Unesco names Sharjah as World Book Capital for 2019

By Divi S.

Sharjah Ruler Officially Accepts Unesco title

SHARJAH 24 April 2019: His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, delivered a moving speech on Tuesday evening at the ceremony to mark Sharjah as the Unesco World Book Capital 2019.

“Today, I cannot fully express my happiness to be present here, as we offer a grand welcome to Sharjah World Book Capital 2019 celebrations. I stand before you and I am almost certain that I am visualising our great forefathers – scientists and thinkers, filling libraries of the world with knowledge… shinning a light on the path of humanity, and leaving us a human legacy that we are proud of, and hold dearly…

“It is a great honour to follow in their footsteps. To embrace books and knowledge as a tool to build, not destroy… a tool to nurture love, brotherhood and tolerance.”

The celebrations coincided with World Book Day and Copyright Day marked globally on April 23, and is a befitting recognition of the emirate’s leading cultural accomplishments, particularly in promoting books and reading, at both regional and international levels.

His Highness highlighted that the emirate’s everlasting relationship with the book has attained a new meaning as it becomes the bearer of this new title, saying, “This [title] will encourage us to continue supporting initiatives aimed at spreading knowledge and building civilisations, thus making Sharjah cradle of the Arab and Islamic cultural and intellectual renaissance .

“There is so much more to accomplish. The production of knowledge never stops, and the development of life continues. Rest assured that Sharjah is prepared to continuing on this journey, and God willing, our devoted sons and daughters will continue our march to make Sharjah a true beacon of science and knowledge – a destination for everyone thirsty for culture, for thought and the sciences.”

His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah received the World Book Capital 2019 title from Ernesto Ottone R., Assistant Director-General of Unesco; Markos Bolaris, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Greece; and Fiona Andrikopoulou, Communication and Public Relation Advisor – Athens WBC 2018, marking the beginning of the official
year-long celebrations that will see the emirate organise an elaborate itinerary of book-themed events.

Taking the stage, Ottone R. congratulated His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi and the emirate of Sharjah for developing an impressive World Book Capital programme to celebrate, “the desire to share ideas and knowledge, to inspire understanding, dialogue and tolerance”.

He added, “Thanks to your relentless efforts, Sharjah was selected by Unesco and its partners for your unwavering commitment to promoting intercultural dialogue this time through books and reading. Your programme “Open Books – Open Minds” is designed to reach out to marginalised populations, promoting books as a driver of social inclusion, creativity and mutual respect.

“I know that this spirit of inclusion and dialogue will guide all of Sharjah’s activities as World Book Capital. We look forward to working with you all, our publishing industry partners, and the entire international community to celebrate books and the values of creativity, understanding, dialogue and tolerance that they symbolise.”