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May 24, 2010

Qatar Foundation, Library of Congress Sign Memorandum of Understanding

Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al-Missned, wife of the Emir of Qatar, Chairperson of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development and UNESCO Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education, visited the Library of Congress today, where she met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Librarian of Congress James H. Billington to discuss cooperation between the Qatar Foundation and the Library.

The Qatar Foundation is a founding partner of the World Digital Library (WDL), a project launched by the Library of Congress and UNESCO to place on the Internet important cultural and historical documents and to make them accessible, free of charge and in multilingual format, to users worldwide. Seventy-five partner institutions from 50 countries are participating in the project. The Qatar Foundation contributes to the WDL by providing through its Central Library cultural content, personnel and financial support.

"The World Digital Library, an asset to lovers of learning all over the world, owes its existence to the leadership and generosity of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and Her Highness Sheikha Mozah of Qatar and their ongoing support," Dr. Billington said. "As its digital assets increase, the world’s capacity for understanding will increase as well."

On the occasion of the visit of Her Highness, the Qatar Foundation and the Library of Congress signed a memorandum of understanding outlining joint efforts and expanded cooperation in four areas: (1) adding Arabic-language books, manuscripts, and other works to the WDL, with the intention of making these works better known and more accessible in both the Arabic-speaking and non-Arabic-speaking worlds; (2) including works of Arab science and technology in the WDL and promoting the WDL as a vehicle for increasing understanding of the achievements of Arab science in both the Arabic-speaking and non-Arabic speaking worlds; (3) increasing the number of institutions from the Arab world that are partners in the project; and (4) increasing the use of the WDL by students and educators in the Arab world.

Her Highness was accompanied by a delegation that included Dr. Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, Vice President for Education of the Qatar Foundation. Her Highness and her delegation examined rare Arabic books and manuscripts from the collections of the Library of Congress that are included in the WDL, and were briefed by the WDL staff on future plans for the project, especially as they relate to the Arabic-language interface and to the addition of content from and about the Arab world.

Her Highness and Speaker Pelosi also were given a tour of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress that included a visit to the personal library of Thomas Jefferson and demonstrations of how the Library combines the display of actual historical documents with interactive displays in its educational outreach to students, teachers and the general public.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library's rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at myLOC.gov. The World Digital Library is on the web at www.wdl.org.

The Qatar Foundation was established in 1995 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar, as a vehicle to convert the country's current, but temporary, mineral wealth into durable human capital. Qatar Foundation is dedicated to building human capital in a part of the world where the need and potential for human development are considerable. Through its threefold mission of education, scientific research and community development, it is helping build a sustainable society where the sharing and creation of knowledge will enhance quality of life for all. It sets out to be an asset not just for Qatar but for the entire Middle East region and beyond, and it already touches communities and individuals well beyond the country's borders. Qatar Foundation's flagship project is Education City, a 1,000-hectare campus on the edge of Doha where most of its member institutions are located. Learn more about the Qatar Foundation at www.qf.org.qa (external link).

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PR 10-120
05/24/10
ISSN 0731-3527

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