Port Harcourt was named as the "World Book Capital 2014" at the conclusion of the selection committee meeting, which was held on 5 July 2012 at UNESCO's Paris headquarters.
The city of Port Harcourt was selected "on account of the quality of its program, in particular its focus on youth, and the impact it will have on improving Nigeria's culture of books, reading, writing and publishing to improve literacy rates".
The selection committee included representatives of the International Publishers Association (IPA), the International Booksellers Federation (IBF), the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), and UNESCO.
Says IPA Secretary General Jens Bammel: “The number of applications received this year is the highest (11) since the UNESCO program commenced in 2001 following an IPA initiative. A lot of them were very good. In that context, IPA was quite impressed by the quality of the application file submitted by the city of Port Harcourt: a clear, exciting, and ambitious programme for 2014 and beyond as it is aiming at generating enthusiasm for books and reading. We are very much looking forward to cooperating with our Nigerian member, the Nigerian Publishers Association. Congratulations Port Harcourt!”.
Port Harcourt, Nigeria, is the fourteenth city to be designated World Book Capital, after Madrid (2001), Alexandria (2002), New Delhi (2003), Antwerp (2004), Montreal (2005), Turin (2006), Bogotá (2007), Amsterdam (2008), Beirut (2009), Ljubljana (2010), Buenos Aires (2011), Yerevan (2012), and Bangkok (2013).
Note for Editors
At the initiative of IPA, every year, IPA, IBF, IFLA and UNESCO designate a city as World Book Capital for the 12 months between two celebrations of World Book and Copyright Day (23 April). This initiative is a collaborative effort between representatives of principal stakeholders in the book sector and the cities which have committed themselves to promote books and reading. The current World Book Capital is Yerevan, Armenia. The next World Book Capital will be Bangkok, Thailand. IPA will co-organise a International Publishers Association copyright seminar in Yerevan, Armenia later this year in November, and it will organise its 30th Congress in Bangkok on 25-27 March 2014.