In the presence of HE the Minister of Culture Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Hamad bin Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani, the Ministry of Culture - represented by the Qatari Forum for Authors - Saturday organised the fifth edition of the annual forum for authors under the slogan 'Through Thought We Thrive'.
The forum discussed ways to protect and support authors to deal with the challenges facing the authorship and publishing movement. The ministry seeks to announce a new stage for authorship in Qatar, based on the ideas and discussions that were presented during the forum sessions.
HE Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Hamad bin Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani and other dignitaries at the forum Saturday. Supplied picture
The forum came up with many recommendations, including monitoring ideas and proposals to encourage authors to participate in the cultural movement through agencies and institutions, especially civil society organisations; creating an effective society in light of the presence of many cultural institutions in the country; raising the author’s awareness of copyright and related rights; calling for more initiatives in the areas of writing and authorship; supporting the Arabic language; having a collective direction to discuss ways to protect copyright; and allocating certain days for resident communities to introduce and display their books and give them a greater opportunity to showcase their culture.
<< Maryam Yassin al-Hammadi
Maryam Yassin al-Hammadi, director of the Department of Culture and Arts at the Ministry of Culture and director-general of the Qatari Forum for Authors, said: “We are proud that the annual forum for authors is held with the efforts of its members, that of the Qatari Publishers and Distributors Forum, together with actors in the fields of culture and authorship in particular, in order to achieve a more sober literary production and cultural and creative literary works in Qatar.”
Regarding the initiatives that the forum is preparing to present during the coming period, she said: “The forum aims primarily to sponsor initiatives, as we rely mainly on the support of creative and thinking minds, for they are the only ones capable of creating a cultural movement.”
She explained that there are some ongoing initiatives such as 'A writer and a book', literary criticism sessions and programmes related to discovering and nurturing talents.
Al-Hammadi added, “We put the resources allocated by the Ministry of Culture for the forum at the service of authors, by providing halls to incubate various initiatives, whether affiliated with the ministry or other cultural institutions such as Al-Sulaiti House, as part of our endeavours to invest in the cultural infrastructure in Qatar. This is in addition to supporting authors through media coverage on social media platforms, as these are the tools that an author needs to be an effective member of society.”
The forum’s activities started with a session titled 'Qatari Forum for Authors: From Establishment to Implementation'. It reviewed the decision to establish the Qatari Forum for Authors and the adoption of its founding law and its decrees, covering the most important achievements of the forum to date and highlighting the forum's presentations during the Covid-19 pandemic through programmes and initiatives held online.
Dr Mohamed Hussain al-Anzi, a consultant and certified lecturer, spoke about an author's impact on society and the individual, and his/her ability to provide solutions to problems facing society.
Naji Abd Rabbo al-Aji, director of the Private Associations and Institutions Department at the Ministry of Social Development and Family, stressed the importance of civil society organisations in complementing the government sector. Al-Aji referred to Law No. 21 of 2020 regarding private associations and institutions, which included provisions, decrees aimed at developing and regulating the work of private associations and institutions.
Dr Buthaina al-Ansari, director of Women's Programmes at the forum, spoke about providing the right to culture for all and empowering women in the cultural sector "in line with our religious and national identity". She stressed the importance of having cultural platforms through which women can spread the values and customs of society, expressing hope that women will be given the opportunity to take up positions in local newspapers.
For his part, legal researcher Abdullah al-Marri discussed the legal and legislative framework for the establishment and activities of the forum.
Writer Hamad al-Tamimi, director of youth programmes at the Qatari Forum for Authors, reviewed the strategic projects of the forum, most notably the talent discovery and sponsorship project.
Dr Ahmed al-Janabi, superviser of the 'Merqat (Arabic for scaling ladder) Qatar' initiative, spoke about the forum's efforts in promoting the Arabic language.
In turn, writer and artist Lina al-Ali spoke about the importance of children's literature in promoting creativity and instilling values, stressing the importance of childcare in issues related to national identity, as the child is the main pillar of building society. She underlined the need to enrich the arena with works related to children, to encourage and spread the culture of reading, and supply the Qatari library with a solid literary heritage.
Dr Ahmed al-Janabi highlighted the 'Merqat (Arabic for scaling ladder) Qatar' initiative, which presented 32 sessions, including seven online sessions. They aimed to promote the skills of an author - from writing to speaking - through a contemporary discourse, but at the same time drawn from the Arabic cultural heritage. He stressed that 'Merqat Qatar' is the first initiative of its kind at the Arab level, which provides a platform for the public to develop their oratory skills.
The forum’s work continued through the 'Qatari Forum, Reality and Hope…Forward-looking' session to shed light on the forum’s efforts in strengthening the translation movement, and ways to support the authorship and publishing movement, to meet the challenges that aim to damage religious and moral values.
Research writer Samira Obeid reviewed the role of translation in promoting cultural communication, by highlighting the efforts of the Translation Department at the Ministry of Culture. She said it played an important role in powering the translation movement in the Arab region through the publications and events it presents and supervises.
Journalist and economist Dr Abdul Rahim al-Hour spoke about digital transformation and its role in spreading culture, stressing the need to move at the international, regional and local levels to control and watch global media content in a way that does not contradict the freedom of the press.
Journalist Khawla Mortazawi spoke about strengthening the national, Arab and Islamic identity in the face of Westernisation, highlighting the importance of enhancing institutions' efforts to "strengthen our identity in the face of organised efforts that aim to strike everything that is a real Islamic heritage".
Dr Aisha Jassim al-Kuwari, founder and director of Rosa Publishing and Distribution, noted the house's keenness to support young authors and adopt the publication of books in various fields of knowledge. She explained that the house has issued, since its inception in 2017, 82 Qatari authors’ works. She also stressed the importance of the forum in order to achieve all the dreams and visions of authors to enrich their culture.
Riad Ahmed Yassin, director of the Qatari Publishers and Distributors Forum, spoke about a proposal launched by the forum, which aims to prepare a strategy and vision with the support of the Ministry of Culture to develop innovative solutions to the challenges facing the authorship and publishing movement.
The participants underlined the importance of benefiting from scientific studies that show reading indicators in Qatar to promote reading in society in co-operation with schools and universities. Also highlighted was the importance of using modern technologies in this field and activating the role of private libraries in marketing, as well as increasing the presence of books in various places, including hotels and cafes, to be a part of the general culture in the country.
The need to offer more prizes to enhance creativity and literary production, employ the energies of youth and work to support youth talent through more initiatives, and highlight their efforts and creativity to raise the level of their creativity, was also stressed.