Ismail Serageldin


BA Hosts 4th International Summit of the Book

07/11/2015 | Alexandria

The 4th International Summit of the Book,  an annual global meeting launched by the Library of Congress in 2012 to discuss the book in all its dimensions, was this year hosted by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) under the theme "Book, Reading & Technology”.

This important cultural event, held for the first time in Africa and the Arab world,  discussed key issues on technology and manuscripts, including the role of translation in the preservation and transmission of culture, and the book as an important tool in cultural exchange. The Summit also discussed the development of books into electronic formats, and its impact on reading; the challenges facing books and the publishing industry, particularly in Africa and the Arab world; and the role of books and reading in societies. The event was attended by international eminent figures, distinguished speakers, intellectuals, academics, and professionals in the field of books, libraries, culture, publishing and technology.

In his opening speech Seragedin spoke about how deeply he feels about books. He said, “…Without books one cannot imagine any kind of intellectual life existing. Books allow ideas to appear. … Through the book, ideas come alive and stay alive long after the departure and death of their authors.. and the book allows ideas to travel through space and time and allows civilizations to prosper long after they are gone. … Literature in its broadest sense has been  the  most powerful record of human emotions, as well as being the primary vehicle of the definition of what it means to be human…. So the book is not just the  custodian of the intellect,  it is also the  repository of  our musical compositions, our mathematics, our science, our philosophy, our laws”.

The International Summit of The Book is an initiative by the Library of Congress to celebrate the enduring influence of the culture of the book and the importance of libraries and books in preserving national cultural identities and the human civilization. Every year the International Summit of the Book is held in one of the cities that has a global cultural impact;  Washington DC  in 2012, Singapore in 2013, Paris in 2014. At the inaugural  International Summit of the Book, held  at the Library of Congress in Washington DC in 2012, Serageldin gave a keynote speech entitled “The Book, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”, which received a standing ovation from the huge gathering of distinguished participants that was convened there.

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