Sharjah ruler signs French version of autobiography in Paris
PARIS – Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, today graced a book signing ceremony for the French translation of his acclaimed autobiography ‘Self Narrative’ in Paris, in the presence of senior French officials and owners of French publishing houses.
The Arabic version of the book has earlier been translated into English, Spanish and German.
The translation into French takes forward the aim of Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi to communicate with the global community and achieve better levels of cultural understanding. As part of this objective, he also hopes to present facts related to Sharjah and his life without any distortion.
The signing ceremony began with the arrival of Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi at the venue. He was received by Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qassimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Corporation; Sheikha Budoor bint Sultan Al Qassimi, Chairman of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), and President of Emirates Publishers Association; UAE Ambassador to France Mohammed Mir Abdullah Al-Raeesi; Arnold Melnick, Adviser of French President for Health Affairs; Frederic Mitterrand, French Minister of Culture and Communication; Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Owais, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Information; Dr. Amr Abdel-Hamid, Special Advisor to for Higher Education; Ahmad bin Rakkad Al Amri, Director of Sharjah International Book Fair; Dr. Sami Mahmoud, Chancellor of University of Sharjah; Marwan Al Serkal, Executive Director of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq); Rashid Al Quds, Director, Culture without Borders Project, and Osama Samra, Director of Sharjah Media Centre. In addition, a number of ambassadors and members of Arab diplomatic corps in France, representatives of UNESCO and managers of universities as well as academics, politicians and intellectuals were present at the event.
The book signing ceremony started with a speech by Professor Frederick Auselle, Professor of International Relations in the French Research and Studies Institute, about His Highness, the Ruler of Sharjah and his most important intellectual, literary and cultural achievements. He quoted from one of the works of and said: “When I see a scene of armed soldiers, the spirit of the theatre consumes me. I then understand the great power of the theatre, especially about those that fail to accept the opinions of others. And, I understand beyond any doubt the serious and important role that the theatre can play in people's lives.”
Prof. Auselle substantiated the quote saying: “These glowing words have been penned by a man with a deep awareness of culture and humanity - Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. Tonight, I have the heavy responsibility of introducing him.”
He added: “During the past few days, I discovered an exceptional personality. Of course, like every one of you, I knew the Ruler of Sharjah. But, I humbly admit that I am surprised by the magnitude and depth of his work and his commitment. I will talk about him tonight through focusing on three aspects of his personality.” Award winning theatre personality
Professor Frederick Auselle said: “the Ruler of Sharjah’s academic accomplishments are impressive, with a doctorate in philosophy and a specialization in history and geography at prestigious universities, as well as a university degree in agricultural engineering. When he finishes a thesis, he progresses to writing and publishing. He has already acted, written and directed a number of plays, many of which have been translated into English, French, Spanish, Persian, German, Russian and Urdu. When taking a break from writing, the Ruler of Sharjah encourages studies, publishing and scientific research. I cannot fail to mention that he was the Minister of Education, UAE, during the early days of the union.”
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Focusing on the third aspect of his personality, Professor Frederick spoke about the writer and the book saying: “Self-narrative is the third book of the Ruler of Sharjah to be translated into French. What differentiates the book is the frankness and sincerity of the author while speaking about the hard times of his youth, and what he has said about some of the events he has experienced such as people’s anger, the storms of the sea, winds of the desert, the ancient castle, pride of his father, and the specter of death that did not leave him since he was a child.”
Prof. Frederick said he is fascinated and eager to read the sequel of the book. Highlighting the unique relationship between France and the UAE, this is based on shared values and common interests. He pointed out that Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi’s commitment to the arts and appreciation for literature have played a significant role in developing that relationship.
Prof. Frederick concluded his speech with a quote of the Ruler of Sharjah from one of his books, saying that the quote reflects all three aspects of his personality. In the Ruler of Sharjah’s words - “I found love of the theatre, from this magnificent world since childhood and was attracted to it as a writer, director and actor. During the first stages of my studies I learnt how much magic there is in the world of theatre and its ability to probe the depths of the human soul and uncover its mysteries.”
In his speech, Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, expressed his admiration for France because of its role in the consolidation of human cultures and respect for intellectual freedom and the advancement of the arts, heritage and encouragement of creativity.
said: “I am happy to be in France, the heir of a century of lights…the century of freedom of expression. I quote Voltaire - "I disagree with you but I am willing to pay my life to enable you to express your opinion.” France epitomizes the century of the birth of the encyclopedia with the philosopher Diderot, the century of social contract and the book "I tend to raise children" by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. These lights still shine in Paris, the country of culture and humanity. When I walk around it, I imagine that I am at the top of the world.”
The ceremony included a film about the book and its chapters.
On the sidelines of the signing ceremony, members of the elite audience expressed their admiration for His Highness, the Ruler of Sharjah and his book.
Jacques Rao, Representative of the Director-General of UNESCO, Manager of Relations with Member States and International Organizations in UNESCO, said: “The book reflects its author’s personality while the message of this book reveals a unique cultural character.”
Daniel Rondeau, Ambassador of France to UNESCO, said: “What sparked my interest in this autobiography are the author's personality, his official role, the country to which he belongs, and his way of life.”