On 25 October 2011 the Italian Corner of the National Library of Bahrein, housed in the prestigious Shaikh Isa Cultural Centre in Manama alongside the “Al Fateh” Grand Mosque, will be opened. With over 300 books, the Italian Corner will be the biggest Italian library in the Persian Gulf.
The aim of the initiative is to promote not just Italian culture but the publishers who have taken part by each donating a selection of books. Participating publishing houses to date are Adelphi,Einaudi, Electa, Garzanti, Marsilio, Arnoldo Mondadori, Piemme and Carlo Signorelli. Others are expected to join them, with the Library thus expected to grow in the coming months.
The books span different genres and include fiction and non-fiction, as well as, of course, art books. Preceded at the global level only by United States and Japan, Italy is the first European country to be given a space in the National Library of Bahrain
The Library is a public institution and is open to both nationals and foreign residents. Bahrain, like the other Gulf countries, has an Italian community and there is considerable interest in our language on the part of the local population and Arab communities from Mediterranean countries nearer to Italy (Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon).
The opening of the Italian Corner will be the main event of the 11th “Italian Language in the World” Week, which runs from 23 to 30 October. Other events during the “Week” include a second meeting between Bahrainis who have studied in Italy and a double lecture on the Unification of Italy. The two topics are: “Building the Nation. Italy and the Risorgimento (1794-1871). A historic interpretation”, by Prof. Carmine Pinto from the University of Salerno; and “The Unity of Italy and the Creation of a National Architecture” by Prof. Filippo Beltrami Gadola of the New York Institute of Technology in Bahrain.