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DCT Abu Dhabi organises inaugural Manuscript-centred conference and exhibition

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), will organise the first-ever conference dedicated entirely to manuscripts on 16th and 17th January 2019, with an accompanying exhibition running until the 15th February 2019, at Manarat Al Saadiyat.

Aimed at highlighting Abu Dhabi’s role in safeguarding and publishing Arab heritage, the exhibition will feature compelling manuscripts which underline the UAE’s deep-rooted culture and extraordinary history. The ‘Abu Dhabi First Manuscripts Conference and Exhibition: Arabic Manuscripts Reality and Issues’ will emphasise and strengthen cultural ties with Arab manuscript centres around the world, whilst also exchanging information and expertise on Arabic manuscripts.

HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Undersecretary at Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said: “Historic manuscripts are a significant part of any civilisation’s legacy, playing a vital role in allowing current and future generations to understand and respect their heritage. Abu Dhabi’s inaugural Manuscripts Conference and Exhibition will convene academics and experts from top scholastic centres around the world, in an exchange of knowledge that will enhance our understanding and appreciation of Arabic manuscripts.

“In times before our modern methods of communication, early Arabic manuscripts played a vital role in documenting scientific knowledge and discoveries and spreading them to other nations. These invaluable documents are records of our region’s rich shared history, and aside from the conference’s academic and philosophical objectives, the subject matter will serve to build bridges of cultural understanding between all participants. It is apt that such an event should take place at the start of 2019, in what has been designated the Year of Tolerance here in the UAE. The conference and its accompanying exhibition form part of our overarching mission to promote and encourage intercultural dialogue and acceptance in our community and beyond.”

The conference will feature six different sessions highlighting the historical value of editing, publishing and preserving manuscripts, with the participation of renowned moderators from across the GCC region, such as Dr Mohammed Ali Alshwabkha from Jordan, Dr. Abdullah Al-Munif from Saudi Arabia, Dr. Abdullah Ghalis from Kuwait, Dr. Ahmed Chouqui Binebine from Morocco, Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim Hoor from Jordan and Dr. Abdullah bin Saleem Al Rasheed from Saudi Arabia.

The conference will also be attended by an additional group of speakers from the Middle East who have experience in preserving manuscripts and literary works, including Dr. Abdullah Al-Ghunaim from Kuwait, Dr. Bashar Awad Marouf from Jordan, Dr. Adel Sulaiman Jamal from the United States and Dr. Abdullah Assilan from Saudi Arabia.

The first session will feature three presentations on such topics as Conservation of Manuscripts during the Kuwait Crisis, Arabic Manuscripts in Wartime Africa and Legal Protection of Arabic Manuscripts in Wartime, with the second session on the first day covering discussions of four topics: The Study of Arabic Manuscripts: Efforts and Trends, Scientific Significance of the Arabic Manuscripts in El Escorial Monastery, The Role of the Juma Al Majid Centre for Culture and Heritage in Documenting Original and Duplicate Manuscripts and Elevating the Status Quo of Arabic Manuscripts.

Day one’s third session will feature sessions on Editing Literary and Linguistic Heritage in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, The Editing and Publishing of Arab Heritage in the Sultanate of Oman, The Role of Dr. Abdulaziz Al Mana in Publishing Arab Heritage and The efforts of the linguistic assemblies in the dissemination of Arab heritage.

The second day will begin with a session with separate presentations covering the issues of editing historical texts, geographical texts, scientific texts and literary texts, with the second session of the second day entitled Major Projects for Editing Heritage Books, with four titles featuring, including Mu’jam Al-Buldan by Yaqut Al Hamwi, Mu’jam Al Abab Al Zakher by Al Saghani, Ibn Al-Awwam’s Book of Andalusian Agriculture and Travel Literature edited by the ‘Exploration Prospects’ Project.

Finally, the sixth session will cover topics including the Collection and Editing of the Lost Heritage Book, Editing Poetry Collected in Iraq: Nouri Al Qaisi and Hatem Al Dhamen As Models, The Role of Dr. Abdulaziz Al Faisal in Editing Anthologies of Tribes and Andalusian Poetry Collection Efforts.

Also joining the conference will be keynote speakers at the forefront of the literary preservation agenda from the Middle Eastern region.

As part of the Dar Al Koutb National Library, DCT Abu Dhabi has a Manuscripts Section aimed at the restoration, preservation and redeployment of old manuscripts, and also owns one of the most significant collections of manuscripts in the Gulf region.

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