Closer Ties Between Brazil and Arab World Bring Literature to Forefront

Sagarana by Guimarães Rosa Brazilian Arab warmer relations have already translated into an expansion of cultural exchange between the two areas, including literature. The same can be said about Arabs and other South American countries.  Translations of books in the languages of the two regions have been increasing ever since the heads of state started meeting for the Summit of South American-Arab Countries (Aspa), four years ago.

These works were the theme of a technical meeting of ministries of culture from South America and the Arab countries, which took place this May 20 at the National Museum of Fine Arts, in the city of Rio de Janeiro. On May 21st, once again literature was on the agenda of the ministerial meeting, due at the same location.

Brazil, for instance, has already translated tales by national writers Guimarães Rosa and Machado de Assis, which are only awaiting publication. The same was done, into Portuguese, with poems by the Arab Mahmud Darwish.

The progress of the translations is included in the action plan resulting from the ministerial meeting, and was presented to the participants in the meeting. Also underway is a publication on Arabic grammar for South Americans, which should be ready by October this year.

There are other ongoing book translation initiatives by Venezuela, Algeria and Peru as well. The Arabic version of the work "Doí±a Bárbara," by Rômulo Gallegos, from Venezuela, for example, should be reprinted.

Also in the world of books, debates were held yesterday regarding the establishment of the Aspa Library, which should be headquartered in Algeria, and the exchange between libraries from South America and Arab countries by means of seminars. This is one of the proposals in the action plan for the meeting in Rio de Janeiro.

"Cultural relations are progressing. The efforts are several, such as the Bibliaspa (Aspa electronic library), and translation of Brazilian works into Arabic," says the secretary general of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, Michel Alaby, who attended the meeting yesterday. During the meeting, a project was also presented for a mega-exhibition focusing on the similarities between the Nile and Amazon rivers, an initiative of the Emilio Goeldi Museum, in the state of Pará (northern Brazil). The plan, which has not been approved yet, is to have an educational travelling exhibition.

The statement of the ministers, which should be presented today and to which ANBA obtained access, is going to claim that a new phase has been inaugurated – its priorities being to consolidate and speed up the implementation of cooperation mechanisms – starting with the last Aspa summit, held in March this year, in Doha, Qatar. In the document they agree, for instance, on the creation of an Aspa cultural committee, which will undertake cultural projects between the two regions.

The ministers are also going to offer, in their final statement in Rio, the support of Aspa to the global "Alliance of Civilizations" conference, which Brazil should host next year. The meeting will serve as a forum for deepening global religious and cultural dialogue. The ministers call on the Aspa countries to participate in the conference.

Anba

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