6 July 2007 The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced today that Beirut has been chosen as the 2009 World Book Capital as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to promote books and reading.
The Lebanese capital was nominated “in the light of its focus on cultural diversity, dialogue and tolerance,” the selection committee said after meeting this week at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris.
The committee brings together representatives of UNESCO and some of the main professional associations in the book industry – the International Publishers Association, the International Booksellers Federation and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.
UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura hailed the fact that “the city of Beirut, which is facing great challenges in terms of peace and peaceful coexistence, is recognized for its commitment to dialogue, which is necessary more than ever in the region, and that the book is able to contribute actively towards this goal.”
Beirut becomes the ninth city to be designated as World Book Capital, after Madrid (2001), Alexandria (2002), New Delhi (2003), Antwerp (2004), Montreal (2005), Turin (2006), Bogotá (2007) and Amsterdam (2008). The winning city begins its reign as World Book Capital on World Book and Copyright Day, 23 April, each year.