The Ministry of Culture was keen to embody the slogan of Doha International Book Fair in its thirty-second session, “By reading we rise,” and to enrich poets so that it becomes a reality through the accompanying cultural events, and at the same time serves as a cultural festival parallel to the exhibition.
Ms. Dalal Al-Dossary, the Head of the Cultural Committee of Doha International Book Fair, said that from the first moment the fair’s logo was adopted, the Cultural Committee worked to promote this concept “By reading, we rise” and to activate and enrich the slogan through the accompanying events or even through the selection of the participating guests, mentioning that the events accompanying the exhibition have come to represent a parallel cultural festival, and book fairs are no longer limited to displaying and selling books. Hence, the importance of these events, which serve to promote ideas and deliver messages sought by the exhibition.
She added by saying that the exhibition this year was different, not only in its timing, but also in its wide participation and the presence of the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a guest of honor for this edition, all of which pushes towards achieving the directions and vision of the Ministry of Culture so that culture is a case of society and not an individual case, and to present culture to all and make it an act Community, which is not an easy matter. The book fair, with its diversity and distinction of activities, and the welcome and acceptance of all segments of society, confirms that the Ministry of Culture is taking confident steps in order for culture to be a growing societal condition that contributes to achieving the comprehensive renaissance of the State of Qatar.
Al-Dosary stressed on the keenness of the Cultural Committee to present various activities that are able to constitute a real addition inspired by the spirit of the exhibition and its slogan so that the visitor to the exhibition finds what he is looking for. Focus has also been placed on the various activities for different age groups, and presenting a cultural proposal that makes the individual the focus of attention, by increasing the interaction between readers and publishing houses on the one hand, or between readers and authors, or even between publishing houses themselves, we have also provided a group of workshops and courses that can contribute to enhancing the skill of individuals.
The head of the Cultural Committee stressed that reading is one of the most important national issues that are always at the forefront of the interests of the State of Qatar, which is what we tried to work on in our various activities related to the exhibition, mentioning also that a daily session was allocated in the main theater, during which specialists from among the great Qatari intellectuals are hosted, and the Arabs deal with issues of reading and successful experiences in which reading was part of its formation, in addition to shedding light on the most important local active issues at the local and global levels, such as Qatar’s hosting of Expo 2023 and the passage of 20 years since the signing of the UNESCO Conference for the Preservation of Intangible Heritage. Discussion sessions were also presented about human rights to protect people with disabilities and the impact of artificial intelligence on the publishing and media industry and awareness of cyber security in Qatar, in addition to enhancing the spirit of belonging among young people by hosting them and presenting a set of activities and events of their own.
Ms. Dalal Al-Dosari, the Head of the Cultural Committee of Doha Book Fair continued saying that: “Whoever observes the nature of the events accompanying the exhibition realizes that we deal with culture as a societal and individual need and that it has a universal meaning that does not recognize many commas, taking into account the privacy of each cultural experience. Therefore, in this version we have guests from different The colors of Arab and international culture, and we presented activities that take into account the diversity that Arab culture has known, whether on the main stage, which includes the largest and most important seminars, lectures and evenings through about (36) lectures and sessions, or through the cultural salon that organizes (44) diverse activities in its program.
She emphasized the committee’s keenness to provide a rich and enriching program of training workshops by offering (50) workshops that varied between the fields of education, reading skills, narrative and creative writing, Arabic calligraphy, and other topics related to self-development, lifestyles, and so on.
She praised the cultural program aimed at young people through the Children’s Oasis, which we sought to be an interactive world of knowledge for children, which includes various pavilions, such as gardening coinciding with Qatar’s hosting of Expo 2023, or linking them to Islamic culture with the presence of the zoo mentioned in the Qur’an, and many others, which were designed in a modern way that takes into account the age groups for childhood and thus meets the psychological and educational needs of the child with an entertaining and exciting template.
In addition, she pointed out that this year the exhibition is witnessing the launch of more than (81) new publications in various types of literature, sciences and cultures, including a large part of them by the Qatari authors, in addition to the interest in the presence of the “living kitchen”, which is represented in the transfer of food culture among peoples, as food is included in the list of cultural heritage intangible to UNESCO.
Al-Dosary explained that the criteria for selecting the participating guests are based on everything that would add to the cultural space in Qatar, and therefore a group of guests who had significant contributions to Arab and international culture were selected, and we also tried to choose guests that fit the theme of the exhibition for this session.
She said that: We are always at the forefront of our priorities when building a cultural program for the public, considering several things, most notably: the community’s need for the issues raised, the knowledge enrichment that these topics add in various fields and for all target groups, highlighting the most prominent and important international events hosted by the State of Qatar, serving all segments of the society and focus on what serves the cultural aspect of each category. Therefore, measuring the impact of the public’s interaction with the cultural program is evident to us through the audience’s attendance and interaction of the activities and events offered by the book fair, and monitoring the audience’s interaction through social media.
She added by saying that the committee also measures, through the exhibition’s information platform, the public’s interest in the cultural program, as it aims to direct visitors, serve them, facilitate their tours, answer their questions regarding the activities held, and search for specific books, authors’ names, writers, specific publishing houses, or new titles in various fields, pointing out that this mechanism is a means of measuring public attitudes regarding the cultural program and regarding the exhibition in general.
She continued by saying that: “The matter is not limited to the public, but even to publishing houses and exhibitors. We are always working to evaluate the above and review the nature of interaction with it, because we are mainly working to provide cultural content that is able to touch the needs of society and enrich its intellectual, cultural and knowledge orientations.
The activities of Doha International Book Fair continue until June 21 at Doha Exhibition and Conference Center under the slogan (By reading, we rise) with the participation of more than 500 publishers from (37) countries, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia this year will be the guest of honor for this year’s edition of the exhibition, which offers readers about (180) thousand titles, and 750,000 books, as well as a rich cultural program.