In keeping with its dedication to promoting Sharjah’s cultural vision, the Sharjah World Book Capital Office (SWBC Office 2019) was at International Publishers Association (IPA)’s second regional seminar in Africa, held in Nairobi, Kenya.
Themed ‘Africa Rising: Realising Africa’s Potential as a Global Publishing Leader in the 21st Century’, the two-day seminar organised by IPA and the Kenya Publishers Association (KPA), brought together over 600 participants, speakers, publishers and authors from 50 countries to shed light on the pillars of sustainable development in Africa.
During their participation, the SWBC Office shared Sharjah’s plans to celebrate its selection as the UNESCO World Book Capital 2019, in addition to SWBC’s programme of activities aimed at promoting reading in the UAE and the region. The office highlighted the key pillars on which the year-long celebrations have been based. The office also remarked that the programme has dedicated an array of activities to engage children and youth more effectively with books and reading, as well as other programmes featuring arts, literature and science under the SWBC 2019 theme, ‘Open Books… Open Minds’.
Marwa Al Aqroubi, Project Manager of SWBC 2019, pointed out that the office is taking significant steps this year to create a robust culture of reading in the nation, as it is key to furthering human development. She noted that reading contributes to improving cross-cultural communication by bettering one knowledge and understanding of others, and enables people to exchange ideas and expertise. She underscored that being part of this IPA regional seminar in Africa has helped SWBC Office showcase Sharjah’s leading cultural efforts to African intellectuals, authors and publishers.
Marwa Al Aqroubi said: “By being part of this important event, we emphasise Sharjah’s role in offering authors, publishers and intellectuals around the world opportunities that are pivotal to elevating the realities of reading and publishing, in the region and beyond. Our participation reasserts our belief in books as instruments of progress. Communities that aspire for advancement must take on present and future challenges with this core understanding in mind, and in cooperation with all like-minded entities that support reading and promote knowledge across nations.”
The committee at UNESCO named Sharjah the World Book Capital 2019 in appreciation of its vital role in supporting books and promoting reading. The year-long celebration programme was inaugurated on 23 April 2019.
Since 2001, the World Book Capital’s international Committee, which comprises representatives from the International Publishers Association (IPA), International Booksellers Federation (IBF) and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), receives and evaluates entries submitted by world cities to select the World Book Capital for a one-year period.