Oxford University Centre for Middle Eastern Studies hosted a Seminar for the Sheikh Zayed Book Award. Lecturers were Dr. Ammar Ali Hassan, winner of the Best Contribution to the Development of the Nation, and Qais Sedki, winner of the Award’s Children’s Literature category. The Seminar was moderated by Dr. Eugene Rogan, director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Oxford University. Present were Mr. Mohamed Al Otaiba charge d’affaires at the United Arab Emirates Embassy in London, and a number of intellectuals, diplomats and representatives of cultural centers, literary societies, publishing houses and journalists.
Dr. Eugene Rogan stressed the importance of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award status reached, achieved during its previous four sessions, and the added knowledge contributed by the winning books to human culture in general, and in bridging the gap between East and West in particular.
The seminar discussed the two winning books and stated with the first book ” The Political Establishment of Sufism in Egypt,” where Mr. Ammar explained his research methodology and analytical and semantic through which he reached his conclusions. He explained the belief that the Sufis put the dividing line between religion and politics through the foundations of the four based on the “asceticism” and “love” and “knowledge” and “jurisdiction” justifies the need to examine the sincerity and realism of this assumption in practice life of the followers of the Sufi orders and the basic beliefs of the Sufi thought on the other hand. During the second part of the seminar, Mr. Qais Sedki discussed his book “Swar Al Thahab” and stressed the importance of using simple language in the development of the child’s reading skills. He also stressed the writers’ need to take children’s interests and requirements into consideration, and the importance of making sure that illustrations and print materials fit with the Middle Eastern culture and respects it. He conculded that producing a good book is a shared responsibility and is not limited to the author alone.
Commenting on the seminar, the second of its kind between the Sheikh Zayed Book Award and Oxford University, Mr. Rashed Al Oraimi, Secretary General of the Award said:” Our fourth session winners act today as ambassadors of Arab culture and literature in the global arena. This seminar will be followed by others in various parts f the world”. Mr. Al Oraimi added:” We have chosen Oxford University again in the context of our mutual cooperation, and because of their support of the Award’s objectives, and our shared vision for the Arab culture bright future, which we aspire to achieve. “