On the occasion of World Cities’ Day, celebrated on 31 October, UNESCO designated Beirut Creative City for Literature. With this annoucement, Beirut joins the Organization’s Network of Creative Cities, which now number a total of 246 members. The Network brings together cities that base their development on creativity, whether in music, arts and folk crafts, design, cinema, literature, digital arts or gastronomy.
UNESCO creative cities commit to placing culture at the centre of their development strategies and to share their best practices.
“All over the world, these cities, each in its way, make culture the pillar, not an accessory, of their strategy,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “This favours political and social innovation and is particularly important for the young generations.”
Lebanon's Ambassador to UNESCO Sahar Baassiri explained that this announcement is a recognition by UNESCO of the special creative and cultural status of Beirut, especially in the literary field. This city has played for decades a leading role in publishing, translation and book fairs organization; it has hosted distinguished universities and cultural clubs; and it has embraced writers and poets from across the Arab world, who were attracted by its open intellectual environment and its free media.