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The Library of Alexandria: Rebirth and Revolution

Monday, 26 November 2018, 6:30 – 8pm

The Library of Alexandria:  Rebirth and Revolution

The inaugural lecture of the new three year lecture series 'Out of the Ashes' will be presented by Ismail Serageldin, Founding Director Emeritus, Bibliotheca Alexandrina. 

In the first lecture of the series, Ismail Serageldin, Founding Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA), the new Library of Alexandria inaugurated in 2002, will consider the rebirth of the ancient Library and threats to its survival in the face of ongoing turmoil in the region.

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The Ancient Library of Alexandria, established in 288 BC, captured the imagination of the world and remains one of the greatest adventures of the human intellect.  It became the greatest library of the age, assembling almost every possible written text known at the time until a series of fires destroyed the ancient library and by 400 AD it was no more. But its memory continued to haunt the world.  1600 years later it was revived on the same spot. The new, Reborn Bibliotheca Alexandrina annually receives around 900,000 visitors and holds around 1,100 events and its websites receive close to three million hits a day. It is a wonderful validation of libraries in a time of change. But in the revolutionary turmoil of this region, what will become of this reborn Bibliotheca Alexandrina?  Will it survive?

Ismail Serageldin

The Founding Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Ismail Serageldin is currently Emeritus Librarian and member of the Board of Trustees of the Library of Alexandria. He also acts as an advisor to the Egyptian Prime Minister and serves as chair and member of a number of committees for academic, research, scientific and international institutions. Serageldin holds a PhD from Harvard University and 38 honorary doctorates. He is the recipient of 18 prestigious international awards and has published over 100 books, and over 500 papers on topics including biotechnology, rural development, sustainability and the value of science. In addition, Serageldin has hosted over 130 episodes of a cultural television series in Egypt and developed an Arabic and English language science television series. 

About the the series

Creating, destroying and recovering human knowledge and cultural heritage—these are themes with enormous contemporary resonance. They are also processes with a deep history, both in an Irish context and across the globe.

This three-year lecture series explores the theme of cultural loss and recovery across the centuries, from the Library of Alexandria in antiquity to the destruction of the Public Record Office of Ireland at the outset of the Irish Civil War in 1922. Lectures will reflect on how societies deal with cultural trauma through reconstruction and commemoration, and on how the international community should respond to contemporary acts of cultural atrocity.

The series is global in scope, pan-historical and multi-disciplinary in approach, and features a panel of international scholars and practitioners of the highest calibre

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Find out more about the series here

Campus LocationThomas Davis
Accessibility: All levels
Room: Edmund Burke Theatre
Research Theme: Identities in Transformation
Event Category: Alumni, Arts and Culture, Lectures and Seminars, Library, Public
Type of Event: One-time event
Audience: Undergrad, Postgrad, Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Public
Cost: Free (but registration is essential)
Contact Name: Trinity Long Room Hub

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