The “Qatar Youth Hostels” has concluded its annual trip under the “Discover the World” program. The chosen destination this year was Andalusia to discover this civilization on a week-long trip.
This trip falls within the framework of the vision of the “Qatar Youth Hostels” to encourage young people to discover the world, and to have a high level of awareness and the ability to interact positively with all civilizations.
Participants were able to visit the major cultural monuments in Andalusia, most notably the city of Toledo, the mosque of Cordoba, the city of Zahra, the house of Mansour bin Abi Amer and the Andalusian house. They were also able to visit the city of Ronda, Granada, the Albacin distric, the Alhambra and Madrid. They also attended the intellectual program presented by Dr. Jassim Sultan, director of Al-Wijdan Civilization Centre, in which he gave a detailed explanation of the various monuments and areas visited during the trip program.
The “Qatari Youth Hostels” stated that this trip enabled the participants to familiarize themselves with the history and civilization of Al-Andalus and its close relationship with Islamic history in various fields, the most important of which are the humanities, music, literature, poetry, arts in general and architecture in particular, in addition to philosophy and religious sciences of all kinds. This is in addition to the civilization development, which was represented in providing all the facilities that urban dwellers needed at that time.
It is noteworthy that the “Qatari Youth Hostels” organize specific trips to various countries out of its belief that one of the most important goals of the Youth Hostel Movement is to enable young people to discover the world and learn about the cultures, customs and traditions of other peoples and to introduce their customs, traditions and cultures to them.
The Qatari Forum for Authors organized a symposium titled “The Role of Book Fairs in Promoting the Cultural Movement” with the participation of a number of intellectuals, Qatari publishers and interested officials, in the context of preparing to participate in the Doha International Book Fair in its thirtieth edition, which will be held 9 -18 January, 2020.
During the seminar, moderated by the critic and researcher Kaltham Abdul Rahman, Bashar Shabaro, Executive Director of the Hamad Bin Khalifa University for Publishing and Secretary-General of the Arab Publishers Union related his experience in the field of publishing and his participation in various book fairs around the world for 34 years, considering that the number of publications does not match the population of the Arab world. He further pointed out that book fairs in Arab countries play a different role from the main role of fairs, which is building relationships with literary rights agents and all actors in the cultural field.
He touched on the many difficulties facing publishers in marketing and selling books in fairs, including travelling for long distances between fairs and the accompanying exorbitant costs on the publisher that sometimes compels him to sell the book at a price that is much less than its original value. He further indicated that the sale process does not evolve in its natural path a matter which disrupts the system, as the distribution is supposed to be through distributors, “libraries”, not publishers, which is harmful to both parties. He explained the interest of major fairs in cultural activities, citing an example of this at the Frankfurt International Fair in its last year edition that organized more than 900 cultural activities, which enhances interest in cultural activities in our Arab fairs, calling for more attention to cultural activities in fairs. He pointed out that this version edition of the fair will witness the launch of the Doha Fellowship Program for Publishers, which will host more than 40 Arab and foreign publishers within the framework of the exchange of cultural and literary rights, and it is expected to organize more than 400 cultural activities on the side-lines of the fair in its thirtieth edition.
For his part, the writer Radi Al-Hajri, CEO of Zakrit House said: Most of the fairs in the world have become similar and typical, because in most cases the same people move from one fair to another carrying their boxes full of books. It is necessary then to focus on cultural activities inside the fairs to achieve the desired benefit for its visitors, considering that the market economies overwhelmed the cultural content because the publisher is forced to involve himself in the negotiations and offer discounts for the sale of books.
He said: The cultural identity of the fair should be linked to cultural activities and not only to commercial operations, because what distinguishes some fairs from others is its unique identity that derives its character from its main activity. While some exhibits focus on cultural activities, other exhibits focus on signing of new publications, and there are other fairs that focus on the cultural content.
Aisha Al-Kuwari, CEO of the Rosa Publishing House, agreed with the speakers, saying that book fairs always top the list of cultural activities and have become cultural platforms that the public wait for to reorient the compass toward reading and writing, which makes the exhibitors adopt different missions and new directions in each edition. This year’s Doha fair is a case in point since it has the slogan “Do not you reflect?!” and it is a slogan that carries in its meaning motivation to reading, in addition to cognitive values.… She further pointed out to the economic returns of fairs, stressing also that building cultural relations and encouraging for reading as a lifestyle, not merely a seasonal activity, remain the basis for organizing book fairs.