…PAWA congratulates Strasbourg
By Godwin Okondo
STRASBOURG, France, has been named UNESCO World Book Capital 2024 after Accra, Ghana, in 2023. This development followed the evaluation of the World Book Capital Advisory Committee that prompted the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, to designat Strasbourg (France) as World Book Capital for 2024.
According to Azoulay, “In uncertain times, many are turning to books as a refuge and a source of dreams. Indeed, books have the unique ability both to entertain and to teach. This is why we must ensure everyone has access to knowledge and reflection through books and reading. This is why each year UNESCO designates a world book capital. After Guadalajara (Mexico) in 2022, and Accra in 2023, I am pleased to announce the designation of Strasbourg as World Book Capital for 2024.”
UNESCO and the World Book Capital Advisory Committee said they were impressed by Strasbourg’s strong focus on books to meet the challenges of social tensions and climate change, with programmes like ‘Reading for the Planet’, noting that the city emphasizes books’ ability to encourage debate and discussion of environmental concerns and scientific knowledge, focusing on young people as agents of change.
The committee also commended Strasbourg for its literary heritage and the activities it organised, highlighting many artistic disciplines, from music to theatre and illustrations. The city has significant experience of organising large-scale outward-looking events.
The year of Strasbourg’s celebration will start on April 23, 2024, on World Book and Copyright Day.
Cities designated as UNESCO World Book Capital undertake to promote books and reading for all ages and groups, within and across national borders, and to organize a programme of activities for the year.
As the 24th city to bear the title since 2001, Strasbourg follows Madrid (Spain – 2001), Alexandria (Egypt – 2002), New Delhi (India – 2003), Antwerp (Belgium – 2004), Montreal (Canada – 2005), Turin (Italy – 2006), Bogota (Colombia – 2007), Amsterdam (Holland – 2008), Beirut (Lebanon – 2009), Ljubljana (Slovenia – 2010), Buenos Aires (Argentina – 2011), Erevan (Armenia – 2012), Bangkok (Thailand – 2013), Port Harcourt (Nigeria – 2014), Incheon (Korea – 2015), Wroclaw (Poland – 2016), Conakry (Guinea – 2017), Athens (Greece – 2018), Sharjah (UAE – 2019), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia – 2020), Tbilisi (Georgia – 2021), Guadalajara (Mexico – 2022) and Accra (Ghana – 2023).
The UNESCO World Book Capital Advisory Committee comprises representatives of European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF), the International Authors Forum (IAF), the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), the International Publishers Association (IPA), and UNESCO.
Also, the Pan African Writers Association (PAWA) has sent a congratulatory message to members of Strasbourg World Book Capital Committee on its recent nomination by UNESCO as World Book Capital for 2024.
A statement from the office of the Secretary General of PAWA, Dr. Wale Okediran, said, “It is pertinent to note that PAWA was among some literary stakeholders who were consulted by the Strasbourg Committee in its preparations for the UNESCO bid. As part of its preparations for the bid, a delegation of the committee led by the Deputy Mayor of Strasbourg, Mr Owusu Tufour, visited PAWA House in Accra, Ghana, on April 12, 2022 and was received by PAWA’s Secretary General, Dr. Wale Okediran and his staff.”