United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Wednesday announced the selection of Port Harcourt as the 2014 World Book Capital.
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova made the announcement in a statement in New York.
“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.
“I wholeheartedly endorse the commitment of Port Harcourt to support literacy through the activities organised for the year,’’ Ms. Bokova said.
The agency said the selection committee chose Port Harcourt for the quality of the programme it presented.
It said that the programme, which focuses on the youth, would have an impact on improving Nigeria’s culture of books, reading, writing and publishing to improve literacy rates.
The agency noted that the selection committee, which met on Thursday, last week, at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris, brought together associations in the book industry.
The associations are the International Publishers Association, the International Booksellers Federation and the International Federation of Library Associations as well as institutions and representatives from the culture agency.
The statement explained that each year, the committee bestows the title of World Book Capital to a city which had committed itself to promoting books and reading as well as 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) and Turin (2006).
Others are Bogotá (2007), Amsterdam (2008), Beirut (2009), Ljubljana (2010), Buenos Aires (2011), Yerevan (2012) and Bangkok (2013).
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