HE the Minister of Culture and Sports Salah bin Ghanem al-Ali opened the 29th Doha International Book Fair, held under the patronage of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, at Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre on Thursday.

The book fair, being attended by 427 publishers from 30 Arab and foreign countries, continues until December 8.

The opening ceremony was attended by HE the Speaker of the Shura Council Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Zaid al-Mahmoud, HE the Minister of Endowments and Islamic Affairs Dr Ghaith bin Mubarak al-Kuwari, HE the Minister of Justice and Acting Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Dr Issa bin Saad al-Jafali al-Nuaimi, HE the Minister of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs Yousef bin Mohamed al-Othman Fakhroo and HE the Director of the Government Communications Office Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed bin Saif al-Thani in addition to senior officials and heads of diplomatic missions in Qatar.

Organised by the Qatar Cultural and Heritage Events Centre, the book fair is being held under the theme 'Doha, a City of Knowledge and Conscience', which is driven from the ministry's vision 'Towards a Conscious Society with Sound Conscience and Healthy Body', the Qatar News Agency reported.

Russia is a guest of honour at the exhibition this year as part of the Qatar-Russia 2018 Year of Culture. During the exhibition, books from major Russian publishing houses - Strelka Press, Eksmo, Garage publishing programme and Artemiy Lebedev Publishing House among others - will be presented at the Russian stand alongside ‘Russia’s DNA’ and the Putin biography by the general producer of the ‘Russian Hour,’ Alexander Korobko.

HE al-Ali, accompanied by distinguished guests, toured the fair venue after the opening ceremony. The event is being held over a space of 29,000sqm.

During the tour, the minister was briefed on the most recent publications and the most prominent Qatari, Arab and foreign participants. He visited the pavilions of Russia, France, Oman and the Kuwaiti National Council for Culture, Science and Literature. He also visited the pavilions of Palestine, Morocco, Algeria, Iran and Turkey in addition to those of Qatari entities taking part in the fair, including the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs, Qatar Museums, Qatar National Library, Qatari Authors Forum, Rosa Publishing House and Qatar Poetry Centre.

The dignitaries lauded the event and highlighted its importance, with HE al-Ali stressing that the book fair is more important than "just an event for selling books" and that its significance stems from the necessity to renew the relationship with books.

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