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Largest cultural project in the Arab world to open in 2017


February 2016

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, proudly announced that the Emirate is embarking on the largest ever cultural project in the Arab World, the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Library. The library, designed in the shape of an open book, is set to launch in 2017 and will be the largest cultural center in the region, with an investment of approximately one billion Dirhams.

Set in Al Jaddaf, in the heart of Dubai and close to the Dubai Culture Village, the seven-storey, one million square feet property will house more than 4.5 million books and include several areas for interaction, events, activities, educational and cultural festivals. There will also be venues for arts and literary exhibitions, heritage preservation initiatives and a 500-seat theatre for lectures, seminars and presentations on best practice. The library will also serve as a platform for hosting and launching the most significant intellectual and cultural initiatives regionally and globally.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum stressed that the Arab world is facing a learning gap which explicates the need of projects the size of this historic cultural challenge. His Highness said, “We are the leaders of civilization, duty and culture, and so we need to revive the spirit of learning and curiosity within our culture through innovative initiatives that push our boundaries. This is why we decided to start the Year of Reading by launching this state-of-the-art library and to let everyone know that we will transform the UAE into an Arab and global cultural and learning center while strongly establishing reading as a societal norm. We want a dynamic library which will reach you before you reach it, visit you before you visit it, and which encourages you to start reading from childhood, while supporting you as a scientist, researcher or specialist, when older. The library will be a compound for books, a community for readers and writers, and an association for content, culture and thought owners.”

His Highness concluded by saying, “The human mind is the center of development and the book is the tool used to renew the mind. A nation can never grow without a renewed mind and a lively, knowledgeable spirit.”

The Mohammed bin Rashid Library goes beyond the limits of a typical public library and acts as the headquarter of the most important cultural and cognitive initiatives, such as the 2.4 million Dirham ‘Arabic Language Award’, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid to help people embrace their Arab identity. Placing literature at the forefront of Dubai and the Arab World’s future, the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Library will form a museum to celebrate heritage and the history of human civilization, in addition to being the largest book warehouse in the region, welcoming students, authors, translators, scholars and academics who share a passion for knowledge and wisdom. Equipped with 2,600 seats and the most advanced technologies and smart applications, it is expected to receive 9 million visitors annually.

The Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Library rests on six pillars: the main library and eight specialized libraries (Children’s, Youth, Family, Business, Arabic, International, Popular and Multimedia); spreading content (e-library with over 2 billion titles, 1 billion audio books, and 10 million books disseminated around the Arab world); supporting authoring and translation (initiative to translate 25,000 titles into Arabic); protecting the Arabic language (host main headquarters of The International Council for the Arabic Language & publish the Mohammed bin Rashid Contemporary Arabic Language Dictionary); preserving cultural heritage; and encouraging reading (which includes The Arab Reading Challenge and over 100 planned annual cultural events).

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