Sharjah to take Emirati and Arab cultures to Greece

Sharjah announced Guest of Honour at Greece’s Thessaloniki International Book Fair 2024

Imagen de la firma
Image of the firm

In recognition of Sharjah’s esteemed global cultural status, the emirate is set to illuminate the rich culture and heritage of the UAE and the Arab world on an international stage. Sharjah will proudly serve as the Guest of Honour at the upcoming edition of the Thessaloniki International Book Fair, scheduled to take place from May 16th to May 19th, 2024, in Greece. 

This monumental announcement was unveiled during the ongoing Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2023). The announcement came to life through a signing ceremony between the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) and the Hellenic Foundation for Culture, led by Nikos Koukis, President of the Hellenic Foundation for Culture, and, Khoula al-Mujaini, Director of Events and Marketing, SBA. The event was graced by the presence of key figures, including Ahmed bin Rakkad al-Ameri, CEO of SBA; a; and several members of the Greek delegation attending the book fair.

HE Ahmed al-Ameri, CEO of SBA, expressed his thoughts on this prestigious title, saying: “Sharjah’s participation in the Thessaloniki International Book Fair represents a fresh opportunity for Emirati and Arab culture to engage in profound dialogue with Europe. Europe, renowned for its Greek civilisation and roots extending across the Mediterranean basin, serves as a natural bridge for this cultural exchange. This recognition stands as a testament to the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed al-Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. His vision emphasises that nations and civilisations may diverge in interests and aspirations, yet they converge when it comes to the power of books. Books are a cornerstone in community development, the pursuit of aspirations, and the attainment of holistic development goals.” 

Imagen de la firma
Image of the firm

“Greece's celebration of Sharjah’s contributions to Arab and global culture encapsulates the enduring and profound connections between Sharjah's cultural institutions and their counterparts. Simultaneously, it provides a new platform for forging partnerships and cultural cooperation. This cooperation is instrumental in driving our objectives to preserve our achievements, embody our cultural values, and promote literature, arts, and creativity as potent instruments for impactful and far-reaching communication. This communication extends beyond official institutions and initiatives, reaching individuals and societies, and ultimately influencing various vital sectors shared between Sharjah and Greek cities,” Al Ameri further added.  

He continued: “Under the guidance of Sheikha Bodour al-Qasimi, Chairperson of SBA, we eagerly anticipate presenting a comprehensive agenda that mirrors the emirate’s status as a leading cultural city. We will narrate its journey of accomplishments as the Capital of Arab and Islamic Cultures, World Book Capital, and home to the world’s largest book fair since 2020.”

Nikos Koukis, President of the Hellenic Foundation for Culture, added his thoughts, stating: “We are deeply honoured that Sharjah has graciously accepted our invitation to be the Guest of Honour at the 20th edition of the Thessaloniki International Book Fair scheduled for May 2024. This collaboration has been in the making for two years, and we are confident that celebrating Sharjah will open up new avenues of communication. It will strengthen cultural bonds between Greece, Sharjah, the UAE, and the Arab world.” 

Imagen general de Sharjah
General image of Sharjah

He further noted: “We have every confidence that the partnership between the Greek Foundation for Culture and the SBA will yield the desired results.” 

For her part, Khoulah al-Mujaini, Director of Events and Marketing at SBA, said: "Every time Sharjah is celebrated as a guest at international book fairs, we strive to provide a vivid and comprehensive portrayal of Emirati and Arab culture. Therefore, during our participation in the Thessaloniki International Book Fair 2024, we will be keen on translating the deep-rooted historical relations between Arab and Greek cultures and convey the values that reflect the UAE's cultural identity, whether through writers and creatives or our music and folk heritage, and the ongoing intellectual and cultural movement in Sharjah and the UAE in authorship, publishing, translation, and advancing libraries." 

The Thessaloniki Book Fair was initiated in 2004 and has since grown into a prominent platform for books and literature. It showcases works from Greece, the Balkans, Western Europe, the Southeastern Mediterranean, and various corners of the world. The fair is organised by the Hellenic Foundation for Culture, in collaboration with Greek publishers, TIF-HelExpo, the Region of Central Macedonia, and the City of Thessaloniki. This event is supported by the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports.