This is a weekly post by Nidhal Guessoum (see his earlier posts here). Nidhal is an astrophysicist and Professor of Physics at American University of Sharjah and is the author of Islam's Quantum Question: Reconciling Muslim Tradition and Modern Science.
The Annual Book Fair here in Sharjah (UAE) just ended. It’s a great opportunity for thousands of people to go bulk up on books of all kinds and various languages – often at greatly reduced prices. It is also a great occasion to browse through the book shelves of various publishers, from very low to very high brows, and to meet and/or listen to authors who are invited for talks, interviews, readings, and book signings… And last but not least, the Sharjah Book Fair organizers put strong efforts in making it attractive to children and families: a large section (hundreds of square meters) is reserved for kids, proposing books and activities. There is a good, extensive website for the fair, here.
A year ago, I reported here on Irtiqa about the gems I had found in the Sharjah Book Fair, books that presented some of the important scientific contributions made by Muslim scholars in the classical era (Ibn Al-Haytham, Al-Biruni, etc.). Those gems have been published by the London-based Al-Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation, which produces quality works in the area of Islamic Heritage.
This year, I found some gems produced by an important UAE institution, the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, and I here would like to highlight the great work that’s being done by this center, work which includes the publishing of dozens of books and hundreds of booklets, not to mention journal publications. As you will see below, the agenda and activity of the center are quite remarkable, and if this were not enough, they sell their books at the Fair at amazingly low prices.
Let me first mention the 3 books (edited volumes) and 1 monograph (from an invited lecture) that I purchased, to give you an idea:
· Nuclear Energy in the Gulf
· Education in the UAE: Current Status and Future Developments
· Future Arabian Gulf Energy Sources: Hydrocarbon, Nuclear or Renewable?
Nuclear Program: Security Implications for the UAE and the Gulf Region – authored by Richard L. Russell
The Center (ECSSR) publishes books, monographs, and occasional papers in both Arabic and English. Oftentimes, the same title is published in both languages, to maximize benefit to researchers, policymakers, and students. And in order to suit different budgets, the books are published in hardcover and paperback. The full list of publications can be found here, with “quick links” (in the sidebar) to books, occasional papers, etc., in English and in Arabic.
Let me now give an abbreviated description of the center, its objectives and activity, in an effort to help readers of Irtiqa (researchers, policymakers, students) take advantage of this institution and its resources.
ECSSR was established in March 1994 by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, then Crown Prince and now President of the UAE. The mission of the center was/is to provide in-depth strategic studies and analyses of political, economic, and social issues of relevance to the UAE. The center is also meant to provide continuing and vital training to researchers, particularly Emiratis, in fields that the country will need solid expertise to address.
Hence, the activities that ECSSR carries out (to achieve those objectives) include:
· Conducting studies and research on topics of national security and socio-economic importance to the country and the region;
· Providing consultative services to official institutions (governmental departments, in particular), in part by preparing reports and memoranda on best policy scenarios;
· Providing educational services to the public at large through: a) convening symposia, lectures, and conferences on topics of great relevance to the country and the region (such as “Education and the Requirements of the GCC Labor Market”, held in February 2010) and through training programs; b) publishing books and studies, as well as monographs and academic journals; c) supporting authors and researchers and producing translations of important works published in the region and beyond;
· Giving out awards for outstanding work (research, book, etc.).
To help interested researchers and other potential participants in the Center’s various programs achieve the above objectives, the Center provides a number of useful documents, such as:
· Application forms for:
I hope the above information is useful to researchers and students everywhere. This can be relevant to a variety of fields and disciplines, from education to sociology, economic policy, military issues, and many others. The books are often of high quality, both in content and in production standards, and prices vary from $3 (for booklets and papers) to $100 (thick hardcover volumes). But in book fairs, such as Sharjah’s, one can get discounts of up to 80 % …