Statements and messages of the President of RA
President Serzh Sargsyan’s Address in the City Hall at the official ceremony of declaring Yerevan World Book Capital 2012
The ancient Armenian land welcomes an exceptional and beautiful holiday. Across from the biblical mountain Ararat, which witnessed our entire history, the proudly reborn and almost 2800 year old Yerevan was elected by UNESCO, International Booksellers Association, International Association of Publishers and International Federation of the Library Associations the World Book Capital 2012. It is emblematic that the 12th Armenian capital has become the 12th World Book Capital in year 2012.
For the nation, whose history of printing stretches five hundred years, this is the greatest source of pride, a token of appreciation for the contribution to the world culture.
Emerging in the historical Venice, thanks to the efforts of Hakop Meghapart in the remote 1512 published was the Urbatagirq and another four Armenian books.
After wandering around different cities of the world for almost two hundred years, in 1771, the Armenian printing trade had finally settled in motherland: the first in Armenia printing house was established in Etchmiadzin and the first book – a “Book of Prayers, named Spiritual Wanderer” - was published.
Throughout its history, the Armenian nation has always had reverent love for our marvelous native language, for letters and writings, even in times when it seemed impossible even to think about it. Countless times, our magnificent land was ravaged by brutal and barbaric raiders, who in their savage craze were trying to burn and destroy scrolls and books of our nation on its everlasting road toward the enlightenment; those scrolls and books contained our people’s wisdom, our Christian faith.
Nonetheless, time and again the Armenians not only salvaged the fragments of those scrolls and books, but with their creative power created new scrolls and flourished with the inherent belief that the time for the appreciation and comprehension would inevitably come.
Over fifty distinguished guests from thirty states are here today for the ceremony of declaring Yerevan the World Book Capital and among them guests from UNESCO, Buenos Aires, which is passing on the baton to Yerevan and Bangkok, which will assume its rights and obligations in 2013.
Yerevan becomes the World Book Capital on the eve of the 97th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. It comes to prove yet again that the spirit and the nation’s collective thought are not to be killed. It is equally symbolic that Yerevan picks up the baton from Buenos Aires, which became a safe heaven for the thousands of our compatriots who managed to escape the Great Eghern.
On this momentous day, and throughout the entire year, in the capital city of Yerevan, other cities of our country and in many other communities there will be multiple cultural events. All of them have one main goal – to once again emphasize the role of the Book in our lives, once again to reassert our place and essence on the world map, to prove once again that we are a nation of spirit and we know to appreciate, preserve and enrich not only the Armenian but also the world and all-human spiritual and cultural heritage, which is a business card of any civilized nation, the most important prerequisite of its existence.
Best of luck to Yerevan - the World Book Capital 2012!