08.06.2011 - UNESCOPRESS

Future of books debated in Monza

© UNESCO - Francesco Bandarin, UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Culture, in Monza

“Today, the book is facing the most profound changes in its history. New projects on a world scale are being born, in libraries and private companies, to build the book of tomorrow,” said the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, in her speech at the second UNESCO World Forum on Culture and Cultural Industries. The Forum ended on 8 June in Monza after three days of discussions.

“We cannot be sure about the implications of such transformation, but we know that they are already deep and long term,” she continued. “No single company or library can pretend to have the keys to the future. This World Forum perfectly embodies the spirit of openness we must maintain.”

Some 200 delegates from about 40 countries (authors, publishers, scientists, media professionals, librarians, sociologists, bloggers, researchers and decision-makers) participated in the meeting, which was organized by UNESCO, the Region of Lombardy and the City of Monza on the theme “The Book Tomorrow, the Future of the Written Word”. Authors, publishers and major actors in the digital economy exchanged views and looked ahead to future developments in three main areas: “The E-book Economy”, “Author’s Right in the Digital Era” and “The Digital Library”.

Participants included the Minister of Culture of Morocco, Bensalem Himmich, the President of the Lombardy Region, Roberto Formigoni, several authors, notably Antonio Skármeta (Chile), Moussa Konaté (Malí) and Homero Aridjis (Mexico), as well as publishing industry personalities Milagros del Corral (president of the Forum's scientific committee), Bruno Racine (Bibliothèque nationale, France), Jürgen Boos (Frankfurt Book Fair, Germany), Tamru Belay (Adaptive Technology Center for the Blind, Ethiopia), Robert Darnton ( Harvard University Library, USA), Ibrahim El-Moallem (Egyptian Publishers Association, Egypt), Sun Fang (Foundation for Globalization China), Nubia Macías (International Book Fair, Guadalajara, Mexico) and Riccardo Cavallero (Grupo Mondadori, Italy).

The Forum also involved the world community. Proceedings were streamed to some 800 high school students in Monza and highlights of the debate were reported live on the main social media networks.

UNESCO will continue to work actively in this field, supporting training programmes, anti-piracy measures, capacity-building for libraries and assistance to developing countries in consolidating their publishing industries.

A third Forum on cultural industries is planned for 2013.

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