As of yesterday, Beirut is the new book capital of the world.
BEIRUT: Culture Minister Tamam Salam is expected to fly to Paris next week to take over the presidency of the “World Book Capital 2009,” his media office said on Wednesday. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced in April 2007 the nomination of Beirut as the “World Book Capital 2009.” “Beirut should raise awareness about the importance of reading, books and publications all through 2009,” Salam addressed reporters during a lunch at Le Bristol Hotel in Ras Beirut. The official program of Beirut World Book Capital 2009 starts on April 25, 2009 and ends in April 2010. Beirut is the ninth city to be designated World Book Capital, after Madrid, Alexandria, New Delhi, Antwerp, Montreal, Turin, Bogot‡ and Amsterdam. According to a statement by UNESCO, the city of Beirut was selected “in the light of its focus on cultural diversity, dialogue and tolerance, and of its diverse and stimulating program.”
Source: The Daily Star
I believe minister Tammam Salam has to do double the effort here in Lebanon and the Arab world, as our people simply hate to read. I don’t know the average number of books an Arab reads per year, maybe half a paper? Could be!