Art Award at the the Egyptian Cultural Centre

Art Award at the the Egyptian Cultural Centre

The Egyptian Cultural Centre in Baku on Friday hosted a presentation of the book Quail and Autumn in Azerbaijani translation - published by the Azerbaijan Translation Centre(AzTC) -  by Naguib Mahfouz, the only Arabic-language writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. His works had never been translated and published in Azerbaijani. 

The event was attended by Mr. Haitham Galal, Minister Plenipotentiary of Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt to Azerbaijan, Mr. Nassar I. Habashneh, Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,  Mr. Mohamed Elias Mohamed Al-Hag, Ambassador of the Republic of Sudan, Mr. Hassan Hami, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco, Mr. Nasser Abdul Kareem A. Raheem, Ambassador of the State of Palestine, Mr. Abdalla ALSHAMSÎ, Third Secretary, Deputy Plead of Mission, Embassy of the United Arab Emirates, Mr. Abdulhakeem Ismael al-Yass, Counsellor, Embassy of the Republic of Iraq, Mr. Majed Mohamed BADIRA, Attaché, Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, as well as scientists and artists of Azerbaijan.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Ahmed Sami Elaydy, Cultural Attaché and Director of the Cultural Centre, focused on the joint work to provide support for literary exchange and projects between the two centres done over the past two years.

Mr. Haitham Galal spoke about Naguib Mahfouz' life and works, the importance of issues he had addressed in his works. 'Works by Naguib Mahfouz entail not only Egyptian life and culture, but also the whole Arab world.  I believe that the translation of his works into Azerbaijani and other cultural and educational events of this kind will boost bilateral relations between the two countries,' said the Egyptian diplomat.

AzTC Director Afag Masud, in turn, spoke about AzTC's ties on a global scale, and future projects: ''The times the world is facing are hard and difficult, with wars, terror acts, the problem of refugees, as well as political and social injustice running humanity into difficulties. Amidst these events, literature, art of declamation is the salvation for humanity. Literature, which has no nationality, is the shortest and surest way of rapprochement of peoples, establishment of friendly and fraternal relations across the world."

She went on saying that "the Translation Centre under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Azerbaijan Republic was founded on May 16, 2014 in accordance with Decree of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic, Ilham Aliyev, and gained a new status. The decree did create greater opportunities to establish intercultural dialogue worldwide...... There has been a deep interest in the Arabic language and literature in Azerbaijan at all times, For us and the entire world as a whole, Arabic is the language of the Koran. I think that what is written in Arabic has holy power,' she added.

Mt. Nassar I. Habashneh (Jordan), Mr. Mohamed Elias Mohamed Al-Hag (Sudan), and Professor, Orientalist Vasim Mammadaliyev spoke about the historical ties between Azerbaijan and Arab world, Naguib Mahfouz' literary ideology, and the importance of translation.

Shahin Alaskarov who has translated Naguib Mahfouz' works into Azerbaijani said how he had got to know the outstanding writer and the process of translation: ' According to Naguib Mahfouz, Arabic is the real winner of the Nobel prize.' 'It is, therefore, meant that its melodies should float for the first time into your oasis of culture and civilization," he said, with great hopes that 'this will not be the last time either.'

'The book includes the novel Quail and Autumn, narrative story May God Bless Your Evening, and 14 short stories," he concluded. 

In the end, Afaq Masud and Shahin Aleskerov were awarded, respectively, a special diploma and a medal by the Ministry of Higher Education of Egypt.