In celebration of 10 successful years of “Kitab Fi Jarida”, one of the largest Arabic cultural projects embraced by UNESCO, and coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the founding UNESCO, a large cultural ceremony and conference took place at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris under the auspices of Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura, General Manager to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and H.E. Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber, special envoy to the General Manager of UNESCO for Education, Tolerance, Peace and Democracy, and sponsor of “Kitab Fi Jarida”. The ceremony was attended by many Arab culture ministers, writers and thinkers, editors-in-chief from prominent newspapers in Arab capitals, and members of the Arab diplomatic corps at UNESCO and in France, as well as by a great number of cultural personalities and journalists.
The ceremony was presented by the writer and poet Shawki Abdel Amir, Deputy Permanent Representative to Iraq at UNESCO and initiator of “Kitab Fi Jarida”, who praised the important role of UNESCO and the full support of H.E. Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber in embracing this initiative, explaining that the objective is to work hand in hand with UNESCO in the Arab region in order to confront the risks and challenges that threaten the fate of generations during this critical time in history.
In his speech, Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura elaborated on the importance of “Kitab Fi Jarida” in reviving Arabic cultural life by spreading knowledge and insisting on freedom of speech. Matsuura stated that since its inception “Kitab Fi Jarida” found immediate interest at UNESCO, and he praised the initiative of H.E. Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber in reviving the project that will reinforce the cultural collaboration between UNESCO and the Arab world.
For his part, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber greeted everyone and thanked the General Manager of UNESCO, the Ministers, the Ambassadors, Editors-In-Chief and “Kitab Fi Jarida” executive committee for their presence and support, and pointed out the importance of building a comprehensive collaboration with UNESCO in the fields of education, culture and heritage and especially with “Kitab Fi Jarida” and “ARABIA”, the Arabic cultural development plan. Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber announced during the ceremony his commitment to allocate 1 million USD to be put in a FUND-IN-TRUST to finance programs that would be decided during the course of this conference. Al Jaber concluded his speech by proposing to increase the number of publications of “Kitab Fi Jarida” and encouraged all Arabic-language newspapers not already members of the project to participate in order to increase the publication to more then 10 million copies per month.
During the ceremony, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber, along with the General Manager of UNESCO offered four prizes to winners in the following categories: Childhood Prize to artist Mohie El Din Allabbad from Egypt, Woman’s Prize to Mrs. Rajaa Alem from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sustainable Development Prize to Dr. Mehdi Al Hafez from Iraq, and the Intellectual Studies and Research Prize to Dr. Mohamed Abed Al Jabiri from Morocco. Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber has decided to award these prizes annually.
Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber offered a trophy symbolizing the “acquisition of culture” to the General Manager of UNESCO, and in turn received a golden medal from the latter that commemorates UNESCO’s 60th anniversary.
During the ceremony, H.E. Yehia Al Khalaf, the Culture Minister of Palestine, stated that “Kitab Fi Jarida” reached each and every home in Palestine even though the situation in the country does not permit freedom of speech, and he hoped that the distribution would increase even more in the future.
The Yemeni Minister of Cultural, Khaled al Rouaichan, said that more than a million Yemenis are benefiting from “Kitab Fi Jarida”, and he saluted Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber on their behalf.
The Media Advisor to the ruler of Bahrain, Mr. Nabil Yacoub Al Hamar, hailed all the efforts made to make “Kitab Fi Jarida” a success.
In his comments, the Iraqi Secretary of State for Culture, Mr. Jaber Al Jabiri, praised “Kitab Fi Jarida”, stating that it has entered all homes and every street and has contributed a lot to people’s enlightenment in Iraq.
The president of the Arab group and permanent Iraq representative at UNESCO, Ambassador Mohiye Kazem Al Khatib, saluted all the initiatives that Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber is undertaking at UNESCO for the benefit of the Arab world.
The president of the Arab Cultural Development Plan “ARABIA” and the Kuwait permanent representative at UNESCO, Ambassador Abed Al Razzak Al Nafissy, emphasized the importance of collaboration between “ARABIA” and “Kitab Fi Jarida” in promoting culture and education.
The president of the High Council for Culture in Egypt and the representative of the Consultative Committee of “Kitab Fi Jarida”, Dr. Jaber Asfour, talked about the history of the project since its inception and how it grew to become what it is today, stating that the Arab population is expecting even more out of this project in future issues.
In conclusion, Mr. Naji Al Raawi, Chief Editor of Al Thawra Newspaper in Yemen and the representative of the Editors-in-Chief board of all partnering newspapers, spoke of the benefits that Arab newspapers and readers gain from “Kitab Fi Jarida”, while urging a continued prosperous partnership in the future.
“Kitab Fi Jarida” has published approximately 90 issues since its inception, each full of magnificent creativity in modern and ancient Arab literature and in collaboration with the most important Arab newspaper partners. This project has brought to all its readers approximately 150 million books during this whole period, laying the foundation for an unprecedented tradition of interaction between those who produce and those who consume culture.
“Kitab Fi Jarida” is the cornerstone of the cultural edifice being built today, far from any political or religious influences, and dedicated to building bridges between various countries in the Arab world, all this under the auspices of UNESCO, represented by its General Manager Koïchiro Matsuura and the MBI Foundation represented by H.E. Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber.
KITAB FI JARIDA, The new start/MBI Foundation
19/9/2003: M. Koïchiro Matsuura, General Manager to the UNESCO and Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber have signed an important protocol to support culture and education in the Arab world and according to which the MBI Foundation is committed to support the UNESCO cultural and educational projects in the Arab region and to sponsor fully Kitab Fi Jarida since it is considered as an independent cultural organization working outside UNESCO offices but under its cultural patronage.
12/12/2003: Upon an invitation from Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber, the first conference for the new start of Kitab Fi Jarida took place in Beirut under the patronage of the Lebanese Minister of Culture at that time, M. Ghazi Aridi and was attended by a distinguished group of writers, journalists, UNESCO representatives and Arab diplomats.
9/16/2004: The Executive Assembly of the UNESCO has approved, in its session number 170, to consider both Kitab Fi Jarida and ARABIA program (the development of the Arab culture abroad) as complementary projects to UNESCO in the Arab region.
19-22/11/2004: The second conference for the new start of Kitab Fi Jarida along with a symposium on “Publication and Censorship in the Arab world” took place under the auspices of the Egyptian Minister of Culture, M. Farouk Husni and Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber and was attended by a large number of the Consultative Committee members as well as editors-in-chief of Arab newspapers.
14/11/2005: The start of the 3rd conference on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the creation of Kitab Fi Jarida amid the ceremonies planned for the celebration of the sixtieth anniversary for the foundation of UNESCO, under the patronage of both M. Koïchiro Matsuura and Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber.