SBA explores new avenues of cross-cultural collaboration with Russia

MOSCOW, 18th September, 2021 – The Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) has explored ways to advance cultural partnerships between Sharjah and Russian cities during its participation in Moscow’s 37th International Board on Books for Young People Congress (IBBY World Congress).
The authority also organised two creative sessions on the occasion, bringing together an elite group of Emirati and Russian authors and artists to discuss children’s literature and ways to advance it.
Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA, said, “Our efforts align with the vision of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, which is aimed at highlighting the emirate’s cultural project, exchange experiences with cities worldwide, and promote the role of books in development. We are sure that our discussions with major Russian entities will not only open new horizons of dialogue between Emiratis and their Russian counterparts but also advance exchanges between publishing professionals of our countries.”
The SBA delegation, headed by Al Ameri and accompanied by Khoula Al Mujaini, Director of Fairs and Festivals at SBA, met with Prof. Vitaly Naumkin, Academic Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences. They talked about developing joint cultural programmes and exploring ways to showcase contemporary Russian orientalists researching Arab literary and cultural heritage.
Naumkin lauded the visionary cultural project of Dr. Sheikh Sultan, noting that Sharjah’s contributions to supporting the book industry and cultural activities reaffirm its leadership in inspiring creativity across sectors. He also highlighted the Sharjah Ruler’s essential contribution in establishing the Institute of the Arab and Islamic Studies of the University of Exeter, UK, in 2001, and praised his support to the institution’s study and research programmes.
The SBA delegation met with Vadim Duda, Director-General, Russian State Library, in the presence of Dr. Musleh Ayedh Al Ahbabi, UAE Embassy’s Charge d’Affaires in Moscow; Naima Suhail Al Musharrakh, Head of the Media and Cultural Affairs Department at the UAE Embassy in Moscow, and Natalia Samoilenko, Deputy Director-General for External Relations and Exhibition Activities, Russian State Library. They discussed strengthening partnerships between Russian libraries and their counterparts in Sharjah to facilitate access to knowledge sources for all individuals, and expanding databases to support research and innovation.
They examined ways to promote Emirati, Arabic and Russian literature mutually. They discussed the participation of Russian libraries in the upcoming Sharjah International Library Conference, to be held on the sidelines of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) this November. They also explored mechanisms to establish dedicated sections for Arabic titles in Russian public libraries and Russian in Sharjah’s libraries.
SBA organised two creative discussion sessions involving Emirati and Russian artists to discuss writing and illustration techniques in children’s and young adult literature.
Titled “The Idea Behind My Book”, the first session brought together Dr. Alyazia Khalifa and Marina Moskvina. They discussed their writing journeys, and how to develop ideas into eye-catching books for children.
Emirati author Alia Al Bady and Anastasia Arkhipova led the second session titled “Illustrations Alone are Adequate”, debating whether compelling images can replace words in narrating a story. They also discussed whether silent books (wordless picture books) are appropriate for all ages.

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