Launching of the Alexandria International Book Fair with the Participation of 100 Publishing Houses
Alexandria—The activities of the Seventh Edition of the Alexandria International Book Fair was launched on Thursday, 19 February 2009, and will last until 4 March 2009. Dr. Khaled Azab, Director of the BA Media Department, announced the launch of the Fair cultural activities. General Adel Labib, Governor of Alexandria, highly applauded the Fair, a great cultural contribution to the city of Alexandria. He also underlined the role of the Library of Alexandria as a great cultural institution for both Egypt and the whole world; it attracts cultural tourism and increases investments in Alexandria.
In his speech, Dr. Ismail Serageldin, Director of the Library of Alexandria, expressed his delight in the increasing participation of great intellectuals in the Fair and added that Alexandria International Book Fair indeed highlights the cultural and enlightening role played by the BA on the local, regional and international levels. He added that the Fair is increasingly welcomed among publishers whether Egyptians, Arabs or foreigners; this year’s edition features the participation of 100 publishing houses.
Dr. Serageldin maintained that a cultural program will be also held on the fringe lines of the Fair, in cooperation with the National Center for Translation, discussing pressing and contemporary issues with eminent speakers from Egypt, Palestine and Syria. Serageldin invited the audience to participate in the Fair cultural activities and pointed out that a special pavilion is set up for Jerusalem, the 2009 Capital of Arab Culture.
He also announced the launching of the largest Arabic digital library. The BA has uploaded an archive on the Internet including more than 100 thousand Arabic books encompassing different fields of knowledge on the link http://dar.bibalex.org/
Dr. Serageldin also spoke of the Big Read: Egypt/US Project, a cultural initiative aiming at introducing American literature to Egyptian readers and vice versa. The Big Read Project is also participating in the activities of the Fair.
Serageldin also announced the launch of Bab El-Bahr Project, a cultural center opening in the summer of 2009 presenting the activities of a group of young intellectuals.
Dr. Gaber Asfour, Director of the National Center for Translation, praised the success of the Director of the Library of Alexandria in rendering the BA a window of Arab culture on the world and a window of the world on the Arab culture and stated that the Fair has added a third dimension for the BA mission to became a window of Arab nations on one another.
Abdel Qader Shoheib, Head of Dar Elhelal Board of Directors, gave a speech on the occasion of digitizing the issues of Elhelal Magazine, over the last 115 years, and copying them to CDs. He also commended the major events held lately at the BA, such as the launch of the Sadat Museum and Digital Archive and the opening of the Alexandria International Book Fair.
The opening of the Fair was attended by the Consul of Saudi Arabia in Alexandria and a number of diplomats, intellectuals and Media specialists from all over the Arab world.