Grand Opening Ceremony of the Qatar National Library
Doha, Qatar, 16 April 2018
Your Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani,
Your Highness the Father Amir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani,
Your Highnesses, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
I welcome you all and thank you for your kind attendance. I highly value your appreciation for culture and knowledge. An appreciation that you have embodied by joining us today in this celebration, the inauguration of the Qatar National Library. And we are so delighted that you were able to join us to make it a global celebration of written knowledge, of which the book is its model and the library its realm.
Through writing, books and libraries we can see the profound relationship between human beings and the history of inscription, which is considered the source of human civilization. The human being is the author of the book, and at the same time, its subject, producer, reader and critic. Ultimately, books are all but us, and this building an outlet for ideas to shine under its roof, regardless of whether these ideas are made in agreement or disagreement.
The inauguration of the Qatar National Library invokes a great sense of historical pride and belonging to the Arab world, which pioneered writing, transcription and libraries in Mesopotamia five thousand years ago.
From one era to another, these pioneering initiatives flourished, most notably during the Middle Ages with the “House of Wisdom” in Bagdad, “Córdoba Library” in Andalusia, “House of Knowledge” in Cairo, and “Al-Qarawiyyin Library” in the city of Fes in Morocco.
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.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Libraries no longer solely function as a collection of shelved books or an archive of history. It no longer only caters to the cultural elite, academic institutions and students of science. Indeed, it has become a dynamic entity that inspires widespread cultural and social movements, enriches dialogue, and expands the mind and creative imagination.
Given that books are a vessel through which civilizations preserve language, we aspire to make this library a modern mechanism to revive the Arabic language and to reestablish its presence as a marker of civilization. Through a new interpretation of our heritage, we can restore the days when Arabic was the universal language of the Middle Ages. When it was synonymous with science and culture, and a source of pride. It was a well-known fact: You speak Arabic, then you are educated.
Perhaps what further emphasizes the unique mission of this library is its locations within this small environment that attracts knowledge. By which I mean Education City with its universities, researchers, and students.
But the library’s role becomes even greater as it belongs to the larger environment of the State of Qatar, where the mission of the library aligns with the state’s renaissance project. Yet there is a third environment, the largest of the three, and that is the internet, where different cultures interact and where the library will have an active and effective presence.
In these final words, I would like to say that the National Library would not reach these distinguished heights as a monument of knowledge, without the unwavering vision of the country’s leadership. From the reign of the father to the son, supporting sustainable and strategic development projects, particularly in human development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like reiterate my thanks and deep gratitude to you for joining us on this momentous occasion that is the inauguration of Qatar National Library.
Peace be upon you.