Friday, October 21, 2011

Can Poetry Help to Create Peace in this World? Can the Arts in General Promote Understanding and Peace Between Cultures?

Midas Public Relations

News for release: 21 October 2011


Promoting dialogue between civilisations through poetry –

Dubai forum comes to London

"Seminars and themes presented at The Foundation of Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain's Prize for Poetic Creativity’s literary and intellectual symposium in Dubai (17-18 October) were discussed yesterday evening at an event held at The Mosaic Rooms, London.

The Dubai forum, entitled "Poetry Towards Peaceful Co-Existence", was held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President of the United Arab Emirates, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, who attended the opening session. The London forum was programmed to complement the subject areas debated in Dubai. The two events were linked by author and broadcaster Paul Blezard, who flew from Dubai to London, to participate in both Forums.

In his opening speech in Dubai, Abdul Aziz Saud Al-Babtain, Chairman of The Foundation, highlighted the role of poetry in promoting dialogue between civilisations and said that the decision to hold the event in Dubai reflected the Emirate’s leading role in bringing about peaceful coexistence and understanding between people from different cultural backgrounds.

Speakers who took part in the London event were:

· Rosie Goldsmith, journalist and broadcaster, chair

· Sarah Ardizzone, award winning translator

· Sharmila Beezmohun, deputy editor Wasafiri magazine

· Paul Blezard, Literary director, The Firebird Poetry Prizes

· Christina Patterson , writer and columnist, The Independent

· Rhona Wells, assistant editor, The Middle East magazine

The London panellists discussed issues of translation and interpretation, poetry and performance, as well as debating the role poetry can play in today’s world, and its impact on different cultures globally.

The Dubai Forum was attended by Arab and foreign academics and poets from five continents. Sessions discussed the impact of Arabic and world poetry on human communication throughout the ages, and readings from an international line up of poets included prolific writer and poet Yang Lian from Beijing; Egyptian poet and writer Yaser Anwar; poet and cultural critic Kirpal Singh from Singapore; American poet, essayist and professor Brian Turner and the International Kristal Vilenica Prize 2009 winner Luljeta Lleshanaku from Albania.

The head of The Foundation, Abdul Aziz Saud Al-Babtain, himself a prominent Kuwaiti poet and businessman, well known in Kuwait, the Gulf area and the Arab world, established and fully financed The Foundation of Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain's Prize for Poetic Creativity.

Abdul Aziz Saud Al-Babtain, Chairman of the Foundation, said: I am delighted with the response to the Forum in Dubai. Academics and poets travelled from far and wide to take part in the symposium, and the result was three days of inspiring speeches and debate. Speakers were in general agreement with the theme of this year’s Forum – that poetry can play a role in developing cultural understanding in a time of political, social and economic change around the world.”

Video footage from the London event can be found at:

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