The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, recently named Accra (Ghana) as World Book Capital for 2023, following the evaluation of the World Book Capital Advisory Committee.

After Guadalajara (Mexico) in 2022, the city of Accra was selected for its strong focus on young people and their potential to contribute to the culture and wealth of Ghana. Accra’s proposed program seeks to use the power of books to engage young people as an effective way of skilling up the next generation.

The theme for the campaign is “Reading to Connect Minds for Social Transformation”. The slogan for the year is “Akwaaba, book a book”.

The city proposed to the committee a broad program that targets marginal groups with high levels of illiteracy including women, youth, migrants, street children and persons with disabilities. Measures to be implemented include the reinforcing of school and community infrastructure and institutional support for lifelong learning, in order to foster the culture of reading.

In line with the objectives of the celebrations, the Ama Ata Aidoo Centre for Creative Writing at AUCC plans to re-focus four of its core programs year-round to use books, reading, and drama to:

  1. Increase public awareness and Promote fundamental human rights and freedoms through public readings and discussions of literature and relevant books [Reading Clinic]
  2. Educate and equip the youth to develop their creative writing skills and abilities [Call for Submissions]
  3. Educate JSS students from neighboring schools to abstain from antisocial behaviors (drugs and substance abuse, truancy etc.) through public engagements with influencers [Encounter], and
  4. Sensitize and empower JSS students from neighboring schools against teenage pregnancy [In Their Own Words].

As part of the opening ceremony of  the celebrations, organizers  plan to launch a commemorative book on Accra to be called ‘Discovering Accra through the Book’. The Aidoo Centre launched its first regional anthology Adabraka: Stories from the Centre of the World in 2018, a collection that celebrates the city of Accra.

TUESDAY JULY 24, 2018. ACCRA: The Ama Ata Aidoo Centre launched its debut anthology of short fiction at an impressive event at the AUCC Forecourt. Present were Prof. Ama Ata Aidoo herself, the Mayor of Accra, the Queenmother of Adabraka, the Director General of Ghana Education Service, the Founder of AUCC, the President of the Ghana Association of Writers, the President of the Ghana Book Publishing Association and the newly discovered fresh 14 authors.

As Accra welcomes both residents and visitors, it seeks to encourage everyone to read a book to educate, inform and entertain themselves. The knowledge acquired through reading will help transform minds, hence the theme “Reading to Connect Minds for Social Transformation”.

According to the Ghana Book Development Council, activities will include the introduction of mobile libraries to reach marginalized groups, the holding of workshops to promote reading and writing of books in different Ghanaian languages, the establishment of skills and training centers for unemployed youth and the organization of competitions to showcase Ghanaian arts and culture and promote inclusivity.

The application from Accra also includes a strong human rights dimension, which aims to raise public awareness about freedom of information and expression, building on its own promotion of these rights as well as its involvement in World Press Freedom Day.

The year of celebrations start on Sunday April 23, 2023, on World Book and Copyright Day. It will continue until April 2024.

Cities designated as UNESCO World Book Capital undertake to promote books and reading for all ages and population groups, within and across national borders, and to organize a program of activities for the year.

As the twenty-third city to bear the title since 2001, Accra follows Guadalajara (2022) and Tbilisi (2021). Past capitals include Madrid (2001), Alexandria (2002), New Delhi (2003), Anvers (2004), Montreal (2005), Turin (2006), Bogota (2007), Amsterdam (2008), Beirut (2009), Ljubljana (2010), Buenos Aires (2011), Erevan (2012), Bangkok (2013), Port Harcourt (2014), Incheon (2015), Wroclaw (2016), Conakry (2017), Athens (2018), Sharjah, (2019) and Kuala Lumpur (2020).

The UNESCO World Book Capital Advisory Committee comprises representatives of the International Publishers Association (IPA), the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), the International Authors Forum (IAF) and UNESCO.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here