Representatives from Sharjah Book Authority and Korean Publishers Association at the signing ceremony Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: The Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) has signed an agreement with the Korean Publishers Association to curate a Guest of Honour programme that celebrates the emirate’s cultural project founded by His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

The agreement was signed during a meeting held in Sejong, South Korea, where the Sharjah delegation headed by Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA, explored avenues for expanding the participation of the two parties in the annual cultural events held by the two sides. In addition, the agreement lays out plans for South Korea’s participation in the diverse array of international events hosted by the emirate.

The meeting was held in the presence of Cheolho Yoon, Chairman of the Korean Publishers Association; Jo Aro, Vice Chairman of the Korean Publishing Association; Khawla Al Mujeini, Director of the Events and Marketing department at SBA, and Mansour Al Hassani, Director of Publisher Services at SBA.

Cultural cooperation

During the visit, the SBA discussed with high-ranking officials from the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism how collaborative efforts in cultural initiatives enhance knowledge transfer, expand the translation volume between Arabic and Korean languages, and promote the inherent cultural similarities between the UAE and Korea.

The SBA delegation held a meeting with officials from the South Korean Ministry during which the two sides discussed the impact of joint work in cultural work on opening up renewed opportunities for exchanging experiences, expanding the volume of mutual translation between Arabic and Korean, as well as raising awareness of the commonalities between the Emirati and South Korean cultures.

The Sharjah delegation shined light on the Sharjah International Book Fair’s journey and its success in facilitating the largest buying and selling rights exhibition in the world. They also highlighted the vision and goals of the Sharjah Reading Festival for Children, and the achievements it has made regarding the promotion of reading in the younger generations. The delegation also noted the opportunities offered by Sharjah Publishing City as the first free zone in the world that caters to publishing, which allows industry members from all over the world to expand their markets into the Middle East and North Africa.

Officials at the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism conveyed their keen interest in the UAE’s cultural landscape, particularly the successful cultural and developmental undertaking championed by Sharjah, and lauded the emirate’s leading role in nurturing creative industries while fostering the growth of the publishing sector as a whole.

Meeting with Starfield Library

The SBA additionally held a meeting with the Starfield Library in Seoul, renowned for its innovative design and offers a stimulating reading environment and promotes libraries’ critical role in disseminating knowledge through advanced and inspiring tools and media.

During the meeting the SBA delegation delivered a comprehensive presentation, highlighting the unique features and departments of Sharjah’s public libraries, and extended an invitation to the Korean library to participate in SBA’s National Libraries Summit and the Sharjah International Library Conference, organised annually in tandem with the world renowned Sharjah International Book Fair.

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Al Ameri said: “The productive meeting with our South Korean counterparts translates the vision of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, in exploring new avenues of cooperation with global cultural institutions. We share many objectives with South Korea aimed at advancing the role of books in fostering a knowledge-based society and achieving developmental goals.”

He added: “Sharjah’s status as a distinguished centre of the knowledge industry has led it to be crowned the Guest of Honour at the Seoul International Book Fair. Sharjah will utilise the unique opportunity to strengthen cultural ties and cooperation between entities from the emirate and its South Korean counterparts and provide a captivating window into this rich and multifaceted history, present, and future of Arab culture.”

Yoon said: “The Arabic culture is of significant interest to the populace of South Korea, evidenced by the substantial number of students learning the Arabic language and culture, as well as the number of educational institutions that offer courses in this subject matter. As such, it is with great pleasure that we selected Sharjah as the Guest of Honour for the upcoming edition of the Seoul International Book Fair as Sharjah represents the primary gateway to deepen our understanding of the Arab region and its rich history. The emirate is world renowned as a centre of Arab literature, art, and intellectual pursuits, due to its various international exhibitions and activities and its prominent status in major global cultural forums.”