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Ahmed Al Ameri, Chairman of Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) received the Guest of Honour title from Manpreet Vohra, Indian Ambassador to the Republic of Mexico, on the sidelines of FIL 2019. Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: Sharjah has received the official Guest of Honour title for the 34th edition of the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL 2020), to be held November 28 to December 6, 2020 in Mexico.

Sharjah is the first city in the Arab region to receive this prestigious honour, and will be seen playing a key role in promoting Arab and Emirati culture in Mexico and Latin America. Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) received the title from Manpreet Vohra, Indian Ambassador to the Republic of Mexico, on the sidelines of FIL 2019, and announced the emirate’s official participation logo for FIL 2020, which says ‘Everyone is welcome’ in Arabic.

India was Guest of Honour at the 2019 edition, and passed on the baton to Sharjah during a handover ceremony held in the presence of Raúl Padilla López; President of FIL; Marisol Schulz Manaut, General Director of FIL; Ricardo Villanueva Lomelí, Rector General of University of Guadalajara (UDG); authors, publishers and media representatives.

Matter of great pride

Accepting the title, Al Ameri said: “Our respective languages and cultures are the strongest proof of the vibrant historical relationship between Arabs and Latin America. It is a matter of great pride for Sharjah to receive the Guest of Honour status at FIL 2020. We look forward to being the cultural focus at the largest-of-its-kind Spanish-language event next year. Needless to mention the pivotal role FIL has been playing in the promoting the global cultural movement for over 40 years now”.

Al Ameri said that the recently concluded Sharjah International Book Fair 2019 celebrated a very successful participation by Mexico as guest of honour. “We look forward to being in Mexico soon to continue this new cultural thrust that has been initiated by both sides to establish deeper connections between the Emirati and Latin cultures.”

Virbant cultural programme

As the FIL 2020 guest of honour, Sharjah will present a vibrant cultural programme featuring seminars and discussions, showcase traditional Emirati art and craft, including calligraphy, in addition to folk shows presenting traditional Emirati song and dance.

López, President of FIL has said: “Today, our sight is focused on the Middle East where Sharjah is one of the most important cultural cities. We are celebrating the emirate to further expand global dialogue because we believe that as FIL Guest of Honour in 2020, Sharjah will open new horizons for more communication and cooperation with Arab culture in general”.

Emirati musician

The handing over ceremony concluded with a musical performance by Emirati musician Taresh Al Shamsi, where he played a soulful Oud rendition of the UAE’s national anthem, as well as Mexican and Indian pieces to express the ability of art to unite people and reveal cultural commonalities.