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UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright Day (23 April) marked the handover of the World Book Capital City (WBCC) from Conakry, Guinea to Athens, Greece.

IPA President, Michiel Kolman, and IPA Secretary General, José Borghino, attended the opening ceremony where Athens became the 18th UNESCO World Book Capital City.

In a written speech, UNESCO Director General, Audrey Azoulay underlined the importance of celebrating books and recognising their importance to society: “Books are at the intersection of some of the most essential human freedoms, primarily freedom of expression and freedom to publish. These are fragile freedoms. Faced by many challenges, from the questioning of copyright and cultural diversity to the physical threats looming over authors, journalists and publishers in many countries, these freedoms are also denied, even today, when schools are attacked, and manuscripts and books destroyed.”

World Book and Copyright Day (23 April), is promoted by UNESCO and takes place just days before WIPO’s World IP Dayay (26 April) whose theme this year was is ‘Powering change: Women in innovation and creativity’. Both sites include maps of events organised around the world.

A number of IPA members organise campaigns around these two days with events this year taking place in Belgium, the Republic of Korea, Brazil, the UK and Canada among others.

Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, will be the World Book Capital City in 2019. Sharjah recently helped restore and renovate the Djibril Tabsir Niane Library, one of Conakry’s most prominent libraries that was destroyed in a fire in 2012.

On that occasion International Publishers Association, Michiel Kolman, said: "Not only is it excellent to see the rebuilding of such an iconic library, it is also a beautiful example of the current world book capital connecting with a future world book capital. As IPA president that is extra rewarding as these are the sort of initiatives we hoped would bloom when the world book capital concept was first introduced by former IPA President Pere Vicens."

You can read more about IPA’s work on World Book Capital Cities here. To find out more about events during the year in Athens, see the Athens WBCC website here.

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