Bodour Al Qasimi, President of the International Publishers Association (IPA), and Founder and President of the Kalimat Foundation (KF), reiterated the vital role of books in promoting intercultural understanding and the values of peace, love and justice in the world. She emphasized that now more than ever, communities need to forge a stronger bond with the world of books that will help uncover the common bonds of humanity, no matter how different we may feel from others in the world, and this will lead to the creation of an environment that enjoys more understanding, harmony, stability and prosperity.
This happened at an event organized by KF at the Romanioly Primary School in Bologna, Italy, on the sidelines of its participation in the recently concluded Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF) 2022, where Sharjah has was celebrated as guest of honour, in recognition of the emirate’s leading role in strengthening relations with diverse societies and cultures on a common human base.
Enabling children around the world better access to books and knowledge requires strategic collaboration, stressed Bodour Al Qasimi, noting that partnerships with entities in the humanitarian, cultural and educational sectors were essential for the implementation of initiatives targeting children, especially those who do not have access to schools and libraries. . She added that books are not only a source of learning and entertainment, but also tools that build children’s self-confidence and allow them to believe in their abilities to create a prosperous future.
As part of its “Pledge a Library” initiative, KF donated to the primary school a mobile library of 100 books including a selection of Arabic and Arabic-Italian titles, which was offered to students by the famous Italian book writer books Elisabetta Dami – creator of the Geronimo Stilton series of children’s books. The move aims to enrich the school library with new literary sources.
One of the activities organized at the school was a storytelling session during which Bodour Al Qasimi and Elisabetta Dami read the story Close to Home of the group Kalimat in Arabic and Italian to the young listeners.
The Foundation also highlighted its Pledge a Library initiative, which donated 2,000 Arabic and bilingual Arabic-Italian books of various genres and interests to 13 libraries. Of these, 11 libraries were donated in 2019 and two more in 2022 across Italy, targeting young Arab immigrants and refugees in the country.
Amna Al Mazmi, director of KF, noted that strengthening friendships with those suffering the trauma of displacement through the books was part of the nonprofit’s strategy to support young Arab refugees cut off from their homes. and their nation and to help them learn and appreciate their mother. language and culture while integrating into their host communities. She added that the Foundation’s efforts are aimed at building a generation whose achievements will benefit all of humanity.
The foundation’s pavilion at BCBF 2022 welcomed children’s book professionals, librarians and heads of educational, cultural and humanitarian entities to learn more about its mission, objectives and programs. Visitors took the opportunity to explore ways to contribute to the Foundation’s efforts to support children and young people who do not have access to schools and libraries in their countries, and emphasized that the protection of children and their education is the vision of a shared global goal.
Since its inception in 2016, KF has empowered 155,749 young readers in 25 countries across Asia, Africa, Europe and South America through a series of initiatives aimed at bringing together refugee children and young visitors. book libraries, in line with its vision to defend the rights of children in affected communities to access books and contribute to the formation of an educated and aware Arab generation.
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