The Birmingham Qur'an Manuscript, in digital form, is to be the centrepiece of the royal launch of the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Cultural Collaboration.

Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will attend the launch at Al Jahili Fort, Al Ain, on Monday 7 November.

It is the first time the digital exhibition of the Birmingham Qur’an will go on display outside the UK and it will form part of the UK/UAE 2017 events in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Sue Worral, University of Birmingham 2

In a written foreword for The Ancient Qur’anic Leaves exhibition catalogue, the Prince of Wales, said: “As the British Patron of U.K./U.A.E. 2017, I could not be more delighted that the extraordinary Birmingham Qur’an Manuscript is being exhibited in the United Arab Emirates as a centrepiece of the year's events.

“These remarkable leaves, which are amongst the world’s oldest Qur’anic fragments, represent a sacred document of immense religious and cultural significance to people across the globe. The Manuscript's discovery captured the world’s imagination and its first public exhibition at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom attracted visitors from across the world.

“At a time when so much of mankind's cultural heritage is being deliberately destroyed or threatened, we can only be heartened by the discovery of a previously unrecognised treasure.”

The discovery last year that a Qur’an manuscript, held by the University of Birmingham, was among the oldest in the world sparked unprecedented public interest and excitement.

Radiocarbon analysis dated the parchment on which the text is written to the period between AD 568 and 645 with 95.4per cent accuracy, placing the leaves close to the time of the Prophet Muhammad, who is generally thought to have lived between AD 570 and 632.

A public exhibition held at the University drew visitors from around the world.

“Universities remain at the heart of cultural activity, acting as stewards of some of the world’s most significant collections and offering opportunities for research that can illuminate, enrich and enhance our knowledge of these great cultural assets.

“It is my great pleasure to be supporting the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Creative Collaboration by curating the first digital exhibition of the Birmingham Qur’an manuscript.”

Gavin Anderson, Director UAE at British Council, said: “The UK and the UAE have a long history of collaboration and the preservation and display of this historic manuscript is the perfect example of how this collaboration continues to this day. We’re delighted to support the University of Birmingham to bring this exciting digital exhibition to Dubai and Abu Dhabi as part of UK/UAE 2017, our exciting new year of cultural collaboration.

“The purpose of UK/UAE 2017 is to strengthen creative collaborations between the UK and the UAE in order to give a greater focus, depth and contemporary relevance to the long standing relationship between both nations.”

For more information please contact Deborah Walker, Head of Communications on +44 (0)121 414 5134 or +44 (0)7776 465 138 (mobile). Out of hours please call +44 (0) 7789 921165 or email the Press Office.

The University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.

Cadbury Research Library

The Cadbury Research Library (CRL) is the name of the University of Birmingham’s Special Collections department. The CRL holds more than four million manuscripts and 200,000 rare books, including the Mingana Collection of more than 3,000 Middle Eastern Manuscripts, which is designated as being of ‘Outstanding International Importance’ by Arts Council England. Susan Worrall is Director of the CRL. The facility is open to all interested researchers.

UK/UAE 2017

UK/UAE 2017 is a year of creative collaboration and cultural exchange between the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, organised by British Council, the UK’s international organisation for education and culture, under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and HRH The Prince of Wales. The purpose of UK/UAE 2017 is to celebrate the long-standing relationship between the UK and the UAE, giving it greater focus, depth and contemporary relevance. Throughout 2017, British Council will collaborate with a wide range of British and Emirati partners to create a diverse programme that spans the arts, literature, education, society, sport, science and trade. Through exploring the ways in which our respective cultural heritage and contemporary creative expression inspires innovation in all sectors and all areas of society, UK/UAE 2017 will strengthen cultural and economic ties between the two nations and identify major opportunities for future collaboration on both sides.

For further information and enquiries please visit the British Council UK/UAE 2017 website

The Royal Visit

To keep up to date with Their Royal Highnesses’s visit to Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, follow @ClarenceHouse on Twitter and Instagram, like @TheBritishMonarchy on Facebook and visit The Royal Channel on YouTube. You can also keep up to date with the Royal visit by following the hashtags: #RoyalVisitUAE

For more information about The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visit their website.