SHARJAH — The Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) is organizing a unique exhibition of early written material including books, pamphlets and manuscripts, and a collection of rare artifacts, at its headquarters in Sharjah from April 27 to May 3, 2021. Titled, Tales from the East, and open from 8 p.m. to midnight each day, the exhibition will also enable the public to engage with academic experts to acquire knowledge and gain exceptional insight into the region’s rich cultural past.
Eminent history and archaeology experts will lead the cultural sessions and panel discussions during the weeklong exhibition to discuss the role of manuscripts in unveiling the scientific and cultural achievements of humankind, and address the importance of its preservation for future generations.
Distinguished scholars, Dr. Ali Bin Ibrahim Al Namlah, former minister of labor and social affairs in Saudi Arabia and Dr. Ahmed Mohamed Obaid, a UAE writer and researcher, will discuss the challenges and importance of preserving ancient manuscripts for upcoming generations at a session titled, ‘The Future of Manuscripts’, which will be held on Wednesday, April 28, at 10 p.m.
Dr. Abdulwahid Al Nabawi, former Egyptian minister of culture and professor of History at the Al Azhar University in Cairo; and Dr. Mohammed Kamel, general manager of Juma Al Majid Centre for Culture and Heritage in Dubai, will lead the session titled ‘Manuscripts in the Age of Digital Transformation’ on Friday, April 30, at 10 p.m. They will discuss the different phases of preserving old texts and manuscripts and explore techniques of harnessing technological tools to digitize ancient written works that can then be shared with research centers, universities, libraries, and other relevant entities.
On Sunday, May 2, at 10 p.m., Hugo Wetscherek, founder of Antiquariat Inlibris, and Dr. Bassam Daghistani, head of maintenance, treatment and restoration of the manuscript section at Juma Al Majid Centre for Culture and Heritage will share their unique insights at the discussion titled, ‘The Life of Manuscripts’. Showcasing the Arab and international experience in preserving priceless ancient texts spanning different eras, they will highlight the efforts of museums and specialized centers to protect and restore manuscripts, be it for purposes of display or research.
Ahmed Bin Rakkad Al Ameri, chairman of SBA said: “By hosting Tales from the East, SBA aims to explore and connect with important aspects of our shared human history and knowledge. This is in line with the vision of cultural renaissance set forward by Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, member of the Supreme Council and ruler of Sharjah, which aims to build a knowledge-based economy and drive social development by promoting cross-cultural communication between people and nations.”
Al Ameri added: “The key message of the exhibition is to showcase to the new generations how the formative work of scientists, innovators and thought leaders over hundreds of years has informed and influenced current technological feats, and why our mission today is to continue this journey and work harder to foster greater historic milestones.”
SBA will organize the exhibition in conformance with the stringent COVID-19 precautionary protocols in the UAE. Halls and panel discussion areas will be sanitized regularly, while all exits and entrances will have thermal scanners. In addition, precautionary practices such as face masks and social distancing will be mandatory throughout the 7-day event.