of its Dubai International Programme for Writing where two male and two female writers have been selected from the UAE and Japan to stay for a while in each other’s countries, where they will get opportunities to exchange ideas based on their respective cultures and introduce their works.

On completion of the visits to the UAE and Japan, the writers will narrate their experience to their readers through works in Arabic or Japanese.

Speaking at the conference, Jamal Bin Huwaireb, Managing Director of MBRF, said the programme is in line with the vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who believes in the importance of strengthening the process of knowledge transfer “in order to enhance the contribution of Arab literature and creativity to the literary world”.

“The writers exchange programme partnership has been conceived with the idea of enabling writers to understand other cultures and inspire each other. Writers taking part in the programme will be able to communicate their experience and understanding to their readers. We are focusing more on outcome of the exchange programme, which is based on the first-hand experience of other cultures, as we believe that experience has a long-term impact,” he said.

Yusaku Imamura, senior adviser to the Japan Arts and Culture Foundation, also stressed the importance of the programme and the opportunities it can open.

“Japan and the UAE have many exchanges in the field of business, but until now we did not have significant official cultural exchanges. I hope this programme will be a great opportunity to set the pace for more cultural exchanges between the UAE and Japan,” he said.

The writers from the UAE who are taking part in the programme are Al Hanoof Mohammad, Mohsin Sulaiman, Talal Salim Al Sabri, and Mariam Al Saeedi.

As for the Japanese writers selected, during their stay in the UAE, they will meet MBRF officials and UAE writers. They will also visit key literary and cultural organisations such as Emirates Writers Union in Sharjah and Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Foundation.