On 11–19 December, the Director-General of the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania Prof. Dr. Renaldas Gudauskas was on a professional trip to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where he visited the exhibition Expo 2020 and participated at meetings dealing with possibilities for the development of international and interinstitutional cooperation.
At Expo 2020, Director-General Gudauskas observed the poster of the National Library mounted in Lithuania’s pavilion: an interactive narrative, created specifically for this exhibition, about the Lithuanian classical literary author Kristijonas Donelaitis and his most well-known work Metai (‘The Seasons’). On 14 December, he took part at the discussion forum ‘Rethinking Education for a World of Change’, where he, together with other invited experts, well-known representatives of their respective domains from all over the world, shared experience and insights regarding the state of education in today’s world and explored ways to provide young people more opportunities for their development and prosperity. In the discussion, Director-General Gudauskas highlighted the contribution by the National Library, an active participator within the field of cultural education, (through its everyday activities as well as through national projects) and the indisputable role of libraries and their potential within the field of lifelong learning. Read more about the discussion held during the theme week ‘Knowledge and Learning’ on 12–18 December here.
On 15–16 December, the chief executive of the National Library participated at formal meetings, which discussed possibilities for the development of international and interinstitutional cooperation. During a meeting with the management of the Department of Culture and Tourism of UAE, an agreement was reached to exchange publications, initiate translations of works into Arabic, implement joint projects for illustrating children’s books, and organise other partnership activities. The parties agreed to exchange suggestions regarding the shaping of the content of the Letter of Intent. At this meeting, the National Library received, as a donation, a number of valuable publications presenting in detail the culture and history of UAE.
During his visit, Director-General Gudauskas also visited the UAE Presidential Palace and the Presidential Library Qasr Al Watan in Abu Dabi, the Shardja Public Library, and the Abu Dabi Children’s Library. A major focus at the meetings was on activities of the National Library: the participants were interested in our experience in the implementation of national-level projects and the initiation of intersectoral cooperation as well as in the promotion of leadership when developing infrastructure and qualification schemes. The acquaintance with the cultural heritage of the United Arab Emirates, as well as with the potential for its preservation and promotion, served as an inspiration to undertake new cultural diplomacy initiatives.
The closing event of the official visit took place in Lithuania’s pavilion at Expo 2020 Openarium, where Director-General Gudauskas presented the model as well as operational activities and strategic strands of Lithuania’s National Library, which are now under development. Renaldas Gudauskas presented the Library as a modern and unique space open for creative activity, sustainability, communal spirit, and innovations.
The organisers of the visit by the National Library’s chief executive are the team of the Lithuanian pavilion at Expo 2020 and the Lithuanian Embassy to UAE. The exhibition will be open until 31 March, 2022.