Sharjah World Book Capital Office reviews emirate’s cultural achievements at Moscow International Book Fair

SWBC Panel at Moscow Book Fair Offers a Blueprint to Cities Aspiring for World Book Capital Title MOSCOW, As Sharjah celebrates its ‘Guest City’, status at the ongoing Moscow International Book Fair,MIBF 2019, Sharjah World Book Capital Office,SWBC Office, has offered publishing professionals and the general public a comprehensive overview of the emirate’s achievements in promoting books and culture all of which paved the way for them to bring home the prestigious UNESCO World Book Capital 2019 title.

SWBC Office hosted a panel discussion, ‘Why the World Book Capital is Important’ on the first day of the fair, offering audiences a background on how the World Book Capital City initiative was born out of the success of the UNESCO World Book Day, its year-on-year growth, where the initiative was headed, and the criteria for selecting winners. Ian Denison, Chief of the UNESCO Publications Unit and Amira Bin Fares, Senior Executive Director of Special Projects at SWBC Office led the talks.

Ian Denison expressed his happiness for being invited to the Sharjah World Book Capital Office’s panel event, saying that the decision to award Sharjah the title was made by UNESCO experts and international cultural organisations like the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions,IFLA, and the International Publishers Association,IPA.

Denison commented: “Sharjah has been committedly implementing its cultural project with innovation. With a clear vision for this project’s objectives and outcomes, Sharjah is leading the promotion of culture and education in the UAE and abroad”.

He praised Sharjah’s World Book Capital programme for its inclusive cultural itinerary, seen in its focus on bringing social development across community segments and age groups through the promotion of reading. “Entries for the UNESCO title of World Book Capital should be supported by the nominated city’s community, organisations and government. Sharjah’s application was supported by the emirate’s public and private entities following the vision of H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, which is why we believe the emirate has been awarded a well-deserved title”, he said.

Regarding UNESCO evaluation of cities’ title entries, Denison explained that the UN requires sustainability in the program, and not just a focus on temporary activities. The cities must have also proved its efforts to establish good relations with other winning cities, and with those who require support to overcome challenges in way of their cultural aspirations.

Denison stressed that through their programmes, the UN and UNESCO seek to bring their vision and global policies to the world in order to garner more support for the humanitarian causes they champion. He also mentioned to the panel’s audience that during his visits to Sharjah, he witnessed an impressive level of awareness in the community about the UN’s efforts and a real willingness to support their development projects worldwide.

Amira Bin Fares took the panel’s audience on a journey through Sharjah’s cultural efforts, which helped the emirate establish itself as a regional powerhouse in the field and recognised internationally through the prestigious cultural titles it’s won over the years.

“Sharjah believes that culture is a key driver for development; an effective tool for strengthening social relations and cross-cultural communication. The emirate’s cultural project is at the core of its practices and an integral part of its vision for the region and the world”, she said as she explained the factors UNESCO considered before conferring the World Book Capital title to Sharjah this year.

Bin Fares said that the Sharjah International Book Fair,SIBF, one of the top three book fairs in the world, the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival,SCRF, Sharjah Publishing City, the world’s first publishing and printing Free Zone , as well as other cultural initiatives and events, have contributed to shaping the emirate’s cultural landscape.

Source: Emirates News Agency