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Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman, Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), during the ceremony in Mexico to receive Sharjah Guest of Honour title. Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: Sharjah has received the official ‘Guest of Honour’ title for the 36th edition of the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL 2022) being held in November 2020, in celebration of Emirati and Arab culture and its eminent authors, writers and intellectuals.

As the first city to represent Emirati and Arab culture at a book fair in Mexico, the Guest of Honour status also recognises the achievements of the emirate’s prestigious cultural project.

Guest of Honour award

Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman, Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), received the title from Manuel Gerardo Talavera, Ambassador of the Republic of Peru, during a ceremony held at the conclusion of the 35th edition of FIL in the presence of Raúl Padilla López, President of FIL; Marisol Schulz Manaut, General Director of FIL; and a host of authors, publishers, and media personalities. Peru is the Guest of Honour at the 2021 edition of the Guadalajara International Book Fair.

The Guadalajara International Book Fair is the most important cultural event of its kind in Latin America and receives hundreds of thousands of visitors from across Mexico and the region. Sharjah has been a participant at FIL for a decade and is the only representative of Arab culture in South America.

Distringuished Emirati works

Ahmed Al Ameri said: “Under the directives and guidance of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, the emirate has been leading cross-cultural communication with nations across the world, introducing the Arab culture and literature, and highlighting the distinguished Emirati works. Today, it is enough to say: we are from Sharjah, as the emirate has become a synonym for books, literature, and knowledge internationally.”

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He added: “Participating in FIL 2022 as Guest of Honour is an opportunity to introduce Latin America to Emirati and Arab cultures, especially as there has been an overwhelming interest among Spanish-speaking visitors to know more about Arab literature and its prominent intellectuals.”

He continued: “In Sharjah, we believe that relationships built on a foundation of books, arts, and knowledge between two cultures, two countries, and two civilisations have a profound impact and historic value that transcends time.”

As the FIL 2022 Guest of Honour, Sharjah will present a vibrant cultural programme featuring seminars and discussions, showcase traditional Emirati art and craft, in addition to traditional shows presenting traditional Emirati song and dance, and highlighting the Arabic culture through various art forms.

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Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman, Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), received the title from Manuel Gerardo Talavera, Ambassador of the Republic of Peru, during a ceremony in Mexico.

For his part, Raúl Padilla López; President of FIL, said: “With Sharjah’s presence as Guest of Honour at FIL 2022, we are looking forward to highlighting the rich Arabic culture and the valued diverse heritage of the region to our audiences here. Sharjah is the best symbolic representative of the culture and identity of the vast Arab world, and its presence will enrich the book fair, support the cultural exchange between us and the Arab nations, and pave the way for constructive dialogues between Mexican and Arab intellectuals and writers.”

Cultrual contribution

Manuel Gerardo Talavera, Ambassador of Peru to Mexico, said: “We are delighted to meet Sharjah here in Mexico and appreciate the immense cultural contributions undertaken by the emirate, under the directives of the Ruler of Sharjah, which has reinforced its leading status on the global cultural scene. The pioneering initiatives of the emirate has strengthened relations and cultural exchanges among nations.”

He added: “FIL was a unique opportunity to showcase our culture and learn more about Emirati and Arab cultures through Sharjah’s participation. We are looking forward to meet again with the UAE in Peru to build on our relationship and forge new partnerships.”

Coffee pot

Al Ameri presented the Peruvian Ambassador with a traditional Emirati coffee pot and cups adorned with Tally patterns designed by the Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council.

During its participation in FIL 2022, Sharjah will hold dialogues with Mexican authors, publishers, and intellectuals, and organise meetings with publishers from Latin America to exchange expertise and advance knowledge-based sectors.