MADRID A high-level delegation from the UAE, led by His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, witnessed the launch ceremony of the 37th edition of the LIBER International Book Fair, LIBER 2019, in Madrid, Spain, yesterday.
Sharjah is taking part in the fair as its guest of honour. LIBER 2019 is being held at the Feria de Madrid till October 11.
The Sharjah Ruler was received by José Guero, Spanish minister of culture and sports; Edward Lopez Portez, director-general of Feria de Madrid; Miguel Barrero, president of the Spanish Publishers Association; Leticia Pico de Coaña Suárez, head of division of Cultural Cooperation/Department of Cultural Cooperation and Promotion, Directorate of Cultural and Scientific Relations, Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation; and a host of international and Spanish representatives from cultural entities and publishing houses.
Before the opening ceremony, the Sharjah National Band offered a salutation performance featuring traditional Emirati dances to celebrate the emirate’s participation as the guest of honour.
In his opening speech, Portez said, “It is a great honour to host Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi at the inauguration of LIBER 2019. The Sharjah Ruler is a role model when it comes to supporting and promoting culture and we hope that having the emirate as our guest of honour will be the perfect opportunity to boost cultural cooperation and advance the Arab and Spanish publishing sectors.”
Barrero added, “Sharjah is a point of reference for Emirati and Arab cultures, and for promoting books and reading. These noble customs are vital enablers of growth and coexistence and have positioned the emirate a global book industry hub. The emirate’s leading cultural project has received recognition by the UNESCO as the World Book Capital 2019. We are honoured to be the guest of honour at the Sharjah International Book Fair 2020, one of the most important cultural events in the world.”
Abdullah Mohammed Al Owais, chairman of Sharjah Department of Culture, said, “Wherever we go, we carry our message of the importance of constructive and humanitarian intercultural dialogue as a means to build knowledge-based societies, which enjoy continued peace and stability. Today, Sharjah aims to further cooperate and forge new partnerships, which will pave the way for mutual success in economy, trade and culture.”
After the inaugural ceremony, a commemorative photograph of Dr Shaikh Sultan and the organisers of the LIBER International Book Fair, ministers and heads of cultural institutions in Spain was taken. The Sharjah Ruler then toured the main exhibition hall, Sharjah’s pavilion, and watched a performance by the Sharjah National Band, affiliated to the Sharjah Heritage Institute, in addition, to live workshops in Arabic calligraphy and sewing traditional costumes.