The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation (MBRF), a leading initiative working to spread knowledge and foster ideas and innovation, today announced the completion of the preparatory phase of the ‘Encyclopedia of Arab Narrative’, authored by Dr. Abdullah Ibrahim, an Iraqi critic and professor who has specialized in narrative studies and culture, and is the recipient of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award in 2013. With this, the keenly awaited encyclopedia is ready for publication, MBRF said.
MBRF had signed an agreement with Dr Ibrahim in 2008 for the encyclopedia. However, the research and collection of materials for the project had started nearly 20 years back with Dr. Ibrahim spending the last ten years in writing, relying on hundreds of ancient and modern sources and references.
The announcement of the encyclopedia entering the printing and publishing phase was made at a ceremony hosted by the Jamal Bin Huwaireb Library in the presence of His Excellency Jamal Bin Huwaireb, Managing Director of MBRF, Dr. Abdullah Ibrahim, and a group of intellectuals, journalists and staff of the Foundation.
Comprising eight volumes, the encyclopedia contains critical data on the development of the narrative genre of Arab literature and its salient features. It also explores the evolution of the Arabic narrative tradition through various periods of the region’s literary history, starting with the pre-Islamic era and extending over a period of almost 15 centuries, highlighting key features of both classical and contemporary Arabic narratives.
Speaking on the occasion, H.E. Jamal Bin Huwaireb said: “MBRF is committed to leverage knowledge and culture in the efforts to strengthen the position of Dubai as a leading cultural and literary platform under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. The support for the ‘Encyclopedia of Arab Narrative’ comes within the objectives of the MBRF to encourage leading Arab talents and add value to their efforts by highlighting their literary works before the world.”
"The Foundation is proud to support the encyclopedia in its publication, both on paper and digitally, in view of the exceptional value it represents in the field of Arabic literary analysis. With the publication getting completed soon, the encyclopedia will be distributed locally and across the Arab world, adding to the list of distinguished initiatives undertaken by the Foundation,” Bin Huwaireb added.
The ‘Encyclopedia of Arab Narrative’ is the second encyclopedia produced by MBRF. Earlier, the Foundation produced the English edition of the ‘Encyclopedia of Arab-Islamic Civilization in Sicily’, which documents a key period of Arab civilization, offering valuable resources for researchers and historians interested in Sicily and its historical relationship with the Arab region and the Islamic world.
Dr. Abdullah Ibrahim said: “I express my sincere appreciation to MBRF for supporting the encyclopedia project, which reflects the leading cultural position of the UAE in general and Dubai in particular. I would also like to thank MBRF for its important role in spreading cultural and literary awareness, and I am honoured to cooperate with the Foundation in the future initiatives and contribute to the development of literature in the Arab world.”
A cultural advisor at the National Council for Culture, Arts and Heritage, Qatar, Dr. Ibrahim contributed with his extensive expertise, leading the research team involved in the development of the encyclopedia. Dr. Ibrahim is an authority in literary research who, in addition to his widely acclaimed academic research at a number of leading Iraqi and Qatari universities, has contributed to several regional and international literary forums. Dr. Ibrahim participated as a researcher in Cambridge Encyclopedia of Arabic Literary Studies and earned a doctorate in Arabic literature in 1991 from the Faculty of Arts at the University of Baghdad. He also won the King Faisal International Prize for Arabic Language and Literature in 2014.