Sharjah: Italy-based Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana (VBA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) to strengthen collaboration and increase access to greater sources of information for scholars and academics.
Under the recently signed MoU, an agreement was inked to digitize more than 2,500 rare Arabic manuscripts dating back to more than 450 years, and to be made available for the first time globally at the digital repository of SBA’s Sharjah Public Library (SPL).
La Rosa Hall, where the agreement were signed, remains as one of the most renowned cultural halls in the world, containing thousands of unique books and manuscripts. Some of Italy’s greatest writers, thinkers, and artists, most notably Leonardo da Vinci, visited and spent time there frequently.
VBA‘s collection of Arabic manuscripts is one of the best and most valuable in Italy. Treatises on history, language, medicine, astronomy, geographical maps, and manuscripts of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) sayings, known as the Hadith, are among its collection of Islamic and Arabic manuscripts.
Sharing insights about the deal, Mr. Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA remarked that “The MoU translates the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, who firmly believes that books are sources of knowledge that bring cultures of the world together and strengthen cross-cultural communication, dialogue, and collaboration. In Sharjah, we believe that all peoples and civilizations are bound by the shared human experience and knowledge and that our role is to nurture it with new literature and arts. To achieve this objective, we are working closely with our partners, world capitals and cities, to facilitate wider access to books and sources of information.”
“The digitization of this historic collection is invaluable not only for Arab academics and researchers but also for readers around the world. We are certain that it will boost the exchange of knowledge, fuel innovative projects across various fields, and play a key role in bringing Arab and Italian cultures together,” Mr. Ahmed Al Ameri added.
According to Mr. Omar Obaid Alshamsi, UAE Ambassador to the Republic of Italy, the MoU strengthens cultural connections with Italy and provides a valuable chance to explore new partnerships with additional Italian cultural institutions. He emphasized that SBA’s attempts to encourage cross-border information exchange are in accordance with the UAE’s aim to strengthen international collaboration.
Prof. Lorenzo Ornaghi, President of the Congregazione dei Conservatori, VBA stated that, “This MoU embodies the goals of the Ambrosiana Library, that include building bridges between cultures and peoples to exchange knowledge and forge friendships. This resonates with the cultural vision of the emirate of Sharjah and aligns with the Ruler of Sharjah’s goals to further such collaboration. Thus, we are excited about this new cooperation that we hope to advance further to serve researchers and intellectuals around the world.”