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FEATURE STORY

Helping Revitalize the Culture of Reading in Armenia

October 13, 2010

Under the umbrella of a nation-wide campaign to promote books and reading in Armenia, the World Bank Yerevan Office participated in a book festival and fair held in Yerevan over the weekend. The event sought to popularize the good old tradition of reading and quest for knowledge in a society that has a history of half a millennium of book-printing.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has announced Yerevan the World Book Capital in 2012, as the year marks the 500th anniversary of printing books in the Armenian language.1 Granted by the International Publishers Association (IPA), International Booksellers Federation (IBF), and International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLAI), Yerevan is the 12th city to be designated World Book Capital after cities such as Madrid, New Delhi, Montreal and Beirut.


" As a high school student in quest for a future profession, I am pleasantly surprised to see that the World Bank, as a financial institution, offers publications not only for experts in certain fields but for the general public as well. The book I liked the most here is about the role of mass media in economic development - I want to study journalism at the university. "

Heghine Zulalyan

Student from Mkhitar Sebastatsi educational center

In the run-up to the anniversary, the "Armenian Book Center" cultural union, and "Knko Aper" Children's National Library, with the support of the Ministry of Culture, initiated during October 1-7, the "Book to Book" festival, which hosted a wide array of campaigns and events - book fairs and arts exhibitions, seminar-discussions and meetings with young writers, recitals of fairy tales, night screenings of art films and youth rock concerts, as well as theatrical shows with tightrope-walkers and living dolls. Major publishing houses, writers, and art critics from different countries participated in the event.

The World Bank Yerevan office was invited to participate in the book festival to support the event. This was also an opportunity to raise the Bank's image in the country as a knowledge institution.

By a World Bank banner, and on a designated stand, the country office communications team show-cased some of the Bank's major publications, (country) reports and analysis, publications supported under the World Bank Civil Society Fund annual grants, and other knowledge products. The stand attracted students and young professionals interested to learn about the World Bank projects in Armenia, and the services and resources available at the Knowledge Development Center (KDC).

Heghine Zulalyan, a student from Mkhitar Sebastatsi educational center, volunteered to help the Bank team at the event. "As a high school student in quest for a future profession, I am pleasantly surprised to see that the World Bank, as a financial institution, offers publications not only for experts in certain fields but for the general public as well. The book I liked the most here is about the role of mass media in economic development; I want to study journalism at the university," she said. Heghine and her classmates will have a chance to learn more about the World Bank and its activities in Armenia, and will be hosted shortly at the World Bank office in Yerevan.


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