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In acknowledgement of Sharjah’s distinguished global cultural standing, the emirate is poised to illuminate the rich culture and heritage of the UAE and the Arab world on the world stage. Sharjah will take the honoured position of Guest of Honour at the upcoming Thessaloniki International Book Fair, slated for May 16th to May 19th, 2024, in Greece.


This significant revelation took place during the ongoing Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2023) and was brought to life through a formal signing ceremony between the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) and the Hellenic Foundation for Culture. The signing was presided over by Nikos Koukis, President of the Hellenic Foundation for Culture, and Khoula Al Mujaini, Director of Events and Marketing at SBA. Key figures, including Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, CEO of SBA, and several members of the Greek delegation attending the book fair, graced the event.


Ahmed Al Ameri expressed, “Sharjah’s participation in the Thessaloniki International Book Fair signifies a new opportunity for Emirati and Arab culture to engage in profound dialogue with Europe. Europe, renowned for its Greek civilization and its historical ties across the Mediterranean basin, serves as a natural bridge for this cultural exchange. This recognition stands as a testament to the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. His vision underscores that while nations and civilizations may diverge in interests and aspirations, they converge when it comes to the power of books. Books are fundamental in community development, the pursuit of aspirations, and the achievement of comprehensive development goals.”


“Greece’s celebration of Sharjah’s contributions to Arab and global culture encapsulates the enduring and profound connections between Sharjah’s cultural institutions and their counterparts. Simultaneously, it provides a new platform for forging partnerships and cultural cooperation. This cooperation is instrumental in advancing our goals to preserve our achievements, embody our cultural values, and promote literature, arts, and creativity as potent instruments for impactful and far-reaching communication. This communication extends beyond official institutions and initiatives, reaching individuals and societies, and ultimately influencing various vital sectors shared between Sharjah and Greek cities,” Al Ameri added.


He continued, “Under the guidance of Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, Chairperson of SBA, we eagerly anticipate presenting a comprehensive agenda that reflects the emirate’s status as a leading cultural city. We will narrate its journey of accomplishments as the Capital of Arab and Islamic Cultures, World Book Capital, and home to the world’s largest book fair since 2020.”


Nikos Koukis, President of the Hellenic Foundation for Culture, shared his thoughts, stating, “We are deeply honored that Sharjah has graciously accepted our invitation to be the Guest of Honour at the 20th edition of the Thessaloniki International Book Fair scheduled for May 2024. This collaboration has been in the making for two years, and we are confident that celebrating Sharjah will open up new avenues of communication and strengthen cultural bonds between Greece, Sharjah, the UAE, and the Arab world.”


He further emphasized, “We have every confidence that the partnership between the Greek Foundation for Culture and the SBA will yield the desired results.”


The Thessaloniki Book Fair, initiated in 2004, has evolved into a prominent platform for books and literature. It showcases works from Greece, the Balkans, Western Europe, the Southeastern Mediterranean, and various corners of the world. The fair is organized by the Hellenic Foundation for Culture in collaboration with Greek publishers, TIF-HelExpo, the Region of Central Macedonia, and the City of Thessaloniki, with support from the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports.