UAE: Sharjah Signs Morocco as Its International Book Fair Guest of Honor

In News by Porter Anderson

The Sharjah Book Authority will present Guest of Honor Morocco as ‘a leading Arab model of diversity and cultural pluralism’ in November.

In Morocco’s northwestern city of Chefchaouen, evening. Image – Getty iStockphoto BbbRrn

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Al Qasimi: ‘A Beacon of Cultural and Intellectual Progress’
Having welcomed South Korea as its guest of honor market at last year’s fair—which logged a revised total of more than 2.17 million visitors in its 12-day run—the 43rd Sharjah International Book Fair plans to present Morocco as this year’s guest of honor.

The fair is set to run November 6 to 17, this year, that slightly later start than usual likely to make it easier for trade visitors to Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 16 to 20) to handle the Sharjah Publishers Conference, which precedes the start of the public-facing book fair.

A long-running and well-established major book fair of the Middle East and North African markets, Sharjah’s show is a production of the Sharjah Book Authority, which last month was itself guest of honor at Greece’s 20th Thessaloniki International Book Fair.

Bodour Al Qasimi

In announcing the signing of Morocco as this year’s guest of honor, the Book Authority chairwoman, the Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, has emphasized Islamic history and “a rich mosaic of Arab civilization,” seemingly moving forward with a theme of cultural connection that was careful developed for the Sharjah appearance at Thessaloniki.

“Morocco has long been a beacon of cultural and intellectual progress,” Al Qasimi says, “and its prominence at Sharjah International Book Fair will open a new chapter in our shared Arab heritage.

“As a capital of Arab and Islamic culture and a former World Book Capital, Sharjah has become an international meeting point for global cultures. Under the guidance of Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, ruler of Sharjah, the emirate is proud to offer a platform for writers, thinkers, and artists to express their creativity, network, and exchange ideas.

“Sharjah International Book Fair is the world’s gateway to Arabic literature and culture, enhancing the United Arab Emirate’s profile as a center of thought and creativity.”

Al Ameri: ‘A Reservoir of Values, Traditions, and Ideas’

Ahmed Al Ameri

The Book Authority’s CEO, Ahmed Al Ameri, says, “Celebrating Morocco as the guest of honor at Sharjah International Book Authority 2024 embodies our commitment to fostering cultural dialogue and understanding.

“Alongside knowledge, culture is as much a reservoir of values, traditions, and ideas that shape our shared human identity. Morocco, with its rich history and civilization, exemplifies a leading Arab model of diversity and cultural pluralism, merging various influences into a unique cultural identity.

“By hosting Morocco, we aim to transcend boundaries and embrace new experiences.”

Speaking for the Moroccan administration, Mohamed Mehdi Bensaid, minister of youth, culture, and communication, pointed out during the signing of the agreement that  Morocco comes at a crucial time when Moroccan-Emirati relations, under the leadership of both nations’ leaders, are undergoing a significant transformation.

This development, Bensaid says will allow the cultural sector to progress parallel to other sectors, prompting both parties to see cultural relations on a par with political and economic ties between the two brotherly nations—which he describes as brotherly.

In this context, Bensaid stressed that Morocco’s presence as guest of honor will mark the beginning of an advanced phase of coordination, cooperation, and exchanges of expertise in joint efforts.

In Rabat, the counterpart agency to Sharjah Book Authority is the Books, Libraries, and Archives Authority at Bensaid’s ministry. For Morocco, Latifa Muftaqir, director of Rabat’s agency signed the agreement, while Sharjah’s Khoula Al Mujaini signed for Sharjah as the coordinator of the emirate’s book fair.

The Moroccan pavilion at Sharjah is expected to showcase Moroccan publications and historical documents, of course, as well as producing a cultural program with panel discussions, workshops, and performances to introduce fairgoers in Sharjah to the Moroccan cultural context.

At the signing of Morocco as the 2024 Sharjah International Book Fair guest of honor market. At center are the Sharjah Book Authority’s Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri and Khoula Al Mujaini. Image: SBA


See also:
Sharjah International Book Fair Opens Its 42nd Edition

Sharjah Publishers Conference Opens: ‘The Power of the Written Word’
Sharjah Publishers Conference Introduces New Format
Sharjah International Book Fair: Hosting 108 Markets
Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, Again ‘Animated’
Sharjah’s Third Booksellers Conference: ‘Acumen and Dynamism’
PublisHer Signs Visa as Sponsor of Its New Lounge at Sharjah’s Conference
Sharjah Book Authority: Bodour Al Qasimi’s First Year as Chair

More from Publishing Perspectives on the Sharjah Book Authority is here, more on the Sharjah International book Fair is here, more on Sharjah and its programs overall is here, more on the book publishing industry in the United Arab Emirates is here, and more on international trade shows and book fairs is here. More from us on Morocco and its publishing industry is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.