» Princess Dana Firas participates in the anniversary ceremony of the Qatar National Library
24.06.2019 - Honorary and Goodwill Ambassadors

Princess Dana Firas participates in the anniversary ceremony of the Qatar National Library

© Petra National Trust

On 17 May 2019, the Qatar National Library held a ceremony in honor of its first year anniversary. On that day of conferences, HRH Princess Dana Firas of Jordan, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and President of the Petra National Trust, gave the keynote speech.

Since July 2018, UNESCO and the Qatar National Library have mutually committed to the project entitled “Supporting Documentary Heritage Libraries in the Arab Region”. This agreement, thus, strengthens the role of Qatar National Library and UNESCO in preserving the rich cultural heritage present in libraries across the Arab region. The library was inaugurated on 16 April 2018, and welcomed more than 700,000 visitors. With more than one million books borrowed, success was immediate. Above all, thanks to a partnership with the British Library, it has digitalized and made accessible 1, 5 million pages of historical records on Qatar and the Gulf, which were previously housed in its British equivalent. With more than 4,000,000 digitalized on History matters and almost 175,000 rare items in its possession, Qatar National Library has become an institution of reference for Arabic and Islamic heritage and civilization.

A conference has thus been held the 16 April in order to celebrate the first anniversary of the library’s opening. Princess Dana Firas, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, delivered the keynote speech of the conference. The latter focused on the crucial relationship between cultural heritage and human rights and especially the role heritage plays in maintaining the identity, history and cultural legacy of communities in the Arab region.

In her capacity as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Princess Dana Firas reminded: “We are blessed in our region with innumerable natural and cultural treasures and an exceptionally rich heritage. […] One challenge that many World Heritage sites face today is badly managed tourism and the over exploitation of cultural and natural heritage. Tourism has the potential to reach communities long forgotten by mainstream development and business ventures; it can continue to prosper even in the face of financial crises and economic slowdowns; it can provide jobs when most needed, and if harnessed properly it can contribute to conserving nature and preserving historic sites and cultural traditions.”

Through her words and her commitment, Princess Dana Firas goes in the direction of UNESCO’s unerring commitment  in favor of the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.

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