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Emirates Literature Foundation highlights best Emirati literary achievements

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DUBAI, 30th November, 2021 (WAM) — The best Emirati writing from each decade of the last 50 years is being celebrated by the Emirates Literature Foundation to commemorate the United Arab Emirates' 50th National Day.

The work of the venerated poet Ousha bint Khalifa and prolific short-story writer Mohammed Al Murr are among those highlighted among the best literary achievements of the last half century profiled by the not-for-profit organisation which supports and nurtures a love of literature in the UAE and the region.

"For a young country with a comparatively young literary tradition, we have developed a vibrant literary scene and a wonderful array of Emirati talent," said Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation. "We are on the cusp of an exciting new era for literature from the UAE."

Notable authors on the wide-ranging list include novelist Maha Garghash, children’s author and illustrator Maitha Al Khayat, poet and film maker Nujoom Al Ghanem and sci-fi writer Noura Al Noman.

A selection of the top names, including Dr. Afra Atiq, Omar Saif Ghobash, Salha Obaid and Dubai Abulhoul, will be taking part in the 2022 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature (3-12 February), along with new up-and-coming Emirati writers and performers.

The latest episode of the Boundless Book Club features Emirati writer Eman AlYousuf and Festival Director Ahlam Bolooki in conversation about popular Emirati books and genres, while Omar Saif Ghobash joins the conversation to talk about his own upcoming novel. The feature about the UAE’s evolving literary landscape is available on the blog.

"One of our aims is to provide a platform for more Emiratis to tell their stories," continued Abulhoul. "We do this through initiatives such as First Chapter, our new global standard mentorship programme, designed to nurture emerging writing talent. We want to encourage new voices, telling our unique stories and the perspectives that currently may not yet be known beyond the region. Authentic narratives, whether it is the retelling of our traditional folk tales or insight into contemporary lives, are all equally important and need to be heard throughout the world."

First Chapter, the ELF Seddiqi Writers’ Fellowship, is the first initiative of its type in the region for aspiring writers from the UAE and is free to successful applicants.

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Emirates

Zee Stores becomes Ghitha Holding in strategic expansion

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ABU DHABI, 24th January, 2022 (WAM) — Zee Stores, the trading and distribution firm listed on the ADX Second Market, has announced that it will rebrand to Ghitha and expand its strategy to become a Key Player in the food industry, which will support the UAE’s food security agenda.

The holding company will add a number of related businesses to its existing portfolio, through future acquisitions and subsidiaries’ formation, which will enhance its core capabilities in wholesale importing and trading fresh and canned foods; packaging; and providing food services to industrial sites such as gas and oil fields. Its ticker symbol will then change to GHITHA from ZS.

The new strategic direction will enable Ghitha Holding to become one of the largest and most important players in the regional food trading sector.

Mohammed Somar Ajalyaqin, Chairman of Ghitha Holding, said, "With the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy aiming to make the Emirates the world’s most food-secure nation by 2051, expanding operations in food and agriculture presents an ideal opportunity to deliver shareholder value through commercial success while supporting the national development agenda. This transformation of Zee Stores into Ghitha Holding represents the next stage in the company’s journey, and through our growing operations we will continue to play an even greater role in this sector."

Ghitha Holding is a subsidiary of International Holding Company (IHC), the Abu Dhabi-headquartered multi-sector conglomerate which has implemented an ambitious strategy of consolidating and listing subsidiaries to transform them into powerful multi-sector operators. IHC holds an extensive portfolio in its Agriculture and Food & Beverage verticals and has developed deep expertise in food farming, trading and processing, empowering it to make significant contributions to the UAE’s food security strategy.

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Emirates

26,189 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered during past 24 hours: MoHAP

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ABU DHABI, 24th January, 2022 (WAM) — The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has announced that 26,189 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were given in the past 24 hours.

The total number of doses provided up to today stands at 23,339,861 with a rate of vaccine distribution of 235.99 doses per 100 people.

The vaccination drive is in line with the Ministry's plan to provide the vaccine to all members of society and acquire immunity, which will help reduce the number of cases and control the spread of the virus.

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Emirates

UAE to head ALECSO’s Permanent Committee for Arab Culture

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ABU DHABI, 24th January, 2022 (WAM) — The Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (ALECSO) member countries have unanimously chosen the UAE to head the Permanent Committee for Arab Culture.

Salma Al Darmaki, Secretary-General of the UAE National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, has been appointed to chair the Permanent Committee.

The decision comes after the 22nd edition of the Conference of Arab Culture Ministers, held in December 2021 at Expo 2020 Dubai. Al Darmaki is the second woman appointed to this position in ALECSO's history.

The Permanent Committee for Arab Culture is responsible for coordinating the work of various ALECSO member states in cultural fields. The Standing Committee is also mandated to prepare for the Conference of Arab Ministers of Culture.

On this occasion, Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, Chair of the UAE National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, said, "The UAE's selection to chair the Permanent Committee for Arab Culture reflects its pioneering position in the field of cultural and creative industries and is an affirmation of its ability to establish strong communication links between Arab countries."

"The UAE enjoys excellent cultural relations regionally and globally. The impact of its cultural project which aims to enhance people’s awareness and enhance their contribution to culture, comes in line with unique initiatives that reaffirms the UAE’s position as a global cultural hub, and an incubator for creativity and talent. The UAE’s strategic plan seeks to invest in culture as a crucial tool in developing communities and people alike," the minister added.

For her side, Al Darmaki said, "Thanks to the UAE's leadership and their long-term vision that today, Emirati talent is being acknowledged not just locally and regionally but also globally. The UAE has been investing earnestly in its youth, which has been instrumental in the success of young Emirati talent and the achievements of Emirati women. Our leadership's strategy, vision, and continuous guidance and support have helped us reach new heights of success in the Arab region and around the world."

"I will be working closely with ALECSO’s Permanent Committee for Arab Culture to launch new initiatives and projects to strengthen the role of Arab culture in our present and future endeavours," she added.

Al Darmaki has been an Assistant Under-Secretary for Knowledge and Cultural Policy at the Ministry of Culture and Youth since 2018. She has served as a Research Fellow at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development from 2017 to 2018. She was a researcher at the Permanent Mission of the UAE to the United Nations in Switzerland from 2016 to 2017; an expert on Social Policy in the General Secretariat of the Executive Council in Abu Dhabi from 2011 and 2016, and a parliamentary researcher in the General Secretariat of the Federal National Council from 2009-2010. She also worked for the Abu Dhabi Government Restructuring Committee in 2008.

Al Darmaki holds a post-graduate degree in International Law from the University of London, a Master's in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science in the United Kingdom, and a bachelor's degree in International Studies from Zayed University in the UAE.

As Secretary-General of the UAE National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, Al Darmaki managed the campaign for securing a seat for the UAE on the UNESCO Executive Board from 2019 to 2023. She played a crucial role in the first decision submitted by the UAE to the Executive Council of UNESCO on "A Framework for Arts and Culture Education" and the passing of a resolution on the "Building on the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development through Consolidated Action". Some of her other achievements include the declaration of World Futures Day by UNESCO as an annual international day after being proposed by the UAE. The UAE secured a seat in the intergovernmental committee of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

Al Darmaki has been working with the national authorities to further the cause of cultural, educational and scientific endeavours, such as extending the registration of the falconry file for the fourth time in the UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage to become the largest file in the history of the organisation. She also manages the UAE partnership with UNESCO in the pioneering "Revive the Spirit of Mosul" initiative. In addition to supporting the nomination of Abu Dhabi as a Creative City for Music, she has helped make Abu Dhabi the third Emirate to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network along with Dubai and Sharjah.

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