After a year of book-related events and activities, the city of Athens successfully fulfilled its role as “World Book Capital” for 2018, and has passed on the title to Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.
Under the slogan “Books Everywhere”, the Greek capital in 2018 celebrated the title with a number of events across town including reading happenings, seminars and conferences, workshops and competitions, activities for adults and children.
According to Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis, more than 615 events and activities took place in Athens’ neighborhoods in 2018, in collaboration with 212 different organizations and the participation of 450,000 residents and visitors.
“Athens has proven its ability not only to win but also successfully organize such international events,” Kaminis said in an announcement.
Athens passed on the title during the handover event held recently at the Al Majaz amphitheatre in Sharjah, which is now “World Book Capital” for 2019. The slogan for this year’s World Book Capital is “Open Books, Open Minds”.
During the event, the Ruler of Sharjah, Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, received the World Book Capital 2019 title from Ernesto Ottone Ramirez, Assistant Director-General of UNESCO; Markos Bolaris, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Greece; and Fiona Andrikopoulou, Communications and Public Relations Advisor – Athens WBC 2018. Sharjah and UNESCO representatives congratulated the Athens Municipality for successfully connecting the city and its residents with books and reading through a wide and multi-sided program, while holding an open dialogue between creators, the audience and arts.
Also present at the event was French artist and UNESCO Special Envoy for Cultural Diplomacy, Hedva Ser, who created the handover sculpture for WBC 2019.
In 2020, Kuala Lumpur will take over the title of “World Book Capital” from the UAE.