Norway’s Princess Mette-Marie inaugurates Norwegian programme at 55th Cairo International Book Fair

Ahram Online , Thursday 25 Jan 2024

Crown Princess of Norway Mette-Marie inaugurated Thursday the cultural program of the Kingdom of Norway, the guest of honour at the 55th edition of the Cairo International Book Fair.

55th edition of the Cairo International Book Fair
(From R to L) Crown Princess of Norway Mette-Marie with Egypt s Minister of Culture Nevine El-Kilani and Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide during the inauguration ceremony the cultural program of the Kingdom of Norway, the guest of honor at the 55th edition of the Cairo International Book Fair on Thursday 25 January, 2024. Photo courtesy of Egyptian Ministry of Culture.


Accompanying the princess were Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide and Hilda Clemetstad, the Norwegian Ambassador to Cairo. 

Egypt's Minister of Culture, Nevine El-Kilani, also attended the inauguration.

According to El-Kilani, selecting Norway as the guest of honour for the year 2024 edition of the fair presents a significant and inspiring opportunity for the fair's audience to familiarize themselves with one of the most important cultures in Northern Europe.

The presence of Princess Mette Marit, consort of the Crown Prince of Norway, and her inauguration of the Norwegian participation serves as a clear indication of the impact of Egyptian culture beyond its borders, she added.

El-Kilani stated that the strong presence of Norway represents a crucial opportunity to introduce Egyptian and Arab creativity, fostering direct and constructive interaction between creators and the audience from both sides.

She also expressed admiration for the diversity of Norway's cultural program in this year's edition of the Cairo Book Fair, praising its varied events and the multitude of fields and issues it covers.

These events embody the values of literature and arts in all their forms, promoting harmony, coexistence, and tolerance, El-Kilani noted.

She stressed the importance of Norway's participation in building bridges of human communication between Egyptian and Norwegian cultures.

Following the inauguration, Princess Mette Marit delivered a speech in which she quoted Egyptian Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz, who she described as "a son of Islamic and Ancient Egypt cultures." In addition, the princess highlighted how cultural fusion is the aim of cultural and literary encounters such as book fairs and their diverse activities.

She also expressed her profound gratitude for Norway's invitation to be the guest of honour at the 55th Cairo International Book Fair, describing the fair as "the oldest book fair in the Middle East," and extended her thanks to the Egyptian state and the fair organizers.

Furthermore, the princess emphasized that culture builds understanding between people by establishing channels of communication and enhancing dialogue. She cited the reconstruction of the Library of Alexandria, whose design was entrusted to a Norwegian company, as evidence of the trust between the two countries.

The princess concluded by expressing confidence that the upcoming weeks will provide a genuine opportunity for collaboration between Norwegian and Arab publishers to strengthen ties and build a bridge of culture and civilization.

Following the opening ceremony, a dialogue session was held between Dr. Ahmed Bahi El Din, the head of the Egyptian General Authority for Books, and Jostein Gaarder, one of Norway's most prominent writers whose writings rank highly in the list of bestsellers worldwide. The dialogue focused on mechanisms to enhance and stimulate the joy of reading for everyone.

The Norwegian programme will last 13 days. Norwegian Literature Abroad (NORLA) prepared the two parts of the programme, with the second part focusing on literature for children and young adults.

The 55th edition of the Cairo International Book Fair will run between 25 January and 6 February at the Egypt International Exhibition Centre in New Cairo.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the premises for a mere EGP 5.

More information can be found on the fair’s official website

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