Alserkal Avenue’s latest gem is a literary sanctuary brought to life by Dubai’s Fiker Institute, which proudly unveiled its new Politics and Culture Library this past Saturday.
Founded two years ago by Emirati author and Rhodes scholar, Dubai Abulhoul, the Fiker Institute aspires to provide Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa with a platform to reclaim their narratives, seeking to challenge decades of one-sided thinking and analysis about the region. In conversation with The National, Abulhoul stresses, “In light of the devastating humanitarian crisis in Gaza, our mission is as crucial and critical as ever. At Fiker Institute, we want to shift the Middle East from being merely a talking point to actively engaging in discourse—on its own terms, as an equal player within the international community.”
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Fiker Institute has been a prolific source of insightful content, publishing a myriad of essays, explainers, and issue briefs authored by Arab researchers, writers, and contributors. The topics explored range from colonial legacies, climate change, and Western interventions to the evolution of print culture in the MENA region, offering a diverse array of material for exploration.
Elevating their collective efforts, Fiker’s library extends a warm invitation to readers, writers, artists, researchers, diplomats, and policymakers to immerse themselves in its intellectual space. Here, questions pertaining to world history, global politics, and contemporary culture are not only welcomed but actively encouraged.
“Through our interdisciplinary book curation, visitors are encouraged to critically examine and confront western-dominated narratives that have too often been conflated as universal truths,” Abulhoul told the publication. With a strong focus on culture and politics, the library features over 15,000 bilingual books, spanning over 40 book categories, promising to be a “living library” that continuously evolves with the suggestions and support of the community.
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Abulhoul emphasizes the library’s unique approach to organization, stating, “Instead of categorizing books into titles such as ‘History’ or ‘Geography’, we are instead introducing them in themes like instability, violence, hegemony, choices, racism, and change. What happens to our understanding of international affairs if we no longer see time and chronology as the only way to make sense of events, and instead try to trace back history through such themes as fear and courage, or hypocrisy and betrayal?”
Fiker Institute’s library is housed in warehouse 88 in Alserkal Avenue, inviting all to explore its intellectual haven. It’s an opportunity to engage in meaningful contemplation and savor some intellectual nourishment— some food for thought.