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Thousands of Titles for the Palestinians

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The Sixth Palestine International Book Fair - jointly organised by the Palestinian Ministry of Culture and U.N.E.S.C.O. - was held at Albeerah Exhibition Hall from March 7th – 17th, 2005.

The book fair was last held in 1999 and Israel has not allowed the Palestinians to import books since the outbreak of Ala’q’sa intifadhah at the end of 2000. In this year’s book fair, U.N.E.S.C.O. had facilitated the transportation of books and publications.

The book fair was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority Ahmad ‘Qurai, together with the chairman of the U.N.E.S.C.O. Executive board, Hons-Heinrich Wrede, and the Assistant Director-General of U.N.E.S.C.O. for Culture, Muneer Bouchenaki.

By gathering some 211 publishers from over ten Arab countries, and more than 25,000 titles, most published after 2000, and over 500,000 books at the Occupied Palestinian Territory from several Arab countries, the event was an occasion for cultural dialogue, spread of ideas and exchange of editorial contents, both of educational and creative nature.

In this occasion, a number of side activities were being organised (literary evenings, round tables, projections, book presentations, workshop, etc.), among which the round table on “The role of the book fair in promoting reading and professional relations”, chaired by Yahya Yahluf, the Palestinian Minister of Culture, Milagros del Corral, Deputy Assistant Director-General of U.N.E.S.C.O. for Culture and Peter Weidhaas, former Director of the Frankfurt Book Fair.

The event, focusing on book as a part of the living cultural industries, stresses on the necessity to work for the dialogue process in the Middle East and for the revitalisation of the Palestinian culture.

The objective of such initiative is to bring together and stimulate business and cultural exchange among professional and cultural stakeholders, both from the Arab and non-Arab world. The publishers and other book professionals participating in the book Fair are destined to play an important social role through their field of competence, in promoting culture, openness and a dialogue among people and civilisations 

Hasan Hamarsha -

Hasan Hamarsha has a master’s degree in mass communication from the University of Leicester, England and a BA in journalism and political science from Birzeit University, Palestine.

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