President Akufo-Addo has called on all stakeholders in the country’s education and culture space to support the “Accra World Book Capital 2023” initiative which takes office in Ghana’s capital from 24 April 2023.
Essentially, cities designated as United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Book Capital undertake to carry out activities with the aim of encouraging a culture of reading and diffusing the values of reading in all ages and population groups within and outside the designated host nation’s borders.
Through the World Book Capital programme, UNESCO acknowledges the city’s commitment to promoting books and fostering reading during the 12-month period between one World Book and Copyright Day and the next.
Addressing attendees of the official launch to the Accra World Book Capital, 2023, at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC) under the theme: “Reading to Connect Minds for Social Transformation”,
President Akufo-Addo said “the Accra World Book Capital, 2023”, has come to reignite the spirit of reading and its inherent transformative power to impact positively the Ghanaian society towards the goal of Ghana becoming a learning nation”.
“We are confident that the world book capital project will lay a strong foundation for Ghana and Africa to spare the implementation of the declarations emanating from the key continental and global education moments including activities earmarked for the 2024 Africa Union year of education” President Akufo-Addo said.
“To achieve this, there is the need for collective thinking and collaborative working among stakeholders in the education and culture spaces. To this end, I call on all stakeholders to come on board and support the programmes for maximum impact.
“Further, I call on the private sector, corporate organizations, the UN family, foundations, and similar institutions to support financial this exciting initiative that seeks to connect minds for socio-economic progress” Akufo-Addo added.
Ms Audrey Azoulay, the Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), who was the special guest of honour noted that she has taken note of the comprehensive programme laid out for the yearlong celebration of the Accra World Book Capital, 2023 and she believes it will leave behind a lasting legacy in the city (Accra) and in the country.
“In choosing Accra among many other cities that were candidates, we particularly appreciated the initiatives for literature in schools, through book trusts, the initiatives to bring books everywhere including health institutions and prisons, the organizing of reading events like the marathon which is starting today, and the linking of literature with music, dance and theatre, aimed at building further the rich cultural diversity of the country” Ms Audrey Azoulay said.
“I am delighted that many activities will showcase the country’s linguistic diversity so that reading and writing is encouraged even more in one’s own language” she added.
The advisory committee for the World Book Capitals project – made up of one representative of the International Authors Forum (IAF), the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), the International Publishers Association (IPA) and one UNESCO representative – is in charge of examining and selecting applicant nations’ files.
A special effort is made to involve all regions of the world in turn, in conformity with the principle of geographical balance, and in line with a range of quality criteria. The nominating committee meets once every year.
The UNESCO director general is responsible for designating the cities following both internal and external consultations with the other members of the advisory committee.
The nomination does not imply any financial prize from UNESCO, but conquering the title of World Book Capital City represents an important symbolic acknowledgement, in terms of communication and promotion, and works to good effect for the winner city.