Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—The traditional print book has not lost its luster despite the multiple new forms of publishing made possible by the Internet and the media, Saudi Princess Hessa Bint Salman Bin Abdulaziz said in a speech last week, during an event hosted by one of the Kingdom’s most prestigious universities to celebrate World Book Day.
Princess Hessa was the guest of honor at the ceremony which was hosted by the King Saud University’s Women Campus on Thursday.
The Saudi Princess, who is an Associate Professor at the university’s Faculty of Law, said celebrating World Book Day was a significant step towards encouraging reading among all age groups, as well as an opportunity for the Kingdom’s libraries, publishers, universities and schools to work together to promote the traditional print book.
“At this celebration, which is full of highly learned and eloquent ladies—and especially after this superb program which I did not expect—it is difficult for me to find words to express my feelings. The documentary on the King Saud University library in its new [building], which I had no chance to experience as a student, makes this even more [poignant] and almost tempts me to become a student once again. I am glad, however, and I thank God that, as a member of staff at this university, I am still able to enjoy the cool of its abundant palm-trees,” she said.
The Princess also praised the 58-year-old educational institution for its role in encouraging reading among Saudis and providing knowledge to the Kingdom’s scholars and higher education centers.
“One of the characteristics of our precious homeland and of our generous people is the capacity to break the rules when circumstances necessitate generosity and the willingness to give. As one of the oldest of our prestigious universities, of which we are rightly proud, on a global level, the King Saud University and its library form a fountain that feeds numerous scientific and cultural establishments as well as individuals. Thanks are due to God for enabling us to surpass a stage chosen by our country, the land of Islam, to consolidate peace and confirm our tolerant creed.”
She also took the chance to offer her condolences to the families of the Saudi soldiers who have sacrificed their lives for the Kingdom recently.
“Let us first of all share honor and condolences with the mothers and families of those who offered their lives for the country. Let us share it too with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques [Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Bin Abdulaziz] and our firm leadership. It suffices for us that we are embarking on a stage of hope in the future and of reconstruction which has led us to this gathering to celebrate World Book Day with other universities the world over. Everywhere universities are sources of renewal and development for their countries; on them falls the task of establishing firm foundations for progress and enlightenment as well as demolishing ignorance and backwardness. This role becomes doubly effective when it is backed by support from the highest authorities in the state. This support can take a variety of forms including solving any pending problems and facilitating the different projects and initiatives of those universities.”
The Princess thanked the administration of the King Saud University for inviting her to attend the celebrations, calling on the Kingdom’s other higher education institutions to organize similar events.
Princess Hessa concluded her speech by extending her thanks to King Salman for giving “special support and aid to the [Kingdom’s] universities.”