Nashville, TN, September 02, 2012 (GSN) - On July 11, 2012 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced the selection of the Nigerian City of Port Harcourt as the 2014 World Book Capital. “I extend my congratulations to the city of Port Harcourt for the quality of its proposed programme which provides fort extensive public participation and aims to develop reading for all”, said UNESCO Director General, Irina Bokova, in a news release. “I wholeheartedly endorse the commitment of Port Harcourt to support literacy through the activities organized for the year”, she added.
According to the agency, its selection committee chose Port Harcourt for the quality of the programme it presented. It focused 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 which met on July 5th at UNESCO'S headquarters in Paris, brings together associations in the book industry, as well as representatives from the culture agency.
Each year, the committee bestows the title of World Book Capital to a city which has committed itself to promoting books and reading, and to highlight the vitality of literary creativity. The nomination does not carry a financial reward, but it is exclusively a symbolic acknowledgment of the best programme dedicated to books and reading, UNESCO said.
Port Harcourt is the 14th city to be designated world book capital, and the first in Black Africa. It beat such cities as Oxford, England and Vilnius, Lithuania to land the designation. The competition was instituted in 2001.
Previous winners include Madrid-Spain (2001), Alexandria-Egypt (2002), New Delhi-India (2003), Antwerp-Belgium (2004), Montreal-Canada (2005), Turin-Italy (2006), Bogota-Colombia (2007), Amsterdam-Holland (2008), Beirut-Lebanon (2009), Ljubljana-Slovenia (2010), Buenos Aires -Argentina (2011), Yerevan-Armenia (2012), and Bangkok-Thailand (2013).
Port Harcourt is the capital of Nigeria's Rivers State. Popularly called the Garden City, it was founded in 1912 and named after Lewis Harcourt, the then British Colonial Secretary. It is Located in the Niger Delta, an area traditionally inhabited by the Ijaw, Kalabari and Ikwerre (Igbo sub ethnic group) people. It is the center of of Nigeria's multi billion dollar oil industry and a commercial center. It has the country's second largest seaport and the third busiest international airport.
In 2011, it handled about 2 million passengers. The city has an estimated population of 1.7 million people. However, the metropolitan area is estimated to have about 2.7 million people.
Dr. Leonard Madu is the President of the
African Caribbean Caribbean Institute and the
African Chamber of Commerce,
Nashville, Tennessee. He is also a Fox television
analyst on foreign affairs