Inauguration of the Alexandrina International Book Fair

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Alexandria— Dr. Ismail Serageldin, Director of the Library of Alexandria, Ms. Khalida Toumi, Algerian Minister of Culture, Dr. Yousry El Gamal, Egyptian Minister of Education, General Adel Labib, Governor of Alexandria, Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Twaijri, Director General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), Dr. Mohamed Abdel Latif, Head of the Union of Arab Publishers, and Dr. Hassan Nadir, President of Alexandria University, inaugurated the Sixth Alexandrina International Book Fair on Thursday, 21 February 2008.

On the inauguration, Dr. Mohamed Abdel Latif stated that selecting Algeria to be the guest of honor of this year's Book Fair is a good gesture on this part of the BA, and hoped that other initiatives would follow.

Dr. Ismail Serageldin pointed out that this year’s Fair moved to a new phase, increasing the number of participants to 16 countries in addition to over 80 publishing houses, and Algeria being the guest of honor.

In his speech, Dr. Serageldin thanked all those who contributed to the Book Fair, including the Union of Egyptian Publishers headed by Engineer Ibrahim El- Moallem, the Union of Arab Publishers headed by Dr. Mohamed Abdel Latif, the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, and Egyptian Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni.

Ms. Khalida Toumi expressed her deep appreciation for choosing Algeria as a guest of honor for this year’s Book Fair and extended her gratitude to the President, Government and people of Egypt and to the great Library of Alexandria, describing it as the warmest oasis of culture in the world.

Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Twaijri mentioned that ISESCO was honored to select Alexandria as the capital of Islamic culture in 2008. The history of the city and the inventions of Alexandrians in the course of human civilization gives it great importance and weight, adding that it must always be the gate of the Muslim World.

On the other hand, Dr. Khaled Azab, Director of the BA Media Department stated that Dr. Serageldin decided to donate annually a collection of books to schools in Alexandria, on the occasion of the Book Fair, to encourage young people to read and raise their cultural awareness.

Dr. Yousry El Gamal welcomed that initiative, which he described as not new to the Library of Alexandria, which is hailed as a beacon of culture. This was affirmed by General Adel Labib, who thanked the Library for its continuous efforts to serve Alexandria.

Following the inauguration, Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Twaijri, delivered a lecture entitled: "From Dialogue among Cultures to Alliance of Civilizations: Future Vision".

At the beginning of the lecture, he emphasized that Egypt is the land of dialogue of cultures, and expressed his appreciation to President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, patron of culture in Egypt, for his support of ISESCO, and the dialogue of cultures. He also expressed his special appreciation for Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Library Alexandria, for her contributions to peace in the world.

Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Twaijri also stressed that the idea of dialogue started from the Islamic world; Mohammad Khatami, Former Iranian President, was the first to call for dialogue among civilizations through the United Nations. He added that all religions call for a peaceful coexistence between people. He condemned the unjust linkage between Islam and terrorism, pointing out that many non-Muslims were involved in terrorist operations.

In this context, Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Twaijri expressed his regret for republishing of caricatures that are offensive to the beliefs and sanctities of Muslims in several Danish newspapers. He added that dialogue and understanding have not succeeded in surpassing the Danish cartoons, with evidence of republishing in 17 newspapers on the same day.

Al-Twaijri stated that the Palestinian cause is the basis of many of the problems between the Islamic World and the West, and its solution will take only a flash light, as everyone recognizes the Palestinian right, especially in the presence of UN- supported international resolutions.

In conclusion, Dr. Ismail Serageldin and Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Twaijri, signed a cooperation agreement between the two sides. Dr. Twaijri announced that the Library of Alexandria will be the depository library for all ISESCO publications, in recognition of its leading cultural role in the world.


© Bibliotheca Alexandrina