A delegation from the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) and the Knowledge without Borders (KWB) recently visited the State of Kuwait to promote the initiatives and programmes they have launched in the UAE with the aim of encouraging the culture of reading and to discuss potential joint ventures between the two countries.
Headed by Marwa Obaid Al Aqroubi, President of the UAEBBY, and Rashid Al Kous, General Manager of Knowledge without Borders, the delegation held a meeting with Sheikha Al Zain Sabah Al Nasser Al Sabah, Undersecretary of the Ministry of State for Youth Affairs, in presence of Dr Fawaz Salem Al Husainan, Assistant Undersecretary of Youth Projects and Munira Al Obaidan, Cultural Projects Officer at the Ministry. Present in the meeting were also Dr Gabriele Landwehr, General Manager of the Goethe Institute – Gulf Region, and Bettina Quabius, project coordinator at the institute.
Sheikha Al Zain Sabah Al Nasser Al Sabah, Undersecretary of the Ministry of State for Youth Affairs, welcomed the visiting delegation and praised the good relations between Kuwait and the UAE in all fields, particularly in the cultural field. She expressed her delight with the cultural projects being carried out by the UAE, in general, and Sharjah in particular, which contribute to encouraging all segments of society to read and love books.
Marwa Obaid Al Aqroubi presented the major initiatives launched by the UAEBBY in the last few years, including ‘Read, Dream, Create’ launched by the board to support the capabilities of children and young adults to read, write, innovate, and create. Al Aqroubi presented the ‘Books Made in the UAE’ project organised by the UAEBBY in collaboration with Goethe Institute – Gulf Region, through which the board aims to further develop the children’s book industry in the UAE. She said that the project has contributed to the publishing of high quality books in terms of content and production, some of which have received recognition awards at the Arab, regional and international levels. The project has helped improve the expertise and skills of UAE authors and illustrators who have interest in children books.
She said, “This visit comes within the framework of boosting the cultural relations and exchanging experience, as Kuwait has leading experience at the cultural level. The visit will strengthen cooperation and help achieve more outstanding projects in this context, particularly with regards to Sharjah’s desire to promote its cultural initiatives across the world.” She added “Kuwait is seeking to carry out a Kuwaiti version of ‘Books Made in the UAE’, in collaboration with the UAEBBY and Goethe Institute – Gulf Region. The UAE delegation expressed its eagerness to cooperate with the concerned Kuwaiti institutions in implementing the project this year.”
Rashid Al Kous presented a brief about the Knowledge without Borders project as well as an overview of its most important achievements and initiatives, including ‘Library in every Home’ and the ‘Mobile Bus Library’, commenting that the project was able to has been highly successful in establishing the library as an essential part of every house across the emirate of Sharjah and has managed to strengthen the relationship between books and members of community through its continuous campaigns to encourage reading.
The General Manager of the KWB remarked that the project is keen to strengthen cooperation with parties concerned with reading and books in the Arab countries in order to facilitate the exchange of experience and views on the best ways to encourage reading among all members of the family in the Arab world. He added: “Knowledge without Borders seeks to promote its activities outside the borders of the UAE and to have its model replicated across the Arab countries. This goal is in line with the leading role being played by the emirate of Sharjah in supporting the local, Arab, and regional culture.”
Concluding the meeting with Sheikha Al Zain Sabah Al Nasser Al Sabah, Sharjah’s delegation visited the National Library of Kuwait, where they were familiarised with Department of Children’s Books and the most important activities organised by the library to encourage children to read. The delegation met Eng. Ali Hussein Al Youha, Secretary General of the National Council for Culture, Art, and Literature in Kuwait. He presented the role of the council in supporting Arab culture through its activities including its periodical publications that target the Arab readers as well as many other activities organised in Kuwait.
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