The 31st Doha International Book Fair (DIBF), which concluded last Saturday at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, proved to be a landmark and historic event, with a distinguished Gulf participation, in an emphasis on the support for the joint GCC cultural co-operation. Under the patronage of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the 10-day event with the slogan Knowledge is Light, featured literary works of local, regional, and internationally-renowned authors and publishers from 37 countries across the globe. DIBF 2022 was organised by the Ministry of Culture’s Qatar Cultural and Heritage Events Centre.
The Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) General Secretariat’s Department of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities director Dr Saad bin Mohamed al-Zughaibi had said the participation in DIBF 2022 comes in implementation of the directives of the Ministers of Culture with the aim to highlight the efforts of the GCC in the cultural, scientific, research fields; as well as the Gulf culture and the efforts on which the GCC was founded, in addition to providing statistical data on the GCC gains and the joint Gulf action.
Dr al-Zughaibi praised the efforts of Qatar’s Ministry of Culture in hosting the exhibition in an utmost professional manner. The GCC General Secretariat’s pavilion at the exhibition shed light on various fields, specifically the cultural strategic plan of the GCC countries 2020-2030, approved by the leaders. The pavilion also focused on the Gulf Health Council in light of the current circumstances through books and awareness posters for the community.
Noura bint Yousef al-Balushi of the Omani pavilion said that the participation of Oman in DIBF 2022, represented by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth and the Ministry of Information, was aimed at promoting the Gulf, Arab and international cultural communication, in line with Oman Vision 2040 on introducing the creative Omani citizens and their achievements in various forums. She described DIBF 2022 as the gateway to the cultural world, noting that Qatar’s keenness on organising the exhibition in light of these exceptional circumstances related to the Covid-19 reflects the importance of continuing the cultural work in various circumstances, taking into account the precautionary aspects.
Fadel Hussein Ahmed, official of the Sharjah Book Authority’s pavilion, stressed the authority’s keenness to participate in various international cultural forums and book fairs, especially the Gulf, noting that DIBF 2022 is one of the most important exhibitions. He added that the participation of Sharjah Book Authority aimed at promoting the Sharjah Book Fair, getting to know Qatari publishers and inviting them to participate in the Sharjah exhibition, attracting new publishing houses, in addition to introducing the public in Qatar to the literary and cultural products in Sharjah and the UAE in general, as well as the cultural initiatives and awards offered by the Sharjah Book Authority.
Apart from books, the DIBF 2022 also hosted several sections for visitors to explore such as the Children’s Creators Garden, Akkas Centre, Youth Hobbies Centre, and the Visual Arts Centre, among others. A series of seminars and lectures were also held at the fair which had the United States as the guest of honour as part of the Qatar-USA Year of Culture 2021. The organisers merit special mention for stringently adhering to the Covid-19 precautionary and preventive protocol. Visitor capacity at the venue was capped at 30%. Though children under 12 were not allowed for the first five days, later they were, up to a maximum of 15% of the total capacity. Given the success of DIBF 2022, now the wait begins for the 2023 edition.
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