Indonesian Ambassador Ridwan Hassan holding the book Mutiara Inspirasi dari Qatar.PICS: SALIM MATRAMKOT/THE PENINSULA
Participating embassies showcase their countries’ rich history, culture, tourism and even culinary traditions at this year’s Doha International Book Fair, which kicked off at the Doha Exhibition Convention Center yesterday.
Among them are the embassies of Palestine, Russia, Italy, France, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, Syria and South Korea. In addition, the United States Embassy participates as a guest of honor at the book fair.
Speaking to The Peninsula, Indonesian Ambassador HE Ridwan Hassan said the book fair is an important event, especially in the digital age.
“In the digital age, many people use digital platforms to read books and get information, but there is still a meaning to reading a book physically, where the chemistry, the nuance is different,” he said. he declares. This is the first time for the Indonesian Embassy to participate in the fair.
“The book is the window of information from one place to another, because each society in the world, respectively, has its own culture, way of thinking, history and history, but when we write down our experiences, we can easily exchange information.. With this, we will have a better understanding, we can have peace and solidarity,” he added.
The Embassy stand has a collection of 200 books from 30 publishers, ranging from children’s fiction to non-fiction. Among the books featured are The Land of Five Towers by A. Fuadi and Mutiara Inspirasi dari Qatar (The pearl of Qatar’s inspiration).
South Korean Ambassador HE Joon-ho Lee said he was delighted to be part of the book fair. He explained that his country’s booth offers interactive and traditional games, as well as books on Korean culture, food, tourism and children’s books available in Korean, English and even Arabic. HE Lee was referring to the “Ddak-ji” games which are among the games played in the famous Korean series Squid Game. And “Tu ho”, where you throw arrows into a pot, is most often played on a lawn.
The South Korean stand showcases over 150 books ranging from magazines and books. There’s even a fall edition “Koreana” where hit group BTS is on the cover.
The Russian Embassy, meanwhile, features a collection of their classic authors, including Alexander Pushkin, Ivan Turgenev, Lev Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. According to the Third Secretary of the Russian Embassy, Vera Pavlova, they offer children’s books as well as classic books. A standout book they have is the mini version of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” trilogy written in Arabic. The United States represents a different stand with a futuristic design.
Chargé d’Affaires of the United States Embassy, HE Natalie A. Baker said that they are following the theme of the fair “Knowledge is Light”. She said: “We are focused on promoting education, literacy and space exploration. All these themes are brought together here in this stand. On the outside you will notice that there are solar panels, that is to promote sustainability and demonstrate our commitment to combat climate change, likewise we want to promote intercultural education and awareness at our stand.
“Additionally, she said they also have a theme on women’s empowerment as part of the stand; around 7,000 books from 750 publishers are on display. “It brings all aspects of literature to Doha from the society many of these titles are not normally available internationally, this is a great opportunity for those who come to the book fair to have the widest variety of American Literature options to purchase and enjoy,” said she declared.
“Space exploration is an important part of American history, and we continue to promote this particularly commercial space exploration now, so that’s a theme we’re trying to promote this year. As part of the Year of Culture, we also have science as a main theme, we have a representative from NASA to come and speak as part of this exchange, HE Baker added.
As the 2021 Qatar-U.S. Year of Culture concludes, and as Qatar and the United States celebrate 50 years of bilateral relations, the U.S. Embassy is participating as a guest of honor to said fair.
The 31st Doha International Book Fair will run until January 22, it is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day except Friday when it will open from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Pre-registration is required to participate in the fair through their website 31.dohabookfair.qa