Friday, 11 April 2014

Incheon in London

World Book Capital is a title bestowed by UNESCO annually to a city in recognition of the quality of its programmes to promote books and reading.  

Incheon will be the UNESCO World Book Capital next year, so the city is exhibiting in the Korea Market Focus Pavilion at the London Book Fair to spread the word that it is preparing a variety of events to entertain the many visitors it expects from all over the world.

Mayor of Incheon, Young-Gil Song says: "Our city will spare no efforts to turn itself into an educational and cultural city by sharing culture through books and narrowing cultural gaps through latest technologies, which echoes UNESCO's ideology." 

Amongst other reasons, UNESCO runs the World Book Capital initiative to promote exchanges across borders and ideologies. Incheon is geographically well positioned to facilitate cultural exchange with North Korea. A spokesperson for the Korean Publishers Association says that having Incheon as the World Book Capital in 2015 will: “promote Korean citizens' cultural development and awareness, and connect with North Korea providing a foundation for the re-unification of the South with the North. Also, it will be a central city of international cultural exchange via books, and will continuously contribute to the global community even after this event.”

Incheon hopes to use its status as World Book Capital to demonstrate how a city's industrial and technological infrastructure can contribute to society.  Mayor Young-Gil Song says: “Incheon has some people who are isolated from cultural access and information as some people live on islands far away from the mainland, or due to other environmental reasons. Hence, the city has been managing a various number of cultural businesses such as the mobile library, which visits each island, and the Reading Incheon mobile application, which enables the 2.9 million citizens of Incheon to get access to an online library via their mobile telephone.”

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