Shiraz runs for World Book Capital
Shiraz Mayor said “I am pleased to announce that relying on its rich cultural background, Shiraz has taken the preliminary steps to apply for the World Book Capital 2022.”
Eskandarpour, in a press conference on book related programs, added “the people of Shiraz have always been culture-oriented and peaceful. It stems from the high status of their cultural thoughts. In these days, the world is facing some major challenges and wars so the cultural programs and peaceful approach of Shiraz’s people rise in importance.”
Referring to the adopted approach of “Read to Respect Diversity”, he continued “to know one another in different parts of the world, we need to understand each other. In this line, the book serves us well. It is an element that helps us know others’ inner-selves.”
He also considered the possible recognition of Shiraz as the World Book Capital in 2022 an opportunity to promote book reading.
Regarding the programs related to the World Book Capital, Eskandarpour said “in line with our application, a bill including 26 book-related projects has been drawn up. It will pave the way for enhancing Shiraz’s capacities.”
Emphasizing the willingness of Shiraz to cooperate with international organizations particularly UNESCO on cultural issues, Eskandarpour invited the UNESCO Secretary General and representatives of International Association of Publishers as well as the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions to visit Shiraz’s book-related infrastructures. He also referred to earning the title of Iran’s 2020 Book Capital, and expressed hope that the title would be retained in 2021.
Mostakin, the Head of Office for Cultural Affairs at the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO, said “a window of opportunity has been created to eyewitness the recognition of Shiraz as the World Book Capital in near future. To earn it, Shiraz’s great reputation in the world will serve this purpose.” He also added “now, a cultural mayor is appointed for the major cities as it is believed that the culture can play a key role in the urban sustainable development and reducing greatly the incurred costs.”
He continued “196 countries have submitted their applications to earn the title of the World Book Capital, many of which have allocated a huge budget for it, and provided the infrastructures because holding this title affects greatly their tourism industry.
Saboori, the vice chairperson of Shiraz Islamic City Council, said “the book economy is a strategy, which has been included in Shiraz’s 5-year development plan.”
He continued “Shiraz Islamic City Council supports book-related programs, which will foster the city’s economy, increase cultural and literary tourism, promote book industry and improve qualitatively and quantitatively book reading.”
He also added “the culture of reading has been interwoven with the literary and urban tourism. In this regard, the mausoleums of Hafiz and Saadi receive more than 8 million visitors annually.”
Referring to the wining the title of Iranian Book Capital in 2020, he said “we believe the main assets of Shiraz are its cultural, literary and art dynamism and liveliness”. Saboori said “Shiraz Islamic City Council fully supports the promotion of reading programs throughout the city and expresses Shiraz’s readiness to encourage Read to Respect Diversity as the city enjoys outstanding recreational and cultural infrastructures, rich background in organizing international events helping the city to cooperate with UNESCO.”
“Not having joined the Universal Copyright Convention, Geneva Act. and failing to enact the copyright law are among challenges that Shiraz is facing. Due to this fact, Iranian applicants have already failed to win such a title. In this regard, some active publishers in Shiraz have launched a campaign to respect voluntarily the copyright protected materials in their works.”
Shiraz Islamic City Council has included, in its agenda, the required budget and regulations to promote reading and solve the challenges of publishing and distributing the books. These programs shall be undertaken in cooperation with the professionals as well as non-governmental and book activists in order to encourage people of Shiraz to “read to respect diversity.”
Jafari, Shiraz Deputy Mayor for Cultural, Social and Sports Affairs, said “improving qualitatively and quantitatively book reading among people of Shiraz is a main goal of Shiraz’s urban management team in order to develop cultural aspect of Shiraz as a Human-oriented and culture-oriented city.
“The city of Shiraz,” he added, “has already developed 31 programs for Iran’s 2020 Book Capital, out of which the municipality of Shiraz commits itself to carry out 19 programs. All these programs such as the reading orchard, 2 book gardens, book stops, etc. will have been completed or started by the Book Week.”
Jafari continued “the motto of the municipal reading programs is ‘Read to Respect Diversity,’ which has been proposed in accordance with the above-said criteria as well as Shiraz’s outstanding cultural and historical background. It has been decided in favor of Iran’s Book Capital as well as standing as a candidate in its run for the World Book Capital 2022.”
“The process of drawing up the required documents such as completing the application form, obtaining support letters from the domestic professionals and specialized centers, Iranian National Commission for UNESCO, etc. has ultimately paved the way for Shiraz to apply for the World Book Capital 2022 as the only Iranian candidate,” He added.