Omani cultural heritage wows Lithuanians
December 29, 2018 | 8:32 PM
by Times News Service
Arabic language students of Vilnius University. -Supplied photo

Vilnius: Oman’s deep heritage and culture were shared by hundreds of visitors in Lithuania, as the Sultanate marked the UN Arabic Language Day in the city of Vilnius.

It was held in collaboration with Oman’s Honorary Consulate in Lithuania, which teamed up with UNESCO to celebrate the UN Arabic Language Day in Lithuania, hosting more than a dozen free events to educate people over the Arab language and culture.

Held also in cooperation with foreign offices of Lithuania and the United Arab Emirates, the Library of Alexandria in Egypt, as well as many other Lithuanian and foreign institutions, the events included discussions on the language, film screenings, literary readings, exhibition of Arabic calligraphy, and a translation contest.

Hundreds of people attended the events which took place at Vilnius University in the Lithuanian capital, and were given a first-hand view into a broader representation of the Arabic literary culture, the revealing of historical and artistic aspects related to the Arabic language, and encouraging the translation of Arabic-language literary works.

On the evening of November 18, a special reception was launched by Boleta Senkienė, the Honorary Consul of the Sultanate of Oman. She said she was surprised by the number of participants and visitors the events attracted.

“I am extremely pleased the events aimed at representing Arabic culture have already become a tradition here,” she told Times of Oman. “Both this year and in September 2017, we saw plenty of people attending. I believe such a cultural exchange is of utmost value in today’s globalised world.”

Senkienė also outlined her most recent initiative to foster bilateral ties between Oman and Lithuania. The Honorary Consulate in Vilnius has been in contact with several institutions in Oman to arrange scholarships for three students who learn the Arabic language at Vilnius University, to spend several months in Oman to improve their language skills.

She also confirmed that the Sultanate would take part, for the fourth time, in the International Vilnius Book Fair next February. In cooperation with partners in Oman, the Honorary Consulate was able to invite an Omani poet, Hilal Al Hajri, to take part in the Arabic Language Day in Vilnius. This was his second visit to Lithuania, having previously come to the country to take part in this year’s Vilnius Book Fair.

He was one of the speakers at the symposium dedicated to Orientalism, took part in a discussion about current trends in Arabic literature, and arranged the reading of his own poetry.

“I bought an English-language anthology of the Lithuanian poetry at the fair,” recalled Al Hajri. “I was amazed by what I read. I like it so much that I even translated a poem by Lithuanian poet Daiva Čepauskaitė into Arabic and posted it on the Internet.”

The Arabic Language Day also saw the announcement of the upcoming release of an Arabic-Lithuanian dictionary by Maritana Larbi, a lecturer of the Centre of Orientalism at Vilnius University.

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