Doha International Book Fair gets off to a grand start

HE Salah bin Ghanim al-Ali, HE Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kuwari and HE Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani with other dignitaries and officials at the opening of the 28th Doha International Book Fair.

Under the auspices of HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Minister of Culture and Sports HE Salah Bin Ghanim Al Ali inaugurated the 28th Doha International Book Fair, which is attended by 355 publishing houses representing 29 Arab and foreign countries at the Doha Convention and Exhibition Center. The fair is open to public until December 5.

The opening was attended by HE Dr. Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari, senior officials and a large number of heads of diplomatic missions accredited to the country, This fair slogan is “Towards a Conscious Society”. Germany will be the guest of honor of the exhibition as the culmination of the cultural year Qatar – Germany 2017, in addition to international contributions from Turkey, China and France.

The Minister was accompanied by guests toured the exhibition during which he reviewed the most important modern publications and highlighted the Qatari, Arab and foreign participations, he also visited the German pavilion, the American Embassy and the French pavilions, the pavilion of the Sultanate of Oman, the Kuwaiti National Council for Culture, Science and Literature, and a number of pavilions of the Maghreb, Algeria, Iran and Turkey. He also visited a number of Qatari institutions participating in the exhibition, notably the pavilion of the Ministry of Interior, Qatar National Library, Doha Center for Religious Freedom, Rosa Publishing House, as well as the Ministry of Culture and Sports Wing.

Minister of Culture and Sports HE Salah bin Ghanem Al Ali, said in a press statement after the opening, “The success of the exhibition will be shown from the first day through the excellent organization of the team. He hoped that this Book Fair will be one of the cultural stations not only at the level of the region, but also in the world, where we plan that the exhibition in 2022 in conjunction with the hosting of Qatar for the World Cup will be one of the most important cultural events on the map of global culture.
Replying to a question from Qatar News Agency (QNA) on the most important feature of the new Doha International Book Fair, the official said that attention was paid to the introduction of knowledge and cultural aspects that are directly related to reading. This year we pay special attention to children’s activities, based on the importance of raising children to read and love reading. there is also a large wing of the Qatari youth.
About the facilities for participating publishers this year, he stressed that the exhibition succeeded in asserting its strength and weight on the Arab and international scene. Pointing out that the State of Qatar has long been providing all facilities for participants, and this year we continue to support publishers.
He stressed that Qatar’s bias in asserting the principle of freedom on all publications, denying the existence of censorship of thought except in cases recognized by all exhibitions in the world when the book calls for contempt of religion or promotes racism or extremist ideology.

Speaking about the exhibition in light of the challenges of the siege on Qatar from the neighboring countries, he said that the challenge was not only to establish the exhibition but also in production. If these international participations are of this size, there is also an evolution in the intellectual and knowledge production of Qataris and residents in Qatar. This year, more than 150 books are being released, compared with 80 last year.
In a similar statement, HE Dr. Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kuwari valued the 28th edition of the book fair and its content that includes new and attractive ideas that contributes to spreading culture within the Qatari society. His Excellency confirmed his disapproval towards the announcement of some countries who politically oppose Qatar, to cut its cultural ties with it as part of the imposed, unjust siege. HE Al Kuwari added that severing cultural ties was never in question in history even between countries that belong to different cultures or even were caught in war, culture, arts and literature were never part of the conflict. His Excellency added that such matters never affected culture, confirming it is a serious and unacceptable matter because one day all political differences will end, especially between countries who share the same culture. HE Al Kuwari said this path has had adverse consequences as Qatar has succeeded in its cultural events, internationally and locally, which is evident in this fair through the size of international participation, proving that if crises are managed correctly they turn into achievements. His Excellency said this is what happened as the fair is considered one of the biggest, with some countries and publishing houses participate for the first time, with cultural and intellectual momentum accompanying the exhibition.

According to the fair’s managements, there are 82 publishing houses for children, 26 for foreign books, 241 for Arabic books and 24 agencies. In addition, there are 760 occupied exhibition spaces, as well as 93 unique Qatari participation from different ministries, sectors and governmental and private entities.
The fair is accompanied by a number of art and culture activities with the intellectual platform being the most prominent, which will include a series of in-depth intellectual encounters, hosting a number of Arab and foreign intellectuals and writers. One of the most prominent guests will be President of Ibn Khaldun University (IHU) in Istanbul Dr. Recep Senturk, who will discuss the conditions of cognitive independence and on Nov. 30, the platform will host Dr. Fahmi Jadaan to discuss Arab civilization and values. On Dec. 1 Tunisian Historian Abdoljalil Tamimi will give a lecture on the forgotten archives, whereas Director of the Muhammad Bin Hamad Al Thani Center for Muslim Contribution to Civilization Dr. Aisha Al Mannai will give a lecture on Al-Mas’udi and Human Civilization. In addition, Dr. Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kuwari will meet with the audience on Sunday Dec. 3 to discuss UNESCO: Vision and Experience.