The Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) has sponsored the 6th edition of the International Festival of Arabic Language and Culture, which took place at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, Italy. The event was in line with the vision of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, to promote the Arabic language and culture globally.
The festival, themed “Bridges of Babel”, explored how translation contributes to building civilizations and brought together industry experts to examine the significance of the Arabic language and its extensive intellectual output in various cultures over time.
During the festival’s opening ceremony, Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA, gave a keynote speech, during which he highlighted the efforts of Sheikh Dr. Sultan in supporting the Arabic language, not only as the language of the Arab world but also as a language for dialogue, science, and cultural exchange.
Al Ameri added that the Arabic language has been pivotal in the development of civilizations over the past thousand years, providing the world with the foundations of algebra, geometry, astronomy, navigation, and architecture. He praised the theme for this year’s festival and noted that Sharjah believes in translation as an engine for showcasing the human commonalities that unite people and civilizations worldwide.
The authority has launched the Sharjah International Book Fair Translation Grant and the ‘Turjuman Award’, the world’s largest translation award, and translated numerous Arab and Emirati works into different languages.
Mario Gatti, Director of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, thanked Sharjah, represented by SBA, for sponsoring the festival and ensuring its success. He expressed hope that this year’s edition would reveal the true impact of translation from the Arabic language on the cultural renaissance of the world and demonstrate the importance of the Arabic language in human knowledge in general.
Dr. Wael Farouq, Professor of Language, Arabic Literature, and Islamic Studies at the Catholic University, stated that Sharjah’s massive efforts succeeded in reaching different countries around the world, showcasing the beauty and richness of Arab culture and language. He noted that these efforts were the driving force for the university to present a project and festival that highlights the status of the language and sheds light on Arab culture and its significant contributions to literature, science, and art on a global level.
In the opening session of the festival, Giovanni Gobber, Dean of the Faculty of Linguistic Sciences and Foreign Literatures, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, spoke about the importance of translation and its role in bringing people and cultures together.
The festival, regarded as the leading event celebrating the Arabic language in Europe, featured a series of discussions and sessions where participants highlighted the importance of translation and its impact on different fields.
The three-day cultural event was organized by the Catholic University of Milan’s Arabic Language Research Institute (CARA), the Language Service Center (SeLdA), and SBA. The festival aimed to promote Arabic language and culture and serve as a platform for cultural exchange and dialogue between different countries and communities. It emphasized the role of translation in bridging the gap between cultures and promoting mutual understanding and respect.