Sharjah named World Book Capital 2019
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.
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.
"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" Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, declared.
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.
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.
Running parallel to this chain of events, Sharjah will also launch Sharjah Publishing City, a space entirely dedicated to publishing and printing. It will be the first place of the kind in the region, specifically developed to meet the needs of companies and institutions operating in the publishing field. Its objective is to reinforce the book industry by encouraging the widespread production and dissemination of publications in the Arab world.
The year of celebrations will start on 23 April, 2019, on the World Book and Copyright Day.
Cities designated as UNESCO World Book Capital undertake to promote books and reading and to organize activities over the year. As the nineteenth cities to bear the title since 2001, Sharjah follows Athens (2018) and Conakry (2017). Past winners include Madrid (2001), Alexandria (2002), New Delhi (2003), Anvers (2004), Montreal (2005), Turin (2006), Bogota (2007), Amsterdam(2008), Beirut (2009), Ljubljana (2010), Buenos Aires (2011), Erevan (2012), Bangkok (2013), Port Harcourt (2014), Incheon (2015), Wroclaw (2016).
The application of the city of Sharjah was accepted by an Advisory Committee, comprising representatives of the International Publisher's Association (IPA), the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) and UNESCO.