Doha 16 April 2018
Emir of State of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad AlThani officially inaugurated Qatar National Library (QNL) on Monday at a grand ceremony. Present on the occasion were Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Former Emir of Qatar and father Emir, Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa AlThani, Prime Minister and Interior Minister of Qatar, Abdullah Gul, former President of Turkey, Nicolas Sarkozy, former President of France, Atifa Yahya Agha, former President of Kosovo, Matteo Renzi, former Italian Prime Minister, Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud Al-Said, Deputy Prime Minister of Oman, Bakir Buzdag, Assistant Prime Minister of Turkey, Sheikh Ali Jarrah al-Sabah, Emir of Kuwait’s envoy and Minister of Emiri Diwan Affairs of Kuwait, Princess Lalla Hasna, representative of King of Morocco, dignitaries, diplomats and guests.
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad AlThani placed one-millionth book on the shelves, a rare 843 years old copy of Sahih AlBukhari. He commemorated the event by signing official inauguration certificate, which will be mounted on a plaque.
The first book on the shelves of QNL was placed in December 2016 by Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation and mother of Emir of State of Qatar.
Sheikha Moza bint Nassser in her address on the occasion said ‘The inauguration of Qatar National Library invokes a great sense of historical pride and belonging to the Arab world, which pioneered writing, transcription, and libraries in Mesopotamia 5,000 years ago. The idea of the National Library was inspired by this glorious history, in hopes of restoring an Arab renaissance that we do not want to lose. The library was established to be a treasury of written history and a medium for the transfer of knowledge between different cultures.’
‘Essentially, it will be an institution of reference for Arabic and Islamic heritage and a platform for spreading contemporary intellectual and literary thought. Designed in form and content to be three-dimensional: a national library, a public library, and a research library in one. As an advanced digital library, it will allow users immediate access to accurate information. It will provide new generations with the necessary, intellectual tools to read and interpret history correctly,’ Sheikha Moza bint Nasser said.
Dr Sohair Wastawy, Executive Director, QNL, said ‘Qatar National Library seeks to be a centre of learning not only in Qatar but also internationally. This grand opening, which welcomed more than 700 visitors from Qatar and around the world, demonstrates the continued global importance of libraries in everyday life.’
Among other speakers on the occasion include Poet Tamim AlBarghouti on his speech title ‘It is still possible’ and Rem Koolhaas, library’s lead architect, who spoke about the architecture of cultural institutions.
A number of video messages from numerous library directors around the world congratulating QNL on its opening were also shown.
Roly Keating, CEO British Library, gave a speech on the importance of libraries; Nicholas Negroponte, co-founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, delivered a speech titled ‘Where Bits and Atoms Meet’; and an interactive map showed the 52 countries from which guests were visiting.
The event concluded with a musical piece ‘Sounds of the Library’, performed by Qatari composer Dana AlFardan.
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