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UNESCO celebrates World Book and Copyright Day

Apr 30, 2010, 4:05 PM | Article By: Njie Baldeh

The National Commission for UNESCO in collaboration with the National Center for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and the University of The Gambia on Wednesday celebrated World Book and Copyright Day at a ceremony held at the Gambia College Auditorium in Brikama.

The theme of the celebration was the "Role of Books and Copyright Administration in Combating Cultural Barriers".

In delivering her speech at the ceremony, Mrs Sukai Bojang, Secretary General NATCOM, said the of 23rd of April is a significant date for world literature, adding that it marks the date in the year 1616 when notable figures such as Cervantes, Shakespare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega died. Mrs. Bojang went on to reveal that her organisation is interested in encouraging everyone and, in particular, young people, to discover the pleasure of reading and indeed writing to gain a renewed respect for the irreplaceable contributions of those who have promoted the social and cultural progress of humanity.

Thus, she added, the UNESCO General Conference selected this date to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors. The idea for this celebration originated in Catalonia where, on 23 April, Saint George's Day, a rose is traditionally given as a gift for each book sold.

"I hope that in The Gambia the observance and success of this day will be a joint collaboration of all parties concerned namely, authors, publishers, teachers, lecturers, students, the youth, librarians, public and private institutions, humanitarian NGOs and the mass media.

Mrs. Bojang noted that since 2010 has been declared International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures, UNESCO deems it necessary to review the role of the book in our constantly evolving world.

Mrs Ralphina de Almeida, president of the Writers Association of The Gambia, said “we the members of the Writers Association of The Gambia (WAG), feel particularly privileged, because this Gambian Literature Day event is occuring during the first year of the transformation of the erstwhile Association of Gambian Writers, into a new-look, more inclusive and robust literary mechanism”.

She explained that the Writers Association of The Gambia endeavours in its aims, to encourage and enhance a positive networking framework, where both literary genius and academic scholarship can co-operate and compete in a healthy and supportive, yet conflict-free environment.

"Consequently, it is the ardent desire of the WAG to attract and urge all within and outside the territorial confines of The Gambia, who are blessed with creative writing talents and acumen, whether fully established or newly-fledged, to share in the corporate benefits that are envisaged in the mission and mandates of the WAG, by joining this Association."

Mrs. Ralphina de Almeida finally expressed her appreciation for the partnering intervention of the NCAC's Copyright Office, for co-ordinating the national enforcement of legal safeguards to protect the works of Gambian writers from plagiarism.