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Sultan of the Culture.. a Knowledge Expands in the Arab Arena

Granting His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, the Member of the Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah, the title of the Cultural Personality of the year in the 8th edition of the Palestinian  festival “Zahrat Al Mada'en” was an inevitable result of the scientific and cultural renaissance movement that he led for more than three decades through establishing the scientific and cultural organizations in the Emirate of Sharjah and supporting the same activities all over the United Arab Emirates and other countries worldwide. Pursuing a foresighted cultural policy in various scientific and knowledge fields, supporting the pioneer means in modern arts and cultural fields -such as theater, painting, various fairs- and observing  the Arabic, international and human achievements in the fields of history and arts, to spread such experiences among the Arab youth and encourage them to participate and outstandingly excel in this scope, are but some of the activities of His Highness that merited him the title. Furthermore, the Ruler of Sharjah has written a number of books in history, human and social sciences, hereby entered into the comprehensive concept of culture and the cultured person.

When we talk about His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, the image of the inclusive statesman comes immediately to our minds.  The first indication of this matter lies in his belief in the importance of culture, writing, research and knowledge. Also the studies he wrote, books published and fairs and competitions he encouraged not only in Al Sharjahor the united Arab Emirates but extends to the Arabic surroundings, emphasizes this image of the inclusive statesman. The second indication lies in employing this culture as a project linked to a vision that mixes the experience of the past with the modern time that is establishing for an Arab future based on self-awareness of the positive sides and the weak points and negative sides. His highness combined words with actions when he presented his studies on the history of the Arabian Gulf and Arabian peninsula in an integrated manner, and in his plays and novels as well. The third indication lies in the continuity of the cultural granting through providing the required support which we call the infrastructure like libraries, theaters, museums and the cultural organizations that flow among generation and that is enriched through the experience and the tributaries.

Heritage Revival

Heritage has a large share of the attention of His Highness the Ruler of Sharja. Despite the features of progress and civilization that characterized the Emirate of Sharjah, the heritage preservation and sticking to roots is a distinctive factor of His Highness. His instruction relating to the maintenance of the popular markets in Sharjah, which occupied a prominent position in the trade, history and old Arab literature such as: Al Arsa market, Al Maskouf market, Al Shoyhin market, Goldsmiths market and Saker market reflect his insight.

His highness instructed the Heritage Management to renovate and rehabilitate the heritage mosques inside which the religious gatherings, legislation and seminars were held.

In 1995, His highness, the ruler of Sharjah ordered to establish the Directorate of Heritage under the Department of Information and Culture, in view of the fact that preservation and maintenance of heritage are important infrastructure of the reissuance and progress of nations. Since that, the Department worked on developing its functions whether through renovating the heritage buildings, establishment of museums, organizing activities or publishing researches and studies that focus on the UAE folk heritage.

The cultural Sharjah

Sharjah cultural experience, that is closely related to His highness as the commander of its development process, the maker of its distinctive presence and the ruler of its affairs, demonstrates that the line pursued by his highness does not ovelook the current era, its challenges and its knowledge development, and at the same time this line does not forget the roots and the foundations that formed the culture of the country and its social and civilization fabric. By these two wings, Sharjah loomed high in the cultural horizon and presented a kind of creative intermingling between tradition and modernity. Such equation requires a lot of contemplation from the Arab theorists and intellectuals.

Nowadays, Sharjah combines a number of  prominent cultural highlights and is organizing a chain of festivals and arts, theater and plastic arts events.

His highness supported the projects of cultural and civilization communication between Arab and Muslim nations from aside and the western nations and their civilizations in the other side, in order to prove that Islam is a religion of tolerance and communication and not a religion of violence. He Paid attention to what saves the memory, so he founded museums equipped with the latest technologies.

His highness the Ruler of Sharjah did not forget his personal duty regarding the contribution in the universal culture. He granted the Arab and universal libraries a number of books in various disciplines as gifts. 

The cultural project of Sharjah was accompanied by a cultural industry and lofty architectural facilities that were launched out of the conviction of his highness of the role of the culture in the society and its impact on improving and developing the arts and aesthetic taste and self- discipline and broadening understanding and the intellectual and creative abilities.

Material and Moral Incentive

His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah has not ignored the role of the material and moral stimulation in the culture and creative production, and rewarding  those people who have devoted their life to the service of culture and its upgrading. To that end, Sharjah offers many cultural prizes to reward works of art and intellectual efforts that contribute to the development and spread of Arab culture.

In light of this, the Emirate of Sharjah became a whereabouts for more than twenty Public Benefit Associations and Cultural and Intellectual Foundations and Forums. In 1998, UNESCO has chosen the Emirate of Sharjah, as the cultural capital of the Arab world.

Borderless Culture

The project of “Borderless Culture”, whose committee is chaired by Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Vice Chairman of the Sharjah Ladies Club and Chairperson of Al Qasba Development Authority,  aims to spreading the general culture among Emirati families, by creating a home library in every Emirati home, comprising a selection of valuable books that suit every family. The project will be applied in stages to include all regions and cities of the Emirate of Sharjah.

Lover of the Theater

In United Arab Emirates, the theater was linked to the name of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi. His Highness encouraged the theatrical activities even among children through school theater festivals, university theater and professional theater, in addition to his great contributions in the field of playwriting, as he is one of the most prolific playwrights in the Arabian Gulf .

His interest in theater also had been demonstrated through his instructions issued in June 2007 to establish an Arab theater authority and opened the opened the Sharjah Institute of Theatrical Art,. He recommended on the importance of the communication between the theater universities, institutes and centers in the Arab world. He declared the 10th day of January as An Arab Day of Theater.  

Cultural edifices

In 2014, Sharjah was crowned as the capital of Islamic culture,  this event  prompted the emirate to achieve more accomplishments to confirm its eligibility of the position obtained by this coronation and to deepen the roots of the visions of Sharjah on upgrading and accomplishing its objectives aimed at building a unique intellectual, cultural and scientific system in the region whose main axis is the human being in all corners of the globe.

The capital of Islamic culture closes a year full of sustainable achievements to receive a new year in which Sharjah has been chosen as the capital of Arab Tourism. This selection was decided upon the decision of the Arab Tourism Ministers at the end of the 15th meetings held in October 2012 at the Arab League. The selection is due to the availability of touristic attraction factors in the Emirate and its developed infrastructures, theaters and various touristic destinations.

The Jordanian former minister of Culture, Jiryis Samawy said ‘the culture compass always points to Sharjah’.

On this occasion, we confirm the importance of the cultural contribution of His Highness Sheikh Dr, Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the member of the Supreme Council, the Ruler of Sharjah and his active role stemming from an actual intellectual convictions to enrich the Arab world through serving the development, awareness and knowledge renaissance. The selection of His Highness, the Sharjah Ruler as the Cultural Personality of the year in the Palestinian festival “Zahrat Al Mada'en” was a right decision, which undoubtedly gives the concerned party a greater credibility because his achievements are clear and well-established.

It is notable to mention that their highness the Sheikhs of the United Arab Emirates have won the love of their people and invested the money earned from oil in development particularly cultural development which was neglected by many Arab countries.

His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah has succeeded in harnessing the potentials for the benefit of culture. Granting him  the title of the cultural personality of the year by  the " Zahrat Al Mada'en " Foundation is worthy and naturally. He  deserves the highest awards for his cultural and serious multi- contributions.  His highness changed the Emirate of  Sharjah into a landmark on the culture landscape. He converted  it into a city that is vibrant of festivals of arts and cultures, permanent book fairs and important intellectual activities.

He also upgraded the theater activities and translation process. Actually, he is a writer and cultured who save no efforts in adopting the ideas, vital projects and setting serious and true strategies.

The project of “one thousand poetry houses in the Arab world” was one of my dreams and I put it on my plan when I was a minister. Due to the limited potentials, I could not achieve that project despite its practical importance, its expected role in spreading culture,  achieving a real interaction between the artists and converting it into a gathering point and a field laboratory. But here comes the Ruler of Sharjah as usual to launch this project  in the Arab world on a wide and comprehensive basis and to steer and hold the knowledge beacon as we always know him. 

We the Arab are in a bad need, in such circumstances -in which we face disputes, terrorism and dissension- for a person who can  light the torch of culture and enlightenment, and give priority to the knowledge and intellectual issues over the other dividing matters. With culture, arts and knowledge we can overcome tension, extremism, exclusion and all other diseases that exhausted the Arab body. We need more culture, more arts, more books and more knowledge to overtake the existing ordeals and to head to the future and achieving  the distinctive intellectual sites.

Egyptian writers appreciate the role of the Ruler of Sharjah in support of enlightenment- Gamal Al Ghitany

The Egyptian intellectuals appreciated the role of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, the member of the Supreme Council, the Ruler of Sharjah who was selected as the cultural personality of the year by the festival of “Zahrat Al Mada'en” of cultural creativity in its 8th edition. They indicated that this selection is a coronation for the great role he is doing in building a human and enlightening culture whose radiations light the Arab world.   

The writer Gamal Al Ghitani considered that granting this title of the cultural personality of the year to Sheikh Sultan reflects Arab awareness and gratitude to the efforts and support he extended to the Arab culture and his continuous support for the Arab thinkers and artists. Al Ghitani drew attention to the great role of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah in supporting the enlightening culture in the Arab world. Al Ghitani added that this interest in caring of the Arab culture is what made Sharjah the capital of Arab and Islamic culture, and that Sharjah deserved this position because of the continuous  support it offered to culture and innovation in Arab and Islamic worlds.

Dr . Mohammed Afifi, Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Culture in Egypt said that the selection of His Highness the Ruler of Sharja has the cultural personality of the Year in “Zahrat Al Mada'en”  comes as a result of his prominent contributions to enriching the cultural life not only in the UAE but also in the Arab world , in addition,  he is  a prestigious cultural figure within the Arab cultural circles .

Affifi added that his highness is considered the best ideal of the cultured ruler. Affifi indicated also to his major contributions in Egypt, as he was one of the most supporters of establishing the library of the faculty of agriculture, Cairo university beside his contribution to support the new documents house in Egypt.

Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Culture in Egypt said that His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah participated in establishing a great cultural renaissance in Sharjah through the establishment of many scientific institutes and cultural research centers. 

Egyptian poet and critic Shaaban Yusuf said that the selection of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah as the cultural personality of the year is a good decision, because he has a considerable efforts in the Arab cultural life and the cultural projects, most important of them in Egypt were supporting the Egyptian cultural society for which he donated with a piece of land and the recent support to the writers' union in order to upgrade the Arab culture and the level of the Arab writers. Yusuf added that his highness is  a man of culture and knowledge and has a real interest at culture and literature, and also he is one of the prominent Arab intellectuals and the figures who cares for the enlightening cultural intellect. Yusuf indicated that His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah has combined the ruling arts with the culture in its real concept, and such case can occurred only with the persons who have a great interest at the cultural life.

Indisputably the first sponsor of the Arab culture:The Omani plastic artist Bodour Al Reyami

Granting  His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, award of the Palestinian festival “Zahrat Al Madae'n” is well deserved. His fingerprints on the Gulf and Arab culture are obvious. His  Highness, the Ruler of Sharjah launched a revolutionary event in the Gulf plastic art through his patronage of Sharjah biennial that made quantum leap in Gulf plastic art. It is sufficient to mention that he converted Sharjah into the capital of the Arab culture in 1998 and capital of Islamic culture in 2014, until Sharjah became the jewel of the United Arab Emirates.

His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah devoted his life to serve the culture in Sharjah and United Arab Emirates in particular, and the Gulf and Arab culture in general. We cannot forget his support after fire caught Cairo Scientific Museum in the aftermath of January revolution. That museum was including thousands of books and manuscripts that cannot be compensated like the book “Description of Egypt”. His Highness presented denotations either by providing new books instead of the original burnt books, or renovating  the burnt books that do not have alternatives. Everyone knows his support for the Egyptian culture and intellectuals, particularly that he had studied in Egypt in the period of youth. His love for Egypt without borders and his gratitude extends along lifetime. He has many close ties with the Egyptian cultural symbols.

The fingerprints of the ruler of Sharjah on many cultural projects inside or outside Sharjah are obvious, that include but not limited to the project of “Borderless Culture” that presents thousands of books to Sharjah in order to spread culture in each corner of this distinctive emirate which is considered the jewel of the United Arab Emirates and its hidden gem. There is also the Sharjah international book fair, this project convert Sharjah into the center of attraction of all Arab and other intellectuals, not to mention his unlimited support for universities and research, scientific and cultural centers in Sharjah and the Arab world.

His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi performed a significant role in supporting the Palestinian issue, supporting  the Palestinians artists and help brining some of the creative Palestinian works to light.

The Lebanese poet Mohammed Ali Shams Al Din said: His Highness is a man of culture and creativity.

This selection is a good one, as his highness the Ruler of Sharjah is not only a statesman but also a man of intellect, culture and creation. As known, he is a great creative in the theater. As a great poet, he has a beautiful poems. The thing that distinguishes the culture in Sharjah, which its economical, political and cultural renaissance is led by this big and distinctive intellectual, is the existing of such creative and intellectual figure on the top of Sharjah which was selected as the capital of the Arab and Islamic culture. In this emirate,  poem, theater, novels , architectural, literature activities  and most of the cultural and civilization art are always running without ceasing.

‘I got acquainted with His Highness closely, my relation with his was strengthened over ten days during the days of Poetry Festival in Sharjah. I found his character full of culture and gentleness, he is a man of very affable character that has a deep horizon. He holds in the folds of his ideas much of knowledge, science and cultural awareness. He has played an effective role in awakening the intellect and the culture in the emirate that he changed into a continuous cultural festival,  and pushed the country to moving more towards a beacon of science, knowledge and culture. Having such ruler is a good matter for the country and its people’ he said.

The selection of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, as the cultural personality of the year is an excellent choice and put points on the letters. How much we need a figure of this model to occupy positions in most of the Arab countries. If the head of state is an intellectual, creative , poet and a pioneer in the theater and thought, the country will be put on the path of civilization. Sultan is one of the major figures who are engaged in leading the midst of the pioneer march, which go along with civilization, and takes what contributes in the development of human and society, building the entity on the foundations which are elevated,  full awareness, protected by mind  that makes miracles.

The character of Sultan Al Qasimi is a character of a very special type. Whoever enters into the thoughts, writings and the works of this man will discover a treasure of creativity of a very quiet man who holds in consciousness a lot of hope accompanied by the wide culture.

The Kuwaiti novelist Taleb Al Refa'e said: His Highness is deserved to be honored every day.

Granting his highness Sheikh Dr, Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, the Member of the Supreme Council, the Ruler of Sharjah the title of the cultural personality of the year in the cultural creation festival ”Zahrat Al Mada'en” in its 8th edition is considered a coronation of his highness's various contributions to the renaissance of the Arab culture and his contiguous support to culture and intellectuals in the Arab and Islamic worlds. This matter comes in the center of the Arab culture events. His Highness the ruler of Sharjah was never far from the Arab culture or the Arab intellectuals at anytime, but he was always in the center of  the Arab cultural space. It is apparent that His Highness has focused his interest to serve the culture, he made Sharjah an Arab cultural emirate aptly. Hardly a month goes by without holding a festival in Sharjah for the theater, cinema, plastic art, heritage, calligraphy, other types of arts and culture'.

Once, he told me that every day he goes to his private library in his full official cloths. When I asked him about the reason, he replied ‘Oh Taleb, I am ashamed to sit in the presence of science, scientists, thinkers and creative persons while wearing ordinary clothes other than the official ones’.  

Such unique mentality, that respects the men of letters and the thinkers and dignifying them, returned the due consideration to the culture. So, this mentality should be honored around the year not in one occasion only. The prize is awarded to the correct person, because His Highness, the ruler of Sharjah is one of the leaders who devoted their life to the service of their nations and people and especially the intellectuals who receive all care and support from his highness. In addition, His Highness is one of the major playwrights in the Arab world, whose theatrical  works, that are derived from history, present a distinctive political, creative and art value.

We feel happiness of this award not only in Sharjah, or UAE, but in all the Gulf countries and Arab world. He knew very early the importance and value of culture in our life in eliminating the ignorance and superstitions and in looking forward to science, creativity and progress. So, he preferred to perform this task. He established libraries all over Sharjah and inside its official departments, established a mobile library for children, held religious and art festivals, received the intellectuals and artists, and he  converted Sharjah into  the capital of Arab and Islamic culture.

Quoted from “Conversation of the memory” .. the third part,

In a statement I made to the Emirates News Agency and Sharjah Satellite Channel after the ceremony of opening the big mosque in Granada and the cultural center, I said: I am pleased because I participated with the Spanish Muslims in the opening of this mosque, which was a dream for them that cannot be achieved for a period of time due to the lack of  money that is required to complete construction works.

I call upon the Arab and Islamic world to study joint aspects and issues with the east and west Nations, and make it a basis for starting toward building bridges for cultural communication and intellectual dialogue and exchange of experiences and cooperation for the good of mankind and humanity.

From “the Case” Drama

The Case owner: I have a case

The witness: Son, I am a witness

The Case owner: a Witness in the Court

The witness: No, I am witness for history

The Case owner: what is with you?

The Witness: the history

The Case owner: what is the benefit of it?

The witness: a great benefit.

The case owner: please tell me how can I get benefit of it?

Witness: People have not read it so they did not get benefit from it.. people have read it and cannot understand it and those also did not get benefit from it.. People have read and understand it and did not work according to it and those also did not get benefit from it, and people have read, understood and work according to it, those got benefit from history. What kind of these are you?

Case owner: I want to be from the last kind. I want to read, understand and work according to it, because I have a case.

Witness: then come to read it together.

From the novel “The Revolutionary Prince”

Prince Mehana was brokenhearted as he lost his only daughter which was newly born when her mother has forgotten her on the sand when a group of Prince Hassan’s men had attacked them in their way to Janawa. He was accused that he left her intentionally because he wanted a boy not a girl.

Prince Mehana had not given up after this loss, but he kept inviting people to home ruling as a region and arousing the feeling of gallantry of Arabism in them and the hatred of the foreigner’s rule either Turkish or Persian, and fighting the control of English and Dutch men on the trade of the region.

From the book “Years’ Harvest”

Thirty years of establishments and construction, inspection and selection and directing performance for Sharjah cultural project, which depends on the continuous cultural work, not only on theorizing which is also important.

A project in which generations will be brought up, cultured people will graduate from its institutions and projects, which will perform a real cultural and developed action. It is a national Arab open project.

Who shall read this book, will find that what is mentioned is only the distinct cultural activities only, which is based directly on the cultural action, along with the existence of hundreds of activities, including poetry, novels, stories, individual and collective exhibitions for graphic arts, for Arabs and foreigners, and Arabic and foreign plays, which complete Sharjah cultural project.

The cultural activities in Sharjah has developed through these thirty years, from three activities to one thousand and six hundred activities in a year.

May Allah bless what we have done, and may Allah will effect reconciliation on what we will do.

From “Words about theatre”

Theatre, the magical world, I recognized it passionately and emotionally since I was young when I was attracted to it through writing, acting and directing within the first academic stages. The beginning was spontaneous which I do not consider as more than a school activity which enriches mind and soul. I did not realize its real essence until I experienced writing, directing and acting a theatrical political work which enrages authority at that time. It confiscates all what was in the theatre and it is closed in front of my eyes. Upon watching the soldiers with their armor, the spirit of theatre deepens more in my soul, at that time I realized the power and greatness of theatre, especially in confronting those who cannot hear the other opinion. I became sure of the critical role that theatre can play or perform in the lives of nations.

From the novel “The white Sheikh”

Since the middle of 1812 until the end of 1813, Britain has continued to stalk the ships of Mr. Mohammed Bin Okeel in order to arrest him and send him to the British authorities in India for trial. That is why Mr. Mohammed Bin Okeel has stayed in Dhofar and has not leave it, as he also banned Abdullah from travel at this period.

Britain has stopped stalking Mr. Mohammed Bin Okeel in 1814, so he allows Abdullah to board on a ship called “Alsekaf” which was heading to Al Makha. When he reaches it, he saw an American ship anchored there. In the morning of one of those days, there comes the boat of the American ship heading towards the ship in which Abdullah is. The sailors force Abdullah to go down to the bottom of the ship as they kept him in one of the cabins.

Reference: Al Khaleej newspaper