Madrid: Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) and Cása Árabe (The Arabian House) have discussed a plan to promote Arab and Emirati culture in Spain and wider Europe.
The plan follows the signing of an agreement between the two sides in 2019. The plan includes organising joint cultural events at Cása Árabe headquarters in Madrid and Cordoba, as well as Cása Árabe’s participation in the 40th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) in November, which will host Spain as Guest of Honour.
The 2019 agreement had been signed on the sidelines of an official visit by His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to Madrid in October 2019. It seeks to strengthen collaboration between Sharjah and Spain in several areas through their regional and international networks as well as cultural exchange through mutually beneficial programmes.
The recent discussion was part of a meeting headed by Ahmad Bin Al Ameri, chairman of SBA, and Pedro Martínez-Avial, director-general of Casa Árabe, held at the Cása Árabe headquarters in Madrid in the presence of representatives from both sides. The two parties agreed on a series of events showcasing Arab and Emirati culture and literature that will be held during Sharjah’s participation in the Madrid Book Fair - LIBER next October.
Review of works
A highlight of the sessions will be a review of the theatrical works of Dr Shaikh Sultan, including those that have been translated into Spanish. Sharjah will also organise literary seminars to highlight the creative and cultural movements in the Arab world, including the latest research that has been done on the aesthetics of Arabic calligraphy.
Al Ameri said: “In line with the vision of His Highness The Ruler of Sharjah, we believe that anything founded on knowledge and creativity is bound to be sustainable, and can be passed on to future generations. With this in mind, we are committed to partnering with world’s leading cultural organisations, and we find Cása Árabe to be an ideal platform for sharing Emirati and Arab culture not only with Spain, but also with the wider European continent.”
Influence on Spanish culture
Martínez-Avial said: “Our partnership with Sharjah, as represented by the Sharjah Book Authority, is a matter of pride and joy for us. We look forward to a future where the Spanish and the wider European community enjoy a closer and more sustainable relationship that not only promotes the richness of Arabic culture, literature and arts to non-Arabs, but especially highlights to them its authenticity and uniqueness, especially since it has had a major influence on the Spanish culture.”
The SBA delegation also visited the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), a public body under the aegis of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The visit included meetings followed by a tour of the Islamic Library at AECID, which hosts rare manuscripts and features a special section showcasing the publications of Dr Shaikh Sultan that have been translated to Spanish and other foreign languages. These publications were presented by SBA to the Islamic Library at AECID when Sharjah participated as guest of honour at the 2019 edition of Madrid Book Fair - LIBER.