Sharjah Pavilion highlights political and cultural legacies of Sheikh Zayed at Paris Book Fair 2018

SHARJAH, 17th March 2018 (WAM) – The Sharjah pavilion at Paris Book Fair 2018, celebrating its participation this year as the Special Guest City of the fair, hosted on Friday a seminar titled “Zayed: The Benevolent” presented by Mohammed Al Murr, Chairman of the Board of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Library Establishment, and Jack Lang, Chairman of the Arab World Institute in Paris.

The seminar highlighted the rich legacy and experience of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and his exceptional achievements in politics, which led to the existing rich diplomacies between the East and West.

The seminar was held as part of the pavilion’s programmes and events featured at this year’s Paris Book Fair (Livre Paris), celebrating Sharjah as a Special Guest City by hosting some of the leading cultural activities representing the deep-rooted heritage and literature of the UAE and the Arab region.

The seminar was moderated by Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Director General of Abu Dhabi Media, who highlighted the importance of taking advantage of such a participation to celebrate “The Year of Zayed” in Paris, for being a symbol of charity and kindness, under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council Ruler of Sharjah.

“The celebration of the late Sheikh Zayed in Paris is an indication that the late founder of the UAE is still alive in the hearts and minds of many people in and around the UAE, especially that his name still carries a strong meaning thanks to his achievements which have left a positive marks across the world,” bin Tamim said.

Bin Tamim welcomed speakers Dr. Mohammed Al Murr and Jack Lang, and reminded the audience that Lang was present at the opening ceremony of the first edition of the Paris Book Fair in 1981, when he was the Minister of Culture in France.

Bin Tamim noted that Lang has long been a bridge between East and West, and was also present at the opening ceremony of The Louvre Abu Dhabi in November last year, a cultural beacon that demonstrates the exceptional cultural cooperation between the UAE and France to promote understanding, cross-cultural communication, tolerance and cultural diversity.

Al Murr began his talk with extending his profound gratitude and appreciation to His Highness The Ruler of Sharjah for his immense efforts and leading knowledge and cultural initiatives.

Speaking about the late founding father of the UAE, Al Murr said: “Sheikh Zayed was a phenomenal leader among many leaders in the Middle East. Post the region’s colonialism era, many countries were led by iconic and historical leaders, with some leading behind some of the most diverse legacies, while some imposing a dictatorship policy and others failing to achieve a proper development infrastructure in their countries. This made many citizens in some of these countries pressure these leaders after losing their faith in them after many decades, but Sheikh Zayed was an exception.”

Al Murr pointed out that since the discovery of oil in the region, the UAE had a leading role in using this discovery as means to develop its nation and people, different from how other nations turned this crude into a curse, disregarding the development of their communities and people. He said: “In contrast, the late Sheikh Zayed, with his wise leadership, led the UAE to where it is today. The UAE has become a role model, not in the Arabian Gulf region, but also in the whole world.”

On his part, Jack Land said: “I am very pleased to participate in this celebration, where we talk about Sheikh Zayed, as a guest hosted by Sharjah and its ruler His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, who is best known as a man of culture, which is clearly manifested in Sharjah’s achievements from cultural landmarks and intellectual initiatives over the past decades.”

Lang said that he was fortunate in meeting the late Sheikh Zayed, during his time as a minister in the 1980s in the UAE and in France. He said the unification of the emirates in one strong country was one of the greatest ambitions achieved and realized by the late founding father. He explained: “This strong country has continued to press ahead and grow stronger after his departure, carrying strategic forward planning, accomplishing the impossible and creating new horizons in the UAE especially in politics and diplomacy.”

The seminar was among a series of cultural and traditional events and activities which took place during Sharjah’s participation at the Paris Book Fair, as the Special Guest City of the fair, which took place in the heart of the capital of France in March 16-19 2018. Sharjah has been leading the fair’s representation of the Middle East’s deep-rooted Arabic cultures, heritage and literature, as well as leading the representation of the proud heritage, cultures and literacies of the UAE.

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