The distinction bestowed to the UAE by Paris is a matter of great pride for us. In the City of Light, His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed al-Qasimi, member of the Supreme Council and ruler of Sharjah, led over 40 writers, intellectuals, poets and artists whom he invited to visit the Paris Book Fair to participate in the signing of their books which have been translated from Arabic to French by the Sharjah Book Authority, as per His Highness’ instructions.
Sharjah is participating as a ‘special guest’ at the Paris Book Fair. This is the first time in the history of the fair that a city and not a state has been chosen to be a ‘special guest’ at the fair. Without doubt this is a great show of appreciation and clear recognition of Sharjah’s role in spreading culture and in supporting writers and the publication and translation of books.
The relationship between the UAE and France is a strong and historical one and it has taken major strides ahead after being founded on firm foundations. For decades, the UAE has succeeded in building relations on different levels with countries around the worldMohammed Al-Hammadi
French President Macron’s visit to the Sharjah pavilion at this book fair and his meeting with Sheikh Sultan underscores strong relations between the UAE and France, and validates that we have invested in what benefits our country.
What the French president said about His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed al-Qasimi, is a well-deserved testimony for a man who has devoted his life to promoting culture, science, research, literature and knowledge. In the UAE, we are proud of a ruler, who in spite of all his responsibilities, is considered around the world as a great cultural figure.
The relationship between the UAE and France is a strong and historical one and it has taken major strides ahead after being founded on firm foundations. For decades, the UAE has succeeded in building relations on different levels with countries around the world — in various political, diplomatic, economic, trade and military fields.
At the same time, the UAE did not overlook culture as part of building relations. The presence of the UAE, through the representation of Sharjah in this fair, proves that it has succeeded in communicating with others and building bridges with them.
Based on what we saw in Paris, we can state that although it is important to continue with our cultural pursuits in the UAE, it’s also important to give them more attention.
Culture means accepting others and co-existing with them. It means respecting others even if we disagree with them. Culture is a language of humanism that is not affected by change in political positions or economic interests. The UAE today reserves a distinguished place for itself among the nations of the world.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Mohammed Al-Hammadi is the Editor-in-Chief of Al Ittihad newspaper and Executive Director of editing and publishing at the Abu Dhabi Media Company. He founded and was Editor-in-Chief of the Arabic edition of National Geographic magazine, and has held numerous positions in journalism since joining Al Ittihad in 1994. Al-Hammadi has been a columnist for more than 15 years, including writing a daily column for seven years and producing a weekly political column in Al Ittihad since 2001. He has also worked as a parliamentary editor for seven years, covering the proceedings of the Federal National Council in the United Arab Emirates. In addition to being an active participant on social networks, Al-Hammadi has an interest in new media and is currently working on a project to ease the transition from traditional to digital and smart media. Al-Hammadi has received numerous awards and is a member of a number of organizations and federations. He features regularly in broadcast media as a regional political commentator and has authored several books including Time of Ordeal (2008), The UAE Democracy (2009) and The Fall of the Muslim Brotherhood (2016). Twitter: @MEalhammadi.