The Executive Council of Dubai and Emirates Literature Foundation Sign MoU to Promote Reading
‘…Sustainable efforts to promote reading and culture among community members’ – Abdulla Abdul Rahman Al Shaibani
‘We are inspired by the UAE Government’s ongoing commitment to and support for all forms of culture…’ – Isobel Abulhoul
Dubai, December 19, 2016:
As per the directives of UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, (may Allah protect him), who declared 2016 the Year of Reading, and in line with the National Reading Policy launched by UAE Vice President and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the General Secretariat of The Executive Council of Dubai (TEC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Emirates Literature Foundation (ELF) at a ceremony at TEC’s headquarters in Emirates Towers.
The aim of the MoU is to encourage reading among individuals in Dubai and the UAE by organising activities and strategic programmes that create an environment that promotes culture.
TEC Secretary General His Excellency Abdulla Abdul Rahman Al Shaibani welcomed the partnership between the two organisations, pointing out that it was in line with the General Secretariat’s goal of having a positive influence on community members. He said, ‘This MoU includes sustainable efforts to promote reading and culture among community members; it is a translation of the vision of our wise and prudent leadership as embodied in the National Reading Policy, and a part of Dubai Plan 2021, which seeks to position Dubai as a place of education and culture. We are confident that the strategic programmes and projects included in the MoU will be a building block in the national effort to promote culture in the UAE.’
Aisha Miran, Assistant Secretary-General of Strategy Management and Governance Sector at DEC, said, ‘The UAE’s National Reading Law, the first law of its kind in the region, was issued to promote reading and to encourage organisations to cooperate and enrich the creative output in order to develop our human capital and cognitive abilities and to support national intellectual output. This is what we endeavour to achieve by signing this MoU with Emirates Literature Foundation.
‘The MoU and its strategic programmes are designed to deal with the demand and supply side of a book’s lifecycle by enriching Arabic creative output in terms of production, translation and publishing, an issue that is addressed at the Dubai Translation Conference and Dubai International Publishing Conference.’
Isobel Abulhoul, OBE, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, said, ‘On behalf of the Emirates Literature Foundation, I would like to express our deep gratitude and appreciation to TEC’s General Secretariat, which shares our goal of providing long and short-term solutions to create an environment that encourages the inhabitants of Dubai to join the community of active readers and writers.
‘We are inspired by the UAE Government’s ongoing commitment to and support for all forms of culture through its launch of the Year of Reading and the National Reading Law. We are confident that our common initiatives will be a great success, proving that our partnership is a natural collaboration, as it was with the Dubai Translation Conference in October 2016, and the Year of Reading activities.’
Abulhoul went on to say that she was confident that upcoming initiatives such as the School Librarian of the Year Award and Dubai International Publishing Conference would help Dubai achieve important objectives by helping it overcome cultural challenges and ensuring that the largest possible number of readers – especially young people – have access to high-quality reading materials in the original language or the translated language, thus increasing the number of options available to readers.
In March 2016, the DEC General Secretariat organised a series of Creative Labs to generate recommendations that will help to achieve the objectives of Dubai Plan 2021. One Lab, ‘A Generation That Reads’, discussed challenges to enhancing the culture of reading in Dubai. Participants included representatives from government entities, experts and influential people in the cultural scene and in Dubai’s publishing industry. The recommendations were used to create strategic initiatives to enrich creative content in Arabic in order to benefit readers and improve demand.
According to the MoU, the two parties agreed to enhance mutual cooperation and coordination in order to best benefit from each party’s expertise and experiences. The MoU also includes partnership and cooperation in organising three programmes related to enhancing the culture of reading in the community. Dubai International Publishing Conference will be held in March 2017 and the winner of the School Librarian of the Year Award will be announced in the same month, while the Dubai Translation Conference will be held later next year.