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Abu Dhabi International Book Fair a magnet for everyone

posted on 28/04/2016: 2514 views

One of the most prominent cultural events specialising in books, reading and knowledge, the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF), in its 26th edition, opened at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) yesterday, covering around 32,000 square metres and showcasing 1,260 exhibitors from 63 countries.

A sea of books awaits visitors, a large percentage of them dedicated to children, and the event offers multiple areas of learning and fun under themes such as Reading Section, Theatre, Science Section, and Smart Learning.

Many of these are designed to encourage young visitors to participate in interactive sessions that make learning fun. The Reading Section, for instance, has a puppet show every 15 minutes, and coaxes children to draw, colour and select a book in English or Arabic to be read to them.

One of the most popular areas with children is the Theatre section which offers children a chance to participate in the show or simply sit back and enjoy the entertainment and answer the performers' questions.

The Science and Smart Learning sections, lab-style areas that educate youngsters on science and technology, have been organised by the Applied Technology High School (ATHS) and the Secondary Technical School (STS) and are equipped with benches set up with robotics, microscopes, computers and other equipment. They are abuzz with young minds seeking knowledge as they try their hand at something new. Khalil Al Saifi, career counsellor at ATHS and STS told Gulf News, "At the Smart Learning booth, which is aimed at students between 7-14 years, we have creative projects such as robotics, applied engineering and computer science that will hopefully help the young minds discover the skills they might have [in these domains].”

"The Science Section is aimed at students between 7-10-years and is about having fun [with science]. We hope to improve their skills and perhaps get them interested in becoming a scientist,” Al Saifi added.

Speaking to Gulf News about the immense growth of ADIBF over the years, which expects over 300,000 visitors this year, Mohammed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of TCA Abu Dhabi, said, "Abu Dhabi has championed education and educational excellence and having the book fair here for many years and, hopefully, for many years to come, showcases our capability. [It also] exhibits some of the best world talent here in Abu Dhabi and encourages reading so that every household in the UAE is reading.”

The US ambassador to the UAE, Barbara A. Leaf, also visited the book fair. The US Embassy in Abu Dhabi is one of the longest-standing exhibitors at the fair and has set up an impressive booth that includes Spark Labs which encourage children to put what they have learnt in books into practice by solving problems and building practical solutions using material that is made available to them.

Speaking to Gulf News, Leaf said, "We have been involved [with ADIBF] since 1984 when the Abu Dhabi book fair was a rather smaller fair alongside Qasr Al Hosn. What we see today is splendid indeed.

"I came [to the UAE] last year, and it was my first opportunity to see the fair and our participation…I found it to be a rich experience,” she added.

Leaf said that the US Embassy's section hopes to introduce visitors to works by some of the great US authors.

The exhibition is also set to host 500 cultural initiatives that include Creativity Corner, eZone and Service Providers' Area, Show Kitchen, Black Box Cinema, Cultural Programmes, the new ‘Signatures' book-signing initiative and the Illustrator's Corner.

The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, organised by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), runs until May 3.

Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2016

Duration: April 27 to May 3

Timings: 9am to 10pm

Venue: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec)

Details: Books from 63 countries, reading sessions and activities for children and young students as well as cultural initiatives

Highlights of ADIBF 2016

April 28, 5pm: Shaikh Zayed Book Award 10th session winner seminar

April 29, 5.15pm: Digital Literacy Course

April 30, 4pm: Visual thinking: making complex information simple for your audiences, a talk

May 1, 11am: The Long Game – the Marathon after publication (what publishing really involves), a talk.

May 1, 8pm: 10th Shaikh Zayed Book Award Ceremony

May 2, 6.15pm: How to teach anything through a story, a workshop. – Gulf News -


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04 May 2017 ADIBF welcomes over 300,000 visitors during 27th edition
02 May 2017 Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation and visual artist Christo bolster co-operaiton
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