By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
135 Grant Applications SupportedDuring the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair this year, the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre in late May opened registration for its “Spotlight on Rights” program, offering grants of up to 14,700 dirhams (US$4,002) for print books translated into or out of Arabic. In addition, grants of up to 7,400 dirhams per book (US$2,014) are available for conversion from print to ebook or audiobook formats.
From that call for applications in the spring, the program generated more than 2,000 responses, coming close to doubling the 1,037 received in 2021. And on Sunday (November 20), the program announced that it has granted support to 135 applications, benefiting 71 publishing houses representing 16 countries.
The Spotlight on Rights program reflects the Arabic Language Centre’s mission of spreading Arab culture and literature internationally across multiple fields of knowledge, working in Arabic and in other languages.
The initiative encourages the exchange of book rights between Arab and international publishing houses, the goal, of course, being to translate more works from and into Arabic. Thus, it offers opportunities for publishers to develop long-term relationships with publishers participating in the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.
In a prepared statement on the announcement of the 135 grants, Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, who chairs the Arabic Language Centre, says, “The enthusiasm we’ve seen among publishers from all around the world for the Spotlight on Rights program strengthens our resolution at the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre to encourage talented Arab writers, translators, and audio-visual content creators.
“This will not only support creativity, translation, and publishing in Arabic, but also [can] generate interest in learning the language among native speakers and non-speakers. The program reminds us of the importance of intellectual property rights and publishing best practices in the region, especially in the field of digital content.”
Having been in operation since 2009, by 2020, the Spotlight on Rights program reports that it has supported the publication of more than 900 books from at least 120 publishers in categories ranging from children’s literature, science, and history to social sciences and more.
By the time that call for applications was made in May, the program over its lifetime reportedly had reached a total grants distribution of 1,836,000 dirhams (US$499,918).
Agreement Signed With UAE University
In addition to the news of the Spotlight on Rights program, the Arabic Language Centre, which is based in the programs of Abu Dhabi’s department of culture and tourism, has announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Arab Emirates University.
In an event held during the local week-long Al Ain Book Festival, the agreement was signed by Bin Tamim and Ghaleb Al Breiki, the university’s acting vice-chancellor, and it’s meant to support the center’s efforts “to develop, promote, and preserve the Arabic language, and to facilitate its learning across different communities.”
The university and the language center are expected to benefit from each other’s academic expertise and advanced resources and facilities, such as an e-library database, as well as promoting the center’s book fairs, organizing student trips to these events, and participating in their programs.
In a comment on the signing, Bin Tamim says, “We at the Arabic Language Centre are committed to cooperating with leading academic and educational institutions, such as the UAE University, to advance the Arabic language and promote its use through serious academic research and studies. This memorandum of understanding will help support studies and research in various linguistic fields, safeguarding the role of the Arabic language as both a marker of national and cultural identity and a bridge between past and present.”
And Al Breiki says, “This agreement will support and empower current Arabic language programs, firmly positioning Arabic as a cultural and civilizational vessel among international languages, and advancing its status regionally and internationally by developing Arabic language skills among learners and speakers through joint programs, conferences, seminars, special evenings, and book fairs.
“With this agreement, we’ll also promote and revitalize Arabic language events, which we consider to be both a national and cultural heritage. This is all supported by the UAE University’s academic expertise and infrastructure in coordinating efforts, promoting constructive teamwork, overseeing the implementation of common national plans, programs and strategic visions.”
It’s expected that the university and the language center will co-produce academic and creative writing workshops, cultural evenings and events, and joint scientific conferences, including an international tri-annual conference. The university is to use its internal newsletter to promote the center’s events, in addition to supporting the center in scientific and educational research. What’s more, university researchers are to publish in the Arabic Language Center’s Journal of Arab Studies.
Our special Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2022 Show Magazine is here for your free download (PDF).
More from Publishing Perspectives on the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair is here, and more on the United Arab Emirates’ market is here. More from us on book fairs and trade shows in world publishing is here. More on translation is here, and more on Arabic in the publishing world is here.
Publishing Perspectives is the world media partner of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award and the International Publishers Association. Our extended coverage of ADIBF 2022 is supported by the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.
More on the still-ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.