Under the gracious patronage of His Highness the Amir of Kuwait and in the presence of distinguished Arab Gulf figures, a splendid inaugural ceremony marked the exceptional commencement of the 18th edition of the cultural events organized by the Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Cultural Foundation.
March 20, 2023
Representative of His Highness the Amir: This gathering and response to the invitation of the Foundation is a significant recognition of the prominent and effective role that this Foundation plays in serving Arab culture...
Albabtain: Long ago, I dreamed, and I still do, of presenting a comprehensive poetic encyclopaedia to the Arabic library that outlines the landmarks of Arabic poetry...
Khouja: Honoring creative poets is a fundamental goal among the Foundation’s objectives...
Rawdha Al-Hajj: The cultural contribution of Albabtain Foundation has extended for over 30 years, transforming into a humanitarian bridge...
Under the esteemed patronage of His Highness the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, may God protect him, the Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Cultural Foundation launched the activities of its 18th edition as a tribute to the creative poets and critics who have been awarded the Foundation's prizes in the 17th and 18th editions. This event also marks the release of Albabtain Encyclopaedia for Arab Poets in the era of states and emirates. Special recognition is given to the poets Ibn Sanaa Al-Mulk and Ibn Maleek Al-Hamawi. The inauguration ceremony took place yesterday, Sunday, the 19th of March, at the stage of the Albabtain Central Library for Arab Poetry. The event will span three days and conclude on the evening of Tuesday, the 21st of March, of the current month.
The event commenced exceptionally with its proceedings and distinguished guests. It was held under the gracious patronage of His Highness the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, may God protect him. The inauguration was officiated by the representative of His Highness, the Minister of Information and Culture and the State Minister for Youth Affairs, Abdulrahman Al-Mutairi. The event was attended by a substantial international gathering of literary figures, intellectuals, politicians, and prominent Arab thinkers.
The representative of His Highness the Amir extended a warm welcome to the guests in their second home, Kuwait, conveying to them the greetings of His Highness the Amir of the State of Kuwait. He expressed his privilege to represent His Highness in this significant cultural event, stating, "It is an honor for me to convey the greetings of His Highness the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, may God protect him, who graciously honored and encompassed this celebration with his patronage."
Al-Mutairi conveyed the wishes of His Highness the Amir for this endeavor and for the Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Prize for Poetic Creativity, hoping that the Foundation will continue its pioneering role in serving Arab culture, embracing Arab poetry and its creators, and preserving the poetic heritage, which is truly the Register of the Arabs and a record of their history.
He stated that this gathering and response to the Foundation's invitation are a significant recognition of the prominent and effective role that this Foundation plays in serving Arab culture, stemming from a country that has always been known for its sponsorship of this culture.
In his turn, the President of the Board of Trustees of the Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Cultural Foundation, the poet Dr. Abdulaziz Albabtain, warmly welcomed the esteemed audience and the guests of Kuwait. In his speech, he expressed his full appreciation and gratitude for the gracious patronage of His Highness the Amir of the State, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, "may God protect and guide him," for the 18th Edition of the Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Cultural Foundation.
In his speech, Albabtain invoked the patronage of the Kuwaiti leaders for the endeavors of the Foundation since its inception, emphasizing that the patronage of His Highness the Amir is a shining testament to the insightful vision of Kuwait's leaders regarding the value of culture, considering it as an embodiment of the spirit of the community.
He remarked, "I speak to you sincerely, my joy is immense as I look upon you in these radiant moments, as you once again fill the halls of Albabtain Central Library for Arabic Poetry, this cherished and precious place for me and for many writers and intellectuals." He added, "Kuwait, the land of the Arabs, opens its heart to you before its doors, and its benevolent, peaceful people welcome you. The very Kuwaiti people who believe in giving as a duty and in culture as a commitment. You are encompassed by the gracious patronage of its esteemed Amir, His Highness Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, may God protect him."
The President of the Board of Trustees of the Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Cultural Foundation stated addressing the audience, "Today, we gather in this cultural celebration to honor together the creative poets and critics who have won the awards of the Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Cultural Foundation in the 17th and 18th cycles after the global pandemic had forced us to postpone this tribute from its original date." He continued, "We convene today to collectively celebrate the release of 'Albabtain Encyclopaedia of Arab Poets in the Era of States and Emirates,' that massive encyclopaedic work which documents the movement of Arab poetry between the year 656 to 1215 AH, equivalent to 1258 to 1800 CE, a long period spanning over five centuries. During this era, its literary and cultural heritage has been subjected to deliberate distortion and misunderstanding."
Mr. Albabtain emphasized that "Over the course of more than 10 years, with diligent efforts from over 100 esteemed professors, researchers, scholars, and academics, in addition to 500 delegates who gathered materials for the encyclopaedia from within and outside the Arab world, they succeeded in bringing the encyclopaedia to light in 25 volumes. These volumes include biographies and poetic samples of around 10,000 poets, whose stories and poems were collected from the depths of over 2,000 sources and references, both printed and manuscript. I also extend my gratitude to the significant team of advisors, researchers, reviewers, and auditors, along with the technicians and administrators who supported them, for their dedication and commitment to realizing the desired goal of the encyclopaedia."
He stated, "I dreamed a long time ago – and still do – of presenting a comprehensive poetic encyclopaedia to the Arab library, one that sketches the outlines of Arab poetry, reveals its features, and traces its trends throughout the ages. The initial spark for this idea emerged shortly after establishing the Foundation and launching the Encyclopaedic Project. The journey began with Albabtain Encyclopaedia of Contemporary Arab Poets in 1990, and its first edition was published five years later. The editions have continued, culminating in the third edition released in 2014 across nine volumes, encompassing around 2500 poets. Currently, we are working on preparing the fourth edition, which is expected to be released next year, God willing."
He added, "It might have been a fortunate coincidence that our activities start today and reach their peak on Tuesday, the 21st of March, a day previously chosen by the United Nations as World Poetry Day. This is the same date that we have been annually celebrating, since 2008, with the Arab Poetry Spring Festival. Interestingly, it is also the same day that falls on the third Tuesday of the month, a date we had set ten months ago for the Arab Poetry Diwan in Kuwait. In conclusion, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all those who participated in this event, including the seminars and poetry evenings, taking the time out of their busy schedules to join us from their respective countries."
In response, the diplomat and poet, Dr. Abdulaziz Khouja, who was awarded the Honorary Award for his contributions to enriching the Arab poetry movement, delivered a speech on behalf of the guests. He expressed his gratitude to the President of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for the warm welcome and generous hospitality. He also conveyed his happiness for the recognition he received, describing it as an esteemed honor.
Khouja said in his speech, "It is a great honor for me to stand before you, speaking at this esteemed event on behalf of myself and the honorable guests." He praised the efforts of the Albabtain Foundation for its extensive support of cultural activities within and outside of Kuwait.
He added, "Albabtain Cultural Foundation is one of the most important institutions dedicated to Arab culture in Kuwait and the Arab world." He pointed out that since its establishment in 1989, the Foundation has taken on the responsibility of preserving and portraying the cultural and civilizational heritage, encouraging contribution and inspiration, and safeguarding and promoting Arab poetry. Over the years, the Foundation has presented numerous awards and organized programs in Arabic language, issued poetic manuscripts, translations, and other historical studies related to Andalusia and the history of poetry in the 19th and 20th centuries.
He affirmed that honoring creative poets is a fundamental goal of the Foundation, as a gesture of gratitude and recognition for the beauty that these poets bring, fortifying the spirit of the nation with their words, guarding against fragmentation and deviation. He added that the tradition of honoring poets has been present since the foundation's inception, through organizing gatherings, festivals, and poetic evenings involving thousands of poets, academics, and media figures. Additionally, the foundation has printed over 400 publications dedicated to Arab poetry.
The Sudanese poet, Rawdha Al-Hajj, represented the winners of the Foundation's awards and recited a poem from her collection titled "إذا همي مطر الكلام" (If My Concerns Were the Rain of Words), which won the award for the best poetry collection presented by the Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Cultural Foundation. Through her recitation, she showcased her talent, quality, and precision in imagery, simplicity, and beauty in meanings, modernity and objectivity in ideas, as well as the elegance and fluidity of poetic rhythm.
On behalf of the honorees, Rawdha Al-Hajj extended heartfelt gratitude to the Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Cultural Foundation for its support of poetry and poets. She added, "This Foundation’s substantial contributions have spanned over 30 years, transforming it into a humanitarian bridge."
The Sudanese poet and media personality Rawda Al-Haj won the award for the best poetry collection for her book "إذا همي مطر الكلام" (When My Concerns Are the Rain of Words), triumphing over 124 competitors. Meanwhile, the Jordanian poet Abdullah Amin Abushammis won the award for the best poem with his poem "راحيل" (Raaheel).
In the youth category, the poet Ala'a Al-Qatrawi from Palestine won the award for the best poetry collection for young poets for her book "ساقية تحاول الغناء" (A Waterwheel Trying to Sing).
In the category of the best poem for young poets, the poet Zaher Habeib from Yemen won the award for his poem "قبضة من أثر الذهول" (A Fistful of the Impact of Astonishment).
The award for the best book in poetry criticism went to the critic Moustafa Rajwan from Morocco for his book "الشعرية وانسجام الخطاب" (Poetics and the Harmony of Discourse), shared with the critic Dr. Ahmed Darwish from Egypt for his book "استقبال الشعر" (Reception of Poetry). The poet and critic Dr. Abdulaziz Khouja from Saudi Arabia received the Honorary Award for this edition.
The award received widespread participation from various parts of the Arab world, with more than 826 entries across different award categories. There were 56 entries for the category of the best book in poetry criticism, 124 entries for the best poetry collection, 341 entries for the best poem, and 98 entries for the best poetry collection by young poets. The category of the best poem by young poets had 207 participants.
During the opening day of the event, the winners of the 17th and 18th editions of the awards were honored. Following that, a first poetry evening was held, featuring poets from both within and outside Kuwait. The evening included the participation of Dr. Nasiba Bader Al-Qassaar from Kuwait, Sarah Al-Zein from Lebanon, Dr. Aref Al-Saadi from Iraq, Hussain Al-Andalib from Kuwait, Ahmed Hassan Muhammad from Egypt, Muhammad Turki Hajjaz from Jordan, and Dr. Mustura Al-Urabi from Saudi Arabia.
The poetry evening was followed by a literary session discussing "The Poetry of ibn Maleek Al-Hamawi and His Poetic Legacy." The session featured Dr. Abdullah Ghlais, who discussed "The Aesthetic Formation in the Poetry of ibn Malik Al-Hamawi." Additionally, Dr. Israa Ahmed Fawzi Al-Hayb from Syria presented on "Ibn Malik Al-Hamawi: His Life and Poetry." The session was skillfully moderated by Dr. Tahir Al-Hajjar.
The first day concluded with a second poetry evening, featuring participation from various poets. The event included Ahmed Belboula from Egypt, Ibtihal Triter from Sudan, Asil Saqlawi from Lebanon, Hawraa Al-Humaili from Saudi Arabia, Somaia Al-Yaqoubi from Tunisia, Muhammad Al-Briki from the UAE, Marwa Halawa from Syria, Wadha Al-Hasawi from Kuwait, and Walid Al-Sarraf from Iraq. The session was expertly moderated by Dr. Falah bin Tafla from Kuwait.