Abu Dhabi Is a Cultural Leader at the Forefront of the Regional Landscape, Says Nusseibeh
Abu Dhabi, 5 January 2014 – In the current edition of its literary Majlis, Paris – Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi explored the importance and role of literature in elevating societies. The monthly cultural event also touched on Emirati literature and the literary renaissance currently witnessed in Abu Dhabi. The evening was inaugurated by HE Zaki Nusseibeh, cultural advisor at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, and moderated by Mr. Vital Rambaud, head of the Sorbonne Abu Dhabi French Studies Department.
The Literary Majlis brought together the cream of Emirati and international literati and intellectuals in addition to dozens of university students who lauded the prime attention given by the government to literature and writers. Indeed, the leadership ensures an environment conductive to creativity and cultural production and public institutions encourage, support, and sponsor literary and cultural forums toward promoting and advancing Emirati literature.
HE Zaki Nusseibeh observed that Abu Dhabi has become a prominent cultural hub on a par with the Emirati capital’s global economic renown. He noted that the cultural renaissance attained by Abu Dhabi is testimony to the UAE government’s dedication to culture and knowledge and its leading role in all manner of cultural pursuits, whether publishing and the book industry, the patronage of Emirati and Arab talent, and openness unto other communities from different cultural backgrounds, in a globalized age rife with challenges.
“Over the past few years, Abu Dhabi has nurtured numerous leading cultural projects, including major art fairs, film and poetry festivals, literary awards, and many more cultural and heritage events. These events have put the emirate of Abu Dhabi and the UAE on the world cultural map, turning the Emirati capital into a connecting bridge between civilizations and a mediator of intercultural dialogue. Abu Dhabi has become a cultural leader in the region as a result of fostering global and local projects that add value to the international and regional art landscape,” he said.
Mr. Nusseibeh underscored the fact that culture is founded on good morals and that society cannot prosper without the promotion of cultural values and the creation of a well-rounded cultural sphere. Cultural pursuits must be encouraged in order to build creative intellectual curiosity and elevate, develop, and fulfill the ambitions of young generations.
Prof. Dr. Eric Fouache, Sorbonne Abu Dhabi Vice-Chancellor, affirmed that Sorbonne Abu Dhabi’s literary majlis is determined to host literati and intellectuals whose work promotes meaningful dialogue. Prof. Fouache noted that the literary salon attempts to engage various segments of the community with varying intellectual affinities and to introduce the voices of thinkers and enthusiasts from different backgrounds in order to enrich the conversation.
Mr. Vital Rambaud, head of the Sorbonne Abu Dhabi French Studies Department, said that the most highly advanced human communities are those in which literature is a source of enlightenment and a beacon, and in which action is compatible with words and the imagination is in harmony with reality. A society prospers when contrast is acknowledged and disparities are narrowed to produce moderation. Through the literary studies, people develop their ability to think, analysis and communicate. These are necessary tool in all the tertiary sector.
Mr. Rambaud noted that Emirati literature, across its creative expanse, is today a fertile ground for study by critics and writers themselves. It has become a topic of keen interest in cultural conventions and conferences. There is a connection between Emirati narration and economic and cultural transformations, by way of social activity in all areas; it investigates important issues given that the Emirati creative spirit grew out of a tolerant human perspective.
Emirati literature in terms of form, he said, has mostly focused on stories and is lately trending toward the novel, where Emirati novels have made a niche for themselves as a literary genre on the creative scene with brilliant displays of imagination and probing insight.
Ameen, a student attending the event said that the dynamics between Western and Eastern literature are off kilter, but the opposite is called for. The Arab literary experience, in addition to its quality production, offers some of the oldest writings of all the languages of the world. Arabic poetry divans cannot be compared to any other form of poetry, whether written in French or in English. Therefore, Arabic literature should be, in the least, worthy of and add value to its history and unique experience.
Students participating in the salon affirmed that literature, throughout the ages, has been a major means of expression for the cultures of the world and a way to document the events and eras they witness, whether in times of war or prosperity. Literature is an accurate reflection of a community’s way of life and its traditions at any given period.