Guinean President Alpha Condé has received has received a UAE delegation including representatives of the Emirates Publishers Association (EPA), following an official invitation to participate in the celebration of Guinea’s capital city Conakry as the World Book Capital for 2017.
The EPA representatives included Rashid Mohammed Al Kous, Executive Director, and Hala Al Hamoud Al Ali, Administrative Assistant. The delegation also included Mahmoud Al Ali, Head of Media Department at the Dubai Health Authority and presenter at Dubai Media Incorporated, along with writer and photographer Sahar Al Awadhi.
During the meeting, the Guinean President praised the UAE’s cross-cultural efforts, especially in Sharjah, and the significant contributions and achievements of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council Ruler of Sharjah, who has led Sharjah to its status as a beacon of knowledge in the Arab World, culminating in its title as the UNESCO World Book Capital for 2019.
During the three-day visit to Conakry, the delegation participated in several meetings and cultural programmes, including the Islamic Culture competition, which was organised by the Guinean Foreign Ministry. The EPA representatives also visited the book fair for Arabic literature, most notably the books authored by His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, and the material released by publishing houses that fall under EPA’s umbrella.
The delegates also accepted an official invitation to visit the personal library of Guinean Professor Jibril Tmsir Niyani, a historian, playwright and short story author, in Conakry. The library was renovated through a generous donation by His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, following a massive fire that destroyed many manuscripts and rare books.
The government of Sharjah supported the renovation process through the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The delegation also met a number of other Guinean officials, including Qutb Mustafa Sano, the Guinean President’s Adviser for Diplomatic Affairs, and discussed ways of strengthening cooperation and a number of cultural topics.
They also met Dr Abdul Aziz Al Tuwaijri, Director General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) before joining the President of the Guinean Writers Association and a number of authors, where they explored ways to develop the cultural relations between Conakry and Sharjah with regard to the possibility of translating books and inviting writers to visit the emirate.
Rashid Al Kous, Executive Director of EPA, said: “Our visit to Conakry highlights EPA’s desire to participate in various cultural forums and events relating to the publishing industry and translation. Through this visit we hope to open up new horizons for Emirati and Arab publishers and writers and introduce them to other countries’ contributions to the book industry.”
Founded in 2009 under an initiative by the association’s president Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, EPA has led efforts to advance the publishing industry in the UAE. The organisation is dedicated to serving and developing the nation’s publishing sector and advancing the role of Emirati publishers through training and mentorship programmes. EPA represents the interests of professionals in the UAE’s publishing industry by working on furthering their rights and has a remit to improve the conditions of the profession and its related laws in coordination with concerned authorities locally and internationally.