Under the theme, “Animal stories,” the 21st edition of Sharjah International Narrator Forum (SNIF) kicked off on Wednesday, September 22, 2021, and saw the participation of 40 countries across the globe as well as ICESCO, UNESCO, and ALECSO. The event, held at Sharjah Expo Center and the headquarters of Sharjah Institute for Heritage, will last until 30 September 2021.
The Forum was opened by H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah. Dr. Abdelilah Benarafa, Deputy Director-General (DG) of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), attended the opening session and presented His Highness with a selection of ICESCO publications in the field of cultural heritage.
Moreover, Dr. Benarafa presented a paper at the opening session on “Institutional Efforts to Safeguard Living Human Treasures,” which discussed ICESCO’s efforts to preserve both tangible and intangible heritage. He explained that ICESCO capitalizes on the inscription on heritage lists, preservation, documentation, and publication to exert such efforts, through the work of its Islamic World Heritage Committee and Islamic Heritage Center, in addition to numerous ICESCO bodies and mechanisms.
Likewise, the ICESCO Deputy DG reaffirmed the significance of cooperation with Sharjah Institute for Heritage, in coordination with ICESCO Regional Office in Sharjah.
At the close of his paper presentation, the ICESCO Deputy DG gave several practical proposals to activate this cooperation, including working towards setting up national systems for safeguarding living human treasures in the Member States, and launching the project to create the “Storyteller House” or the “House of Tales” in every Member State that enjoys a treasure trove of stories. He also proposed launching joint programs in observance of World Storytelling Day, that would include specialized training sessions and workshops on preserving storytelling heritage.
Speaking next were the respective representatives of UNESCO and ALECSO. The opening session was moderated by Dr. Ahmed Bahi Eddine Al-Assas.
The Forum’s first session was dedicated to “Animal Stories in Gulf Drama.” The second session will be held on Thursday, September 23, under the theme “Cultural Heritage in the Sudan,” which will be dedicated to the efforts of Dr. Ahmed Abdel Rahim Nasr, the Forum’s Personality of the Year, in documenting cultural heritage. The Forum’s sessions are all dedicated to animal stories and each focuses on a different perspective such as Emirati heritage, Arab and world heritage, and Arab drama.