Thursday, 19 April 2012

Saudi Pavilion at London Book Fair 2012

Saudi Pavilion at London Book Fair 2012

Dr. Mozammel Haque

The Saudi Ambassador to the United Kingdom & Ireland, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, opened the Saudi Pavilion at the London Book Fair 2012 on Monday, the 16th of April, 2012. This is the sixth year Saudi Arabia has its Stand at the London Book Fair. But this year it is one of the biggest one and in fact, Saudi Arabia has extended the space and there are more publishers this year.

A very unique contribution is made by the King Fahd Complex for Printing the Glorious Qur’an which are showing and giving samples of the correct and right translations available to the readers anywhere in the world, said Professor Dr. Ahmad ibn Saifuddin Turkistani, the Head of the Department of Cultural Affairs, Media & Public Relations, Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in London.

More than 10 Publishing House took part at the Saudi Pavilion at the London Book Fair 2012. King Abdulaziz Public Library, Riyadh, one of the publishers, have three or four very valuable works. Professor Turkistani mentioned about the works, for example, “Lady Evalyn Cobbold Pilgrimage to Mecca”; another one “Japanese in Makkah” who also performed Hajj. Then there was another works, Salafism in Saudi Arabia, which is very very interesting, said Professor Turkistani and also mentioned another book entitled Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab available at the Stand.

Saudi Arabia also organised lectures at its exhibition stand. There were two lectures on electronic publishing and education. On the first day, on Monday, 16th of April, Dr. Mansour Azzamil, Assistant Professor of King Saud University, Riyadh, delivered a lecture on “e-Book and Its Role in the Development of Education in Saudi Arabia”. After giving definition of Electronic Book, Dr. Azzamil talked about the historical perspective of the evolution of the Electronic Book and mentioned about Vannevar Bush, Kays’ Dynabook, Project Gutenberg, Sony Discman and Sony/Franklin Bookman.

On Tuesday, 17th of April, 2012, there was another lecture, again on electronic publishing. Dr. Majda Ezzat Gharieb, Assistant Professor of King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, delivered a lecture on “Electronic Publishing in Saudi Arabia: Its Development and Future”. In an interview with me, Dr. Gharieb said, she will be talking about electronic publishing and its development in Saudi Arabia. She explained the futures of the electronic publishing in Saudi Arabia. At the very start, Dr. Gharieb shed some light on the concept of electronic publishing, its development and future in Saudi Arabia. She also talked about the historical development of ICT in Saudi Arabia,

Besides the above lectures, Saudi pavilion also distributed books and informed about the recently held Hajj Exhibition at the British Museum from 26 January to 15 April, 2012, about the Expansion Projects of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz for the Grand Mosque in Makkah al-Mukarramah. Professor Turkistani told me in an interview that “We have been showing some documentaries around the clock here under the big screen. We have about 11 screens besides the main screen, 12 screens in total, all showing documentaries about Hajj, Journeys to Makkah, about Higher education in Saudi Arabia, and Arabian wings. We are also showing documentaries about what is happening in Saudi Arabia.”

Dr. Turkistani said, all in all, it shows Saudi Arabia is very rich in culture and heritage. Saudi Arabia has also a modern phase, such as it is progressing with electronic publishing and things related to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. So all these are available in this exhibition, mentioned Dr. Turkistani.

After inaugurating the Saudi pavilion, the Saudi Ambassador Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf visited other exhibition stands, especially, the pavilions of Lebanon, UAE, Iraq, Oman, Sharjah International Book Fair, Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, etc.

The highlight of this year’s event at the London Book Fair was the annual Market Focus programme. London Book Fair along with its cultural partner, The British Council, welcome China as its 2012 country of focus. The Market Focus Pavilion was the largest Market Focus initiative to date, featuring 180 publishers. There were a rich variety of professional seminars and 21 authors from China participated in a wonderful programme of talks and interviews organised by the British Council.

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