In cooperation with UAE’s Embassy in Germany, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award organized the Arab-German Cultural Seminar in the German Capital Berlin, last Thursday, 13th of September 2012 at the Embassy venue. The event brought together an assembly of top-level diplomatic and cultural figures from UAE and Germany, including HE Mohammad Ahmad Al Mahmoud, UAE’s Ambassador in Germany, Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Secretary General of Sheikh Zayed Book Award, and Mr. Abdullah Majid Al Ali, the Award’s General Manager, in addition to Mr. Ofa Hai, Head of Cultural Division at the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Professor Klaus Raichart, Chairman of the German Academy of Language and Poetry, alongside renowned Arab authors, academics and intellectuals living in Germany, and a number of representatives from Arab and Foreign countries.
In his inaugural speech, HH Mohammad Ahmad Al Mahmoud extended his thanks and gratitude to Mr. Ofa Hai, Head of Cultural Division at the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the esteemed guests for their attendance which highlights their attentiveness towards the Arabic Culture, and added: “Your valued participation in this event today shows your commitment towards the cultural dialogue established on mutual respect and peaceful coexistence”. HH also underlined the role of Sheikh Zayed Book Award and its efforts to reach out to international audiences; “This event emphasizes the Award’s long term objective to promote the rich Arabic heritage, and to open the door for the cultural dialogue between the East and the West.” He added “we meet today to bridge the gap between Arab and German intellects and enhance international literary cooperation, which what we believe in back home in UAE”
In his speech, Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, thanked His Excellency the Ambassador and the diplomatic team for their support in facilitating the organization of the Communion in Berlin. He, moreover, acknowledged the role of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ofa Hai and Professor Klaus Raichart in arranging for the event, adding: “This event has become more significant after the introduction of the new category, “Arabic Culture in other Languages” that has attracted significant attention from academics and cultural researchers around the world, especially from Germany, in the award’s seventh session currently running.”.
Bin Tamim continued to portray the historical involvement of Germany in promoting Arabic Culture and the role of German Orientalists in researching Islamic heritage, and the Arabic Sciences since the tenth century. He also stressed the significance of studying the Arabic legacy as a way to link between civilizations; “Our gathering today is perhaps a model of cultural communication across continents which we aspire to replicate with other countries”. Dr. Bin Tamim concluded his speech by inviting German academics, and researchers to participate in the Award’s newly devised category, to honor written works in German about the Arabic civilization and culture, in the fields of humanities, fine arts, and literature throughout its historical eras.
As for the representative of the Foreign German Ministry Ofa Hai, expressed his gratitude to Sheikh Zayed Book Award for creating the opportunity to open dialogues with the cultural world in Berlin.
Professor Klaus Reichard noted that Germany sees this as an valued opportunity that UAE is providing them to learn the proper and correct story the Arab Culture. He also added that Kalima Project is undergoing a significant amount of translation efforts from German to Arabic and vice versa which is very important and crucial in our days.
Thomas Shbar who manages a very well known publishing house in Berlin commented on how important is this event to bring together publishers and writers and translators from across Germany and the Arab World.
The Seminar comprised of several sessions joining a number of authors, academics and critics, including some renowned names such as Poet Daniella Dantes, Author Paul Marr, Theatrical Writer Folker Brown, Poet Ulrika Dresner, in addition to the Critic Adel Karshouli and Dr. Thomas Shbarro.