RIYADH: Minister of Culture and Information Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad inaugurated the Riyadh International Book Fair at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center (RICEC) on Wednesday.
The most-awaited literary carnival in the capital aims to facilitate quality exchanges between authors, publishers and readers.
With the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the “Guest of Honor” country this year, the opening ceremony was attended by Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development Noura bint Mohammed Al-Kaabi, who is leading a high-ranking delegation from the UAE.
Speaking at the opening session, Al-Awwad highlighted the importance of the annual book fair as a bridge to promote Arab culture.
He also spoke on the very cordial Saudi-UAE relationship. “Choosing the UAE as the guest of honor country reflects the deep-rooted connections between the two countries in the political, economic and cultural fields,” he said.
Al-Kaabi echoed the sentiment: “The UAE has deep-rooted ties with Saudi Arabia which were established by leadership over the years, this bond has been strengthened over time by joint synergy and cooperation across a number of areas.”
“The relationship we enjoy today has demonstrated positive results in the ongoing development of the political, economic and social levels for both countries,” she said.
“With the UAE being the guest of honor, we look to share the best of what the UAE has to offer from an artistic and literary point of view,” she added.
“Book fairs are platforms in which countries showcase their cultural standing, important contributions in the arts, literature and science fields, as well as promoting dialogue and exchange among participants,” she said. “The UAE is looking forward to highlighting its rich cultural offering through the participation of more than 20 publishing houses and cultural institutions.
The two ministers also presented prizes to winners in different categories for their books. The 10-day event is being held under the patronage of King Salman with the theme “The book is the future of transformation.”
The event will see the participation of a number of dignitaries representing more than 20 UAE cultural institutions including the National Archives, the Emirates Writers Union, the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, the Fujairah Culture and Media Authority, the Emirates Publishers Association, the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, UAE Board on Books for Young People, the Abu Dhabi Poetry Academy, the Sharjah Department of Culture and Information, and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation.
The UAE pavilion will host a number of poetry nights, cultural seminars, events and children’s programs including a mural that will bring together artists from both countries.
The pavilion will also be hosting the “Youth Circle” — a youth seminar organized by the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development in cooperation with the MiSK foundation and the Arab Youth Center.
This year 520 publishing houses are participating from 27 countries, in addition to a number of government agencies and private institutions.
The fair, organized annually by the Ministry of Culture and Information (MoCI), has become a gathering point for readers, authors, and local and regional publishing houses. This was evident from the huge turnout of visitors and participants on the opening day.
It offers books from different genres for readers of all ages, and has a diverse program of activities, including for children and youths.
The fair, which started more than a decade ago, displays a large collection of books on Islam, Arab culture, history, medicine, law, science, technology, mass media and communication, as well as biographical accounts, fiction and novels in popular languages including Arabic, English, French, Turkish, Urdu and Spanish.