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People on the opening day of 38th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) at the Sharjah Expo Centre. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Sharjah His Highness Dr Shaikh Dr Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, issued a directive to allocate Dh4.5 million for purchasing new books from publishing houses that are participating at the 38th edition of Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF).

The move comes in line with his ongoing efforts aimed at supporting the book industry and aims to provide public and government libraries, across the Emirate of Sharjah, with the latest Arabic and international books.

The generous initiative aligns with Dr Shaikh Sultan’s commitment to ensure that Sharjah’s public and government libraries have diverse academic and cultural titles. The initiative gives libraries access to the latest books on history, literature, politics and arts, which are published by a host of Arab and international publishers.

Sharjah’s libraries are vital referential centres for researchers, intellectuals, experts, school and university students and all those interested in literature and culture in the Emirate of Sharjah and the UAE.

Craft and folk art city

Meanwhile, the Sharjah Ruler said UNESCO’s selection of Sharjah as a ‘crafts and folk art’ city for the Creative Cities Network is a global endorsement of the emirate’s decades-long emphasis on bringing generations closer to their heritage and national identity.

He praised his wife Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, saying she has been at the core of boosting women’s role in promoting local crafts. “Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi has passionately spearheaded the women’s empowerment movement in the UAE. Her passion for creating an enabling environment for Emirati women artisans in rural Sharjah to turn their practice of traditional crafts into a source of professional and social empowerment led to the establishment of Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council in 2016.”

Since its launch, the Council has offered employment and creative expression to 60 women across Sharjah.

Shaikha Jawaher bint Mohammad said: “Every global recognition bestowed on Sharjah is a reinforcement of the success of the human-centric vision of development Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi has led over the past 40 years.”

“Sharjah is working tirelessly to preserve the heritage of this nation and breathe new life and meaning into it, so it can be practiced sustainably and can inspire the rapid cultural renaissance the UAE witnesses today,” said Shaikha Jawaher Al Qasimi added that the Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council has played an unparalleled role in economically empowering women by turning their practice into a sustainable source of income.