By Jose Benzaquen/ Ambassador of Peru
There is a place of peace, tranquillity, silence and an inexhaustible source of knowledge, that place is a library, beautiful in all its presentations.
From our schools, we have had the opportunity to be in those places, with certain student obligations, and then enjoy them by taking up reading with emotion and passion to learn more and more of the data we know, through books and currently through the advances in digital technology.
There is always the pleasure of picking up a book and entering worlds of culture, in various forms, specialities and unlimited topics.
Every country has a cultural-educational symbol; in this space are the libraries, presented in the best way for the good interpret, who in his own way explores the content of a book or other forms of presentation of ideas and inspiration.
At the time we arrived to Doha two years ago, our interest was to visit the great National Library of Qatar, which we had already seen through Internet, but not in person.
We collected some books from Peru on various topics, especially the history and culture and international law to be donated; and so we did.
We were greatly impacted by the location of this library for its content, design, comfort and great modernism, designed by the well-known architect Rem Koolhass, and opened on November 7, 2017. We had never been in a similar place.
Following, we were received by the Executive Director, who took us a tour within the library, which continue enriching the cultural traditions that have made this country an admired place worldwide.
We took that occasion to ask about each corner of this cultural place, and the same time we collected our reader card. With this card, you can choose the book and marvellously you received it without human intervention, which pleasantly impressed us.
Our donation of books I thought, had a certain value for coming from afar and from a country with millenary history, such as Peru.
We continue the tour and - again - we are amazed with each environment of this library, with reading spaces for students, researchers and the general public, as well as auditoriums, photography services, design, environments for children (country future), for artists in music, among others.
The sound of silence was transformed into a sound of placid knowledge and with visitors eager for education, which we have been permanent witnesses in this country. We could have stayed all day, because of the comforts that this knowledge centre offered.
An intelligent mind had designed it; therefore, the light came from all sides, light accompanied by that great history of Qatar.
After that, on June 15 of this year we were received by HE the President of the Qatar National Library and Minister of State, Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz al?Kawari, we discussed the relevance of education in the development of countries. The meeting was very successful, as we met a very friendly person with a great culture for all that life dedicated to his country, performing in various positions of responsibility and in diplomacy as ambassador in several countries, while highlighting his visit to Peru.
We are currently working in co-operation agreement between our national libraries, in order to exchange co-operation that will benefit all
It is worth mentioning that libraries have a long history. In the cities of Mesopotamia, the clay tablets with their cuneiform writings and their contents on political, economic, and administrative subjects were archived. However, it is in Ancient Greece that libraries achieved development; and its name derives from the Greek word Biblio which means book and the box, where the books were kept.
In the Arab world they are related to the mosques, and the centres of Qur’anic teachings, in which we can mention the libraries of Baghdad and Cordova.
In the Renaissance, the Corvinniana Library of 1460 stands out, in the Reformation the French library of Founteneobleou, and those of Austria and Bavaria, the Complutense University and that of El Escorial in Spain. In the seventeenth century the Botdeiana Library in Oxford, Ambrosiana in Milan and Manserina in Paris were created. In the 18th century, the British Library and the Royal Library were created, the Braidensen in Milan and the Royal in Lisbon.
In the 19th century, public libraries appeared, and currently, should be mentioned, virtual libraries, with new techniques to preserve information.
In my country, we have the National Library of Peru, whose creation dates back to the year 1568. In 1584 the printing press was introduced and the first book was printed in South America. After our independence (July 28, 1821), on August 28 of that year 1821, General José de San Martin, decreed the creation of the National Library, later in 1983, the National Library system was created, a dependency of the Ministry of Education, which provides the institutional framework for the operation of Peruvian libraries.
Finally, I feel that I would like to express to those who have the opportunity to live in Qatar and to the foreign visitors, to take that chance and visit Qatar National Library, where they will spend unforgettable moments.
Reading good books is like a conversation and a journey accompanied by creative minds, which make us change to be better human beings and good citizens.
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