The activities of the fourth annual forum organized remotely by the Qatari Forum for Authors, under the title “Contributions of Authors and Writers in Promoting Arab-Islamic Identity”, has started today as part of the activities of Doha, Capital of Culture in the Islamic World 2021.
Writers, authors and academics from the State of Qatar and a number of Arab countries will participate in the forum over a period of two days, with the aim of exchanging experiences in the field of authorship, writing and publishing, and shedding light on the most important things that have been published to promote the Arab-Islamic identity. The forum aims also at encouraging generations interested in the Arab-Islamic identity by creating a common environment between authors and writers and integrating the cultural movement through all the participating sides in the process by developing future plans for authors.
During the opening session, Mrs. Maryam Yassin Al Hammadi, Director General of the Qatari Forum for Authors, said that the convening of the forum in April is linked to the World Book and Copyright Day, which falls on April 23, as its date has been brought forward this year to be held before the blessed month of Ramadan. She stressed the importance of the book’s role in promoting Arab-Islamic culture, especially with the selection of Doha as the capital of Arab-Islamic culture this year, and for this reason, the topic of “Contributions of Authors and Writers in Promoting the Arab-Islamic Identity” was chosen as a general focus of this forum.
She added that there are different themes of Arab culture that include many components. The most important themes are the Arabic language and the inherited values and concepts accumulated over the course of history, indicating the interest of the Arab-Islamic culture in the culture of dialogue, understanding and communication. As a result of that, this culture has become an effective force at all intellectual levels, which makes the preservation of the Arab-Islamic identity a life necessity and an Islamic duty, through mutual work by strengthening cooperation between writers and authors, and then between the societies of the Arab and Islamic world, and deepening the bonds of solidarity between scientific cadres and members of society in general in promoting joint Arab-Islamic action.
Al-Hammadi also reviewed an aspect of the forum’s strategy, which carries the slogan “Let your pen reflects your thought and release your creativity with your thoughts, your country flourishes”. She addressed the goals and values of the forum, and the most important features of the annual plan, which includes many of the projects launched by the forum this year and which are still on the agenda of the annual events to enhance interest in Qatari authors.
For his part, writer Saleh Gharib, director of programs at the Qatari Forum for Authors, said in a similar speech that the topic of the forum about the contributions of writers in promoting the Arab-Islamic identity is consistent with the activities of Doha, Capital of Culture in the Islamic World for this year. He indicated that the forum hosts Qatari and Arab writers and authors to focus on the most important thing that has been published to promote this identity, in addition to encouraging the generations interested in identity.
For her part, Dr. Hamda Hassan Al-Sulaiti, Secretary-General of the Qatari National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, valued the choice of the theme of the forum, which is in line with Doha, Capital of Culture in the Islamic World, which strengthens the Arab-Islamic identity, as the Doha agenda is rich with cultural, heritage and religious activities.
Al-Sulaiti said that religion, the Arabic language, heritage, authentic Arab customs and traditions, Islamic values and morals are basic pillars in the formation of the Arab and Islamic identity, and that strengthening this identity depends on the thoughts and contributions of authors and writers, thinkers and literary men as they are the ones who participate in forming the consciousness and thought of the nation, especially the youth. She called on cultural and literary institutions to raise the cultural and intellectual level of authors and writers, especially the youth, and to publish their production in Arabic books and brochures, to encourage the translation of good ones into international languages. Al-Sulaiti also called to transmit the global heritage of the Arabic language, as well as to strengthen relations with authors, Arab unions, and Arab writers. In addition to that, she called for nurturing young literary talents, and working on training them to hone their writing skills and develop their own abilities.
The Secretary-General of the Qatar National Commission for Education, Culture and Science stressed the importance of coordinating efforts and positions with cultural and literary associations and unions in the Arab countries to annually conduct literary, cultural and religious competitions at the level of the Arab world on the best books or literary and artistic works that dealt with one of the topics of support and promotion of the Arab-Islamic identity.
In his turn, Mr. Faisal Al Suwaidi, Director of the Culture and Arts Department at the Ministry of Culture and Sports, said “I appreciate the efforts of the Qatari Forum for Authors and its keenness on this annual forum to discuss issues of writing and the movement of authorship and publishing in light of technological development and digital acceleration, so that the forum is an opportunity to study the future of cultural and literary work and to learn about the aspirations of writers, especially in light of the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic.”
Al-Suwaidi explained that human cultures seek to open up according to public common points to benefit from various knowledge, with the need to preserve the components of identity and the cultural and heritage essence of one’ self. In fact, this is what the Ministry of Culture and Sports adopts in its intellectual vision and the grand perceptions that help achieve a conscious society with an authentic conscience. He added that this awareness led the Qatari Forum for Authors to approach the topic of the contributions of writers and authors in strengthening the Arab-Islamic identity in this session.
During the first session of the fourth annual forum for authors, which was held under the title “Qatar National Strategy … Integration for the Promotion of Arab-Islamic Identity in the Field of Culture”, a number of representatives of cultural and educational institutions intervened. Mr. Muhammad Hassan Al-Kuwari, Director of Publications and Translation Department at the Ministry of Culture and Sports addressed the efforts of the Ministry in promoting Arab and Islamic identity through publishing books to achieve this goal. He cited many publications printed by the Ministry, such as the book “Palestine in the Conscience of Qatar’s Popular Poets” and many others.
Under the title “Arab and Islamic Heritage and Culture in School Curricula,” Mrs. Rima Abu Khadija, Director of the Curricula Department at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, explained that the school curricula in the State of Qatar work to form a citizen who believes in God Almighty and who belongs to his country and his Arab and Islamic nation, who is endowed with Islamic virtues and values. She noted that the ministry has prepared the general framework for the educational curriculum as a road map for educators and curriculum developers, which emphasizes Islamic values as well as Arab and Qatari cultural heritage.
The Director of the Curriculum Department also reviewed the ministry’s strategy to include these ideas in educational curricula through modules, lessons, activities and texts, mentioning many of the models it includes to enhance the Arab and Islamic identity.
For her part, Mrs. Moza Al-Madhahka, Director of the Educational Guidance Department at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, affirmed the ministry’s interest in its programs and activities through activating interest in Arabic as a basic language that helps build the Qatari person, stressing the keenness of the Educational Guidance Department to follow up and implement curricula on the ground through supervision and follow-up, and taking into account the values that the teacher instills in his students. AL-Madhahka also referred to the programs offered by schools and programs provided by the Ministry of Education, such as interest in theater, writing short stories, and others.
On her part, Mrs. Abeer Saad Al-Kuwari, Director of Research Affairs and Learning Services at the Qatar National Library, spoke at the forum about the library’s pioneering role in preserving cultural heritage in the State of Qatar, the Arabian Gulf and the Arab region in general, indicating that it includes a distinguished heritage library that disseminates and promotes a deeper global vision of the history and culture of the Arab Gulf region, which is an integral part of the Arab and Islamic heritage.
As for Mr. Karim Darwish, head of a team of scholars at the Qatar Computing Research Institute at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, he spoke about the role of research and technology in enhancing cultural and Islamic contents and serving the Arabic language.
The second session was devoted to the cultural bodies supporting the book and the author, in which Dr. Aisha Jassim Al-Kuwari, CEO of Rosa Publishing and Distribution, the poet Radhi Al-Hajri, Executive Director of Zekreet Publishing and Distribution, Mrs. Fatima Al-Rifai, Director of Production and Distribution of Lusail Publishing and Distribution House, and Dr. Abdul Qader Faidouh, Director of Research Projects for Qatar University Publishing House, discussed the contribution of publishing houses in promoting Arab and Islamic culture through publishing and distribution. While Mrs. Asma Al-Kuwari, Director of Nabja Publishing and Distribution House, discussed the role of child literature in promoting Arab and Islamic identity.
During the evening, a session was held under the title “Inspiration of Arab and Islamic Civilization between History and Documentation”, in which the writer and researcher Dr. Khaled Al-Buaineen participated and reviewed examples of his books in the documentary field of Arab history, namely: “1000 Adheem”, “Mawsoua 1000 Maalam”, and “Mawsoua Shouara Alarab Baqa mina Altarikh.
Director Saad Burshid, a member of the instructional staff at the Community College, also spoke about “Documenting Islamic Civilization through Drama”, after which Dr. Abdelhak Belabed, Professor of Literature Issues, Critical Studies and Approach, at Qatar University, presented a topic entitled “A Look at the Arab and Islamic World in the Eyes of Orientalists and the Importance of Arabic Language Collections”, followed by a topic by the writer and the researcher Khawla Mortadhawi entitled” Reviving the Arab and Islamic literary heritage in the lives of youth and generations.” Then Dr. Hassan Obaid Al-Taqi, Professor at the College of Sharia and Islamic Studies at Qatar University, presented a paper entitled “Systematic Rooting for Islamic Knowledge Building in the Life of Youth and Generations.”
At the end of the session, the writer Hamad Al-Tamimi, Director of Youth Programs, spoke at the Qatari Forum for Authors about the role of youth initiatives in promoting cultural mobility and promoting Arab and Islamic culture.