SHARJAH, 25th September 2018 (WAM) – H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has confirmed that the Africa Hall is an incubator of culture as it witnessed the first largest cultural project at the level of the Arab World- Sharjah Cultural Project, which started in 1978.
H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan made the remarks Tuesday, during the inauguration of the new Africa Hall in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Salem bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, at the headquarters of the Hall in Al Manakh area at Government Roundabout in Sharjah.
“Throughout these years, Africa Hall has been the warm host of most activities, where there was no other,” His Highness said, pointing out the emirate’s cultural development. “Today, there are about 16 halls in various places in the emirate”, His Highness added.
Welcoming the guests at the new Africa Hall which incubated Arabic culture be it Emirati, Arabic or African, His Highness reminisced the date of the hall’s first opening – December 14, 1978- marking the convening of Arabic-African relations seminar.
‘Unable to open the aspired African Studies Institute, I hastened to the University of Khartoum, where the Institute of African Studies had a lot of potential, and there, on Tuesday, February 1987, I built Sharjah Hall which is similar to Africa Hall,” His Highness reminisced.
His Highness noted that the choice of Tuesday as the day of opening of the Africa Hall and the Sharjah Hall at the University of Khartoum was because Tuesday middles the week and can be masculine and feminine according to grammarians, alluding to gender equality in using the halls.
Highlighting the importance of the African continent, His Highness said that Africa is the origin of humankind where God created human beings, and from Africa they spread in various countries of the world, though colonialist look negatively at this continent.
His Highness concluded his speech thanking Sheikha Hoor bint Sultan Al Qasimi and the work team for their efforts in reviving the Africa Hall, wishing them good luck and fortitude.
In her speech at the opening ceremony, Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, President of The Africa Institute highlighted the Africa Hall’s important contribution to the cultural movement in Sharjah, praising His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah who made the Sharjah Cultural Project the first compass to which all eyes are directed and the cornerstone from which Sharjah colossal cultural edifice erected.
Sheikha Hoor added that Africa Hall is the first platform where the present cultural and artistic events and initiatives matured and where many theatre performances, poetry evenings were enjoyed; and where the most important cultural figures of Arab poets, intellectuals began their journey of creativity. She thanked His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah for his unfailing efforts in supporting the cultural movement across the world.
Then, His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and the audience attended a lecture titled “The Arab-African Relations Conference of 1976 in Sharjah, UAE and the Future Prospects” delivered by Dr. Mansour Khalid, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Sudan.
During his lecture, Dr. Mansour recalled the history of 1976 and the period of political and economic conditions, that affected the Arab world and the African countries.
Dr. Mansour stressed the importance of the stance and initiative of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah on the consolidation of Arab-African relations and broadening the horizons of cooperation to include cultural fields. The first was holding of the Arab-African Relations Seminar in the Africa Hall, and the accompanying programmes, conferences and symposia that left their mark in the Arab- African movement.
During the opening ceremony, His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah witnessed the performance of the renowned Tunisian composer and musician Ziad Zouari and a musical piece by the Grammy Award-winning Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour, accompanied by “Sharqiyyat” orchestra led by fellow Grammy Award-winning Egyptian musician Fathi Salama.
The inauguration of the new Africa Hall is part of the programmes prepared by the Africa Institute to support and enrich the cultural movement in the region, and to introduce the African continent through studies, researches and documentation of Africa; its people and its cultures; its complex past, present, and future; and its manifold connections with the world.
The opening ceremony was attended by Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Thani, Advisor to the Ruler’s Office; Sheikh Essam bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Advisor at the Sharjah Ruler’s Office; Sheikh Khalid bin Abdullah Al Qasimi, Chairman of Seaports and Customs Authority; Sheikh Salem bin Abdulrahman Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Ruler’s Office; Sheikha Nawar Al Qasimi, Director of Development at Sharjah Art Foundation, other sheikhs, senior officials, members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the UAE, and a galaxy of Arab and African artists, playwrights, literary persons, and critics.