Rashid Mohammed Al Kous, General Manager of Knowledge Without Borders (KWB), has stated that the project will distribute 2,055,000 books for over 42000 families in different areas of the emirate of Sharjah during the project’s main phase, a third of which has been complete so far. He added that KWB has contributed to developing the local and Arab publishing industry by supporting publishers who are committed to the quality standards required by the KWB to buy books from publishers.
The statement was made during his participation in ‘Opening the Doors: Unshor Initiative’, which was organised at InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City, yesterday (Saturday), on the sidelines of the closing day of the 6th Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. The panel discussion was attended by a number of UAE publishers and featured Nora Al Noman, Mohammed Al Matroushi, and Ali Al Shaali and was moderated by author and publisher Ali Al Shehi.
Al Kous clarified that the Knowledge Without Borders project is an initiative of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to promote reading in community by providing a home library composed of 50 books to 42,000 national family in the emirate of Sharjah. The total number of books is 2,055,000, of which 630,000 books have been distributed to 13000 families. Next week the project will start distributing libraries in Al Dhaid to 4500 families, bringing the total number of books to about one million by the end of this phase, which will continue over 2014 and 2015.
He said that the UAE’s publishers are the cornerstone of the KWB project, as the project buys and distributes only Arabic books that meet selection criteria which include excellent content, attractive designs and good printing to encourage all members of community to read.
Al Kous added that KWB supports local and Arab publishers with AED4 million purchases annually from Sharjah International Book Fair and Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival. He said the project also buys books directly from members of the Emirates Publishers Association, adding that the project will be signing an agreement with the UAE Board on Books for Young People to buy books of the ‘Books – Made in the UAE’ project.
The Knowledge without Borders project was launched in 2008 under the auspices of HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and with the close follow up Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the KWB’s Organising Committee. The move aims to spread community awareness on the importance of reading and general knowledge, and to establish a library in every house containing a valuable collection of Arabic books that address different topics, including literary, scientific, religious, cultural, and children’s books, among many more.
The project contributes to enhance Sharjah’s reputation as the cultural capital in the UAE. An extensive programme of lectures, workshops, and cultural activities are being held for schools, universities, libraries and members of community from different ages and nationalities, as part of the initiative.
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