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'Visions of the Future'

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Ambitious Program focusing on Dialogue and Cultural Diversity
Details unveiled in Leipzig 26 March, 2004.
'Visions of the Future' are being promised by the Arab Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2004. 

“Indeed, the Arab World won’t present itself as a world belonging to the past, whose pulse has ceased to beat “, said Mongi Bousnina, Director General of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (ALECSO). The Arab World, as well, is experiencing the pressure of global changes without abandoning what connects it with its historic roots. He highlighted the vitality of contemporary Arab culture and its “longing to embrace the world“.

The Arab World will be the Guest of Honour at Frankfurt Book Fair 2004. On March 26, 2004, the multifacetal Arab Participation Program was presented at Leipzig Book Fair. “We are seeking to enhance intercultural dialogue,” underlined Mohamed Ghoneim, the Executive Director of the Arab Participation Program. “Arab culture”, said Mr. Ghoneim, “has consistently shown itself to be open to other cultures”, and he considered credibility, trust and creative cooperation as being the cornerstones of future policy.

More than 150 publishers and many well-known authors, artists and scientists, among them the Palestinian author Mahmoud Darwish, the Syrian poet Adonis, the Egyptian poet Ahmed Abdel-Moety Higazy, the Moroccan writer Tahar Ben Jelloun, the Lebanese author Amin Maalouf, and the Algerian author Assia Djebar, Winner of the 2000 Peace Prize, will invite the Book Fair visitors to discover the cultural wealth and infinite variety of the Arab world.

Promoting translations to combat preconceived notions

The “Society for the Promotion of Literature from Africa, Asia and Latin America “announced that 36 new translations of works from Arabic into German will appear in autumn this year. Hitherto, laments Ibrahim El-Moallem, President of the Arab Publishers Union, that Arab literature has played only a minor role in European book markets. The majority of the works currently being translated, he noted, are those which serve to confirm existing misconceptions of the Arab world. El-Moallem expressed his committment to the task of promoting the translation into Arabic of a greater number of contemporary works in the field of literature and humanities.

Visions of the Future
With many exhibitions, a film festival, symposia and readings, the program will be an opportunity for holding a constructive dialogue with “the Other” and a chance to stimulate critical reflection and enquiry. Volker Neumann, Director of Frankfurt Book Fair, said: “In this direct encounter with the Arab-Islamic world, we should make an effort to cast aside common clichés and prejudices and work on discovering a rich and varied literary Arab World. The main target of both the Arab countries and Germany in presenting the Arab World as the Guest of Honour at Frankfurt Book Fair 2004, is to pave the way for holding constructive cultural and political dialogue, as well as promoting literary exchange.

Women in the Arab World
The role of women in the Arab world will be a further subject of readings and discussions. Acclaimed Arab women authors and intellectuals will present their creative cultural literary and intellectual works. They will also speak about their role, as Arab citizens, in building their societies.


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