The Sheikh Zayed Book Award held on Thursday, November 4, 2010 a Cultural Seminar entitled “Features and Memories of the Cultural Landscape of the UAE”, in the Emirate of Sharjah as part of its participation in Sharjah International Book Fair. Participants in the seminar were, Mohammed Al Murr UAE writer and storyteller and Sheikh Zayed Book Award’s Advisory Council member, and Rashed Al Oraimi, Secretary-General of Sheikh Zayed Book Award, as well as representatives of a number of cultural centers and publishing houses and distribution agencies, which were taking part in the Sharjah International Book Fair.
Mr. Rashed Al Oraimi started the seminar with an interlude to the theme of dialogue, which included a review of Al Murr’s thoughts and memories about culture in the UAE, and added that Sharjah is the “delight of culture” in the UAE.
Muhammad Al Murr began the dialogue by listing some of his memories during his early stage of boyhood, which established his literary concepts, and reviewed the changes that occurred in the UAE, since British colonial rule in the early nineteenth century and how it impacted on its cultural life. He also recalled, with the audience, the beginnings of Sharjah International Book Fair in the early eighties and how it evolved from one room and libraries without publishing houses to its present day gathering of many cultural activities and major publishing houses. He also focused on the presence of many institutions in the exhibition today, which reflects the expanding cultural wealth in the United Arab Emirates, and most important of which is the Sheikh Zayed Book Award that honors innovative and exceptional writers.
Al Murr then stressed on the lack of coordination between education and educational institutions in the UAE and the cultural movement, saying: “This lack of coordination between educational development and cultural development weakens the whole process”. He also stressed the need to consolidate the vision of cultural relations between the different Emirates, and work to organize cultural events all across the UAE.
In addition to the seminar, the participation of Sheikh Zayed Book Award in Sharjah International Book Fair this year included a special stand in the exhibition, showcasing the Award achievements and winners. It is noted that Sheikh Book Zayed Award had previously held a variety of cultural seminars in various world capitals, which included among its objectives to embrace cultural creativity at the local level as well as on the Arab level, and encourage young literary talents to reach out to the world.