Abu Dhabi aims to become Middle East’s major sailing hub

Abu Dhabi aims to become Middle East’s major sailing hub


The UAE capital could become for the Middle East what Cowes has become for UK: a key sailing and community waterfront.

Hosting the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) 2014-2015 for the second consecutive year, which includes in-port racing, the Abu Dhabi specially re-designed harbour for the event has the potential of being the Cowes Week Regatta

"The whole of the Isle of Wight and Southern England come to life during Cowes Week with sailing enthusiasts from all over the world arriving for the regatta. The local community and the corporate world also are fully engaged using it as a great entertainment and networking occasion,” pointed out Adil Khalid, the Emirati sailor on Abu Dhabi VOR's team.

"The sight of thousands of boats gathered on the river Solent for Cowes Week is spectacular, it's amazing to see them. Abu Dhabi, where we sometimes have upwards of 100 dhows out racing, can do the same for the stopover, and we can make it, without doubt, the most important sailing and waterfront celebration in Arabia,” suggested Khalid, who is in the UK for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's defence of its Rolex Fastnet Race title.

Just as in previous season, VOR's stopover in Abu Dhabi will be from mid-December next year to January 3, 2015. Local organisers, the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (ADTCA), are already planning on setting up events related to the race, including a New Year's Eve party on the waterfront. For the first 2012 VOR stopover, a traditional souk with Emirati and Arabian souvenirs was built, along with fun games and a VOR exhibition.

For the winter of 2014, ADTCA is planning pretty much the same - a fan-friendly Destination Village on the Corniche breakwater and several concerts and entertainment events.

Known as the "Everest of sailing”, VOR is the most challenging sailing race in history, starting from Europe's calm waters in the summer, going through the tough icy seas near Antarctica, the southern waters sometimes infested by pirates and ending via the world's toughest - the Irish Sea!

Abu Dhabi joined VOR for the first time in 2012, when the very young and freshly married Khalid Adil became a star, as the only Emirati on board! Only five out of six teams made it to Abu Dhabi back then.

This time around, the capital will welcome the fleet from Recife, Brazil after one of the longest and potentially most-gruelling legs in the 40-year race history (9,707 nautical miles). The Abu Dhabi Etihad Airways In-Port Race, which was won by home favourites Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in the last edition, will take place on January 2, 2015, with the fleet departing for Sanya, China the following day.

Spotlight on Sheikh Zayed Book Award


The Sheikh Zayed Book Award has said it is accepting nominations for its Eighth Edition (2013-2014) until 15th October 2013.

Categories of the award include Contribution to the Development of Nations, Children's Literature [including adolescents books], Young Author, Translation, Literature, Literary and Art Criticism, Arab Culture in non-Arabic Language (Russian, Italian and English), Publishing and Technology, Cultural Personality of the Year (Open to individuals and organisations), according to the Award's press release.

The foundation of Sheikh Zayed Book Award was laid out in memory of the late founding father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and his pioneering role in national unity and the country's development. It is presented every year to outstanding Arab writers, intellectuals, publishers as well as young talents whose writings and translations of humanities have scholarly and objectively enriched Arab cultural, literary and social life. The Sheikh Zayed Book award is an independent cultural award administered by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, with a total monetary value of Dh7 million.

The publishing industry has been one of the important focal points of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award efforts since its inception to support publishers who have helped to enrich the social, cultural and intellectual life of the community and the World.

In 2008, Emirates Centre for Scientific Research and Studies (ECSSR) won the Publishing Award for its unique selection of original and translated research, maintaining the intellectual property rights of their authors and serving culture and knowledge through its wide array of publications and distribution networks. The Centre promotes interaction with experts through publishing books and research papers and organising conferences and symposia. At the time, the Centre published more than 570 titles which include books, both original and translated, an Arabic language series called "Strategic Studies," an English language series called "The Emirates Occasional Papers," a series of translated studies called "International Studies," and a forth series in both Arabic and in English called the "Emirates Lectures Series," based on the proceedings of lectures organised by the Centre.

In 2009, "Al-Dar Al- Masriah Al-Lubnaniah" met successfully all the conditions related to winning in terms of quantity and quality of production, distribution of books along with maintaining the intellectual property rights of authors.

"Al-Dar Al- Masriah Al-Lubnaniah" enjoys a wide variety of publications, an impressive pool of authors (exceeding 750 members), more than 100 translators in the past few years, and a widely infamous distribution network around the world.

In 2010, the efforts of "Nahdet Misr" in promoting the Arab culture that extends over more than six decades in printing, publishing and distribution. The veteran house's portfolio includes a variety of topics and genres, counting general knowledge and literary fiction, children's books, books for children with special needs, and educational textbooks. "Nahdet Misr" is also the exclusive agent of Cambridge University named winner for its rich history, strong international focus and promotion of Arab culture.

Brill Publishing House (of Netherlands) won the 2012 Award. The house has generous contribution in the publication and distribution of literary and cultural Arabic and Islamic manuscripts, by translating them into numerous European languages. And it is perhaps Brill's unique collection of Arabic and Islamic original material and oriental manuscripts that has given it the advantage over the rest of nominees. Brill was founded in 1683, over 500 books are published per year in both print and electronic format, and caters for an extensive variety of topics focusing on humanities and social sciences, International Law and selected areas in the Sciences.

Last year, in 2013 the National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature from Kuwait won the Publishing Award. The Council was founded in 1973, one of the council's mandates is working on the development of intellectual production and enrichment not only at the country's level but throughout the Arab region. The council produces a range of all-time publications, periodicals and books, including the World Series of Knowledge (a monthly book which went to publication in 1978 and has more than 400 issues to date); the World Series of Theatre (first published in 1969, and included a large number of internationally renowned theatrical scripts which drew the attention of many creative writers and novelists throughout the Arab World as it publicly introduced more than 365 scripts to date).

The Magazine of World Thought (a quarterly magazine which has been published since 1970 to date with close to 42 volumes); the World Series of Creativity (which introduce the most famous theatrical scripts of World Stages, with more than 393 scripts to date); the Art Journal (a monthly production about the audio visual art, which went to publication in 2001, and has a stock of more than 138 issues to date); and the Magazine of World Culture (a publication of the National Council on a variety of cultural topics. It has an approximate 169 issues to date). The council also arranges several cultural activities annually such as: Al-Qurain Festival, an annual book fair, a cultural festival for children, and a music festival.

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award is accepting nominations for its Eighth Edition (2013-2014) until October 15th 2013. Categories of the award include Contribution to the Development of Nations, Children's Literature [including adolescents books], Young Author, Translation, Literature, Literary and Art Criticism, Arab Culture in non-Arabic Language (Russian, Italian and English), Publishing and Technology, Cultural Personality of the Year (Open to individuals and organisations).


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