“I extend my congratulations to the city of Port Harcourt for the quality of its proposed programme, which provides for extensive public participation and aims to develop reading for all,” said UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, in a news release. “I wholeheartedly endorse the commitment of Port Harcourt to support literacy through the activities organized for the year.”
According to the agency, its selection committee chose Port Harcourt for the quality of the programme it presented. It focused on youth and the impact it will have on improving Nigeria’s culture of books, reading, writing and publishing to improve literacy rates.
The selection committee, which met last Thursday at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris, brings together associations in the book industry – the International Publishers Association, the International Booksellers Federation and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions – as well as representatives from the culture agency.
Each year, the committee bestows the title of World Book Capital to a city which has committed itself to promoting books and reading, and to highlight the vitality of literary creativity. The nomination does not imply any financial prize, but it is an exclusively symbolic acknowledgement of the best programme dedicated to books and reading, UNESCO said.
Port Harcourt is the 14th city to be designated World Book Capital following Madrid (2001), Alexandria (2002), New Delhi (2003), Antwerp (2004), Montreal (2005), Turin (2006), Bogotá (2007), Amsterdam (2008), Beirut (2009), Ljubljana (2010), Buenos Aires (2011), Yerevan (2012) and Bangkok (2013).
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