Proposing community-focused activity programme, UAE promotes culture of reading
Sharjah (United Arab Emirates) was named World Book Capital for the year 2019 by the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee which met at the Headquarters of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) at La Haye.
Unesco decided to name Sharjah as the 19th World Book Capital on the recommendation by an advisory committee that includes IPA and Unesco representatives, among others.
How Sharjah won the title?
The city was selected because of the very innovative, comprehensive and inclusive nature of the application, with a community-focused activity program containing creative proposals to engage the very large migrant population.
With the slogan “Read – you are in Sharjah“, the program focuses on six themes: inclusivity, reading, heritage, outreach, publishing, and children. Among other things, there will be a conference on freedom of speech, a contest for young poets, workshops for creating Braille books and tactile books as well as many events for Sharjah’s multi-ethnic population.
Open books, open minds
The city’s objective is to foster a culture of reading in the United Arab Emirates and birth new initiatives to meet the challenge of literary creation in the area and in the rest of the Arab world.
To mark the occasion, Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, declared, “I applaud the nomination of Sharjah as the World Book Capital as well as the efforts undertaken by the city in order to make reading available to as many people as possible, in particular the marginalized populations, as a motor for social inclusion, creativity, and dialogue”
Sharjah’s “integrated system” of publishers, libraries, booksellers, and authors working together to promote reading was the main dealmaker in its acceptance as World Book Capital 2019, the president of International Publishers Association (IPA) told Gulf News.
Strength of Sharjah’s Pillars
Setzer, who is on a visit to Sharjah, said “the emirate has two main pillars supporting its recognition as World Book Capital. One is continuous investment in education and literacy and the other is an integrated system of stakeholders in the publishing industry.” “It is this strength that made Sharjah stand out from many other aspirants for World Book Capital”.