People enjoy browsing through books on display on the first day of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair on Sunday.
Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: School libraries across the UAE will received Dh6 million worth of books and educational materials from the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) 2021.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has directed that the funds be allocated for the purchase of 500,000 titles on sale at the fair. They will be distributed to distributed to government schools in support of the education sector.

The initiative highlights the importance of having books and cultural resources readily available to students from different age groups. “Investing in books means investing in minds, the very foundation that any nation’s success is built on. We are grateful to [Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed] for his support. Making a wide variety of literary works from the Fair available to students will undoubtedly play an instrumental role in their educational development. It will also contribute greatly to broadening their horizons and better acquaint them with different cultures to hone their skills and further their experiences throughout their educational journey,” said Hussain Al Hammadi, UAE Minister of Education.

“We are greatly appreciative of this gesture, which reflects the vision and wisdom of [Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed] as it provides significant support and assistance to one of our country’s vital cultural industries,” said Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi.

“We will immediately begin working with the Ministry of Education to ensure the selection of titles meets the needs of students at various levels of education, and to provide school libraries with the latest and most important literary, scientific, cultural and educational publications. By doing so, we will be able to motivate our youth to read and discover more about the world around them,” he added.

Hybrid event

The 30th edition of the ADIBF kicked off in the capital on Sunday, with the participation of more than 800 exhibitors from 46 countries. The event is being organised in a hybrid manner, with virtual sessions and workshops complementing on site activities at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

The DCT also announced on Saturday that publishers would be exempted from paying fees to participate in ADIBF as an incentive for the sector amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abu Dhabi International Book Fair

When: May 23-29
Timings: 9am-10pm on weekdays and Saturday, 4pm-10pm on Friday
COVID-19 precautions
* Visitors must be aged 17 years or older to access the events at ADNEC.
* Visitors must be vaccinated.
* All visitors must present a COVID-19 PCR test result with 48-hour validity.
* All visitors will need to register in advance, and can obtain an electronic access card through the book fair’s website, or through the dedicated mobile app.
* Before arriving, visitors must install and activate Al Hosn app on their smartphones.
* Visitors will have their temperature checked before being allowed to enter, and electronic tickets will be scanned.
* The maximum duration of each visit should not exceed three hours.
* Entry will be suspended when maximum capacity is reached to ensure adequate social distancing.
* Face masks must be worn at all times.
* If a visitor develops COVID-19 symptoms while at the fair, organisers should be alerted as soon as possible.

ADIBF was not held in 2020 as a precautionary measure against the COVID-19 outbreak, with organisers setting up a number of virtual forums for industry experts through throughout the year. This time around, stringent COVID-19 precautionary measures in place for visitors, including a requirement for visitors to be vaccinated, and to present negative COVID-19 test results to gain entry.

Event highlights

A number of renowned authors and experts will be at the fair. American author and journalist Mitch Albom will discuss the significance of literature in building a culture of tolerance and compassion at a session. American author Tayari Jones will hold a session to discuss her latest work. American fantasy writer Brent Weeks will talk about the importance of science fiction novels in transporting readers away from the monotony of their daily lives.

A visitor browses through books on display at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.
Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Meanwhile, Emirati writer Eman Alyousuf will discuss, with Kuwaiti writer Taleb Alrefai, how the COVID-19 pandemic has reinvigorated people’s love for reading. French guitarist, Gilbert Sinoué, will also discussing his novel The Falcon, a fictionalised biography of the UAE’s founding father, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

British television presenter and historian Bettany Hughes will join a conversation about the impact of plagues and pandemics on civilisations. In another session, Emirati writer Sultan Al Amimi will speak about with the importance of short stories, and their role in enhancing literary diversity.

Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, president of the International Publishers Association, and Richard Charkin, former President of the International Publishers Association and the British Publishers Association, will also participate in a panel about copyrights and piracy.

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