On UNIC Manama’s initiative, the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) including both resident and non-resident agencies in Bahrain and in the region, namely, UNDP Bahrain, UNEP ROWA, UNIDO Bahrain, UN-Habitat (Amman), UNICEF (Gulf Area Office), WHO EMRO (Cairo) and ILO (Beirut) participated at the 15th Bahrain International Book Fair 2012 organized by Bahrain’s Ministry of Culture, from 22 March to 01 April 2012 at the Bahrain International Exhibition Centre. At UNIC’s initiative, the Ministry of Culture provided the UNCT with a free stand at the book fair. The UNCT contributed to the UN presence at the fair by sending in their latest reports and publications that were displayed and distributed free of charge to visitors who visited the stand, including, ministers, ambassadors, members of parliament, students from various schools and universities, academia, civil society and the general public. The theme of the UN stand was the Millennium Development Goals that were highlighted through posters and roll ups. In an effort to make the UN participation and presence at the book fair more effective and interactive, several events were organized at the UN stand at the sidelines of the fair, including:
• Three separate painting sessions led by renowned Bahraini Painter, Mr Abbas Al Mosawi on 22, 23 and 28 March 2012 respectively involving young children from the Budaiya Preschool (5 years of age), Modern Knowledge School (10-12 years of age) and Al Ahlia Preschool (5 years of age). On each occasion, the students were asked to depict their idea of a world filled with peace. In addition to the painting sessions, Mr Al Mosawi devoted special paintings focusing on peace and women, that were displayed at the UN stand during the entire duration of the fair.
• An interview by Bahrain TV on 25 March 2012 in commemoration of World Water Day focusing on water scarcity and conservation in the region particularly in Bahrain that involved Mr Nejib Friji UNIC Director, Mr Abdallah Ali Abdallah from Electricity and Water Authority of Bahrain, Mr Fouad Abu Samra, UNEP ROWA, Mr Waleed K. Al-Zubari from the Arabian Gulf University and Ms Jehan Al Murbati, UNDP Bahrain. The programme was telecast by Bahrain TV on the same day during their news time at 15:00 hrs, 20:00 hrs and 22:00 hrs respectively.
• A science experiment show entitled “Discover the Power of Science & Nature” organized free of charge by “Mad Science” group which was well received by all the young children who were bought to the book fair by their schools as a part of their field trip.
Furthermore, on opening day (22 March), the UNIC Director was interviewed by Al Watan Newspaper, Bahrain TV, Al Arabiya TV, Al Sebah Tunisian Daily, Qatar TV, Egyptian News Agency and the Tunisian Radio regarding the UN’s participation at the book fair.