DUBAI, June 27 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has chosen United Arab Emirates' (UAE) Sharjah as the World Book Capital of 2019, the official Emirates News Agency reported Tuesday.
The UNESCO made the selection in recognition of Sharjah's prominent role in supporting the book and reading culture, said the report.
Sharjah, one of the seven sheikdoms of the UAE, is the first Gulf city to win the title and the third in the Arab world and the Middle East, the official agency said.
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova welcomed on Monday the decision, saying that she appreciated the city's efforts to "allow reading to as many people as possible, especially marginalized groups."
"This selection was made on the recommendation of the advisory committee, which met at the headquarters of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions in The Hague," she added on the official website of the organization.
The program will begin on April 23, 2019 under the slogan "I read you in Sharjah" and will be concerned with six main themes: solidarity, reading, heritage, awareness, publishing and youth.
Moreover, the city will also launch Sharjah Publishing City, a fully dedicated production and printing venue, aiming at promoting the book industry by enhancing production and distribution in the Arab world.
The emirate of Sharjah was named the capital of Arab culture in 1998, the capital of Islamic culture in 2014, and the capital of Arab tourism in 2015.