About The Sharjah World Book Capital 2019

What is the World Book Capital?

The UNESCO World Book Capital program is an initiative, launched in 1996, that seeks to encourage and promote publishing activities at the local and global levels by nominating for a one-year period the best city program aimed at promoting books. The initiative aims to promote peace, cultural enrichment, and intercultural dialogue through education, communication and information sharing.

The Sharjah World Book Capital 2019

Sharjah was named World Book Capital for the year 2019 by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) under the recommendation of the two Advisory Committee members: The International Publishers Associations (IPA) and The International Federation of Library Association and Institutions (IFLA).

Sharjah has been selected by these esteemed pillars as recognition of the city’s continuous efforts in promoting books and literacy. Known as the City of Knowledge, it has fast established itself as the source for the region’s growing publishing sector, and has become the hub for most book related events and organizations in the UAE.

The nomination for 2019 was also due to the city’s innovative, comprehensive and inclusive proposal to the World Book Capital initiative. The yearlong program focuses on the inclusivity of all members of the community. It contains creative proposals to engage the very large expatriate population, the book industry, the young, the marginalised population, and much more. The goal is to empower the community and strengthen the nation and region through literature.

Our Mission

We believe that knowledge is a basic right that should be readily and easily accessible to all members of society. Our mission is to promote reading, and provide ease of access to books to all. And in doing so, we will become a progressive society that are the catalysts of harmonious coexistence both locally and globally.

Our Guiding Principles

We aimed to set a new benchmark for World Book Capital cities. Our yearlong program targeted all members of society, both locally and internationally, and was especially designed to develop these six goals -- which we call our guiding principles.


    Sharjah is known for its diversity, boasting a wealth of readers and intellectuals from various linguistic backgrounds and hundreds of nationalities. We aim to celebrate these cultures during the Sharjah World Book Capital by creating events and activities that not only cater to various sub-communities, but also encourage cross cultural understanding and harmony.


    We want to breed an innate love for reading in our communities. That is why we have created a series of activities and events (for different age groups and interests) that will instil the importance of reading in peoples’ minds, make books easily accessible, and turn reading into a fun and rewarding hobby.


    For the love of our ancestors, our history, and our way of life — we will tell the stories of our past to our new generation and to those who do not know us. So that they can understand our culture, benefit from our rich knowledge and scientific discoveries, and build upon what we have already created.


    Children are our future. They can build our nations and break down cultural barriers through understanding. That is why we have prepared a myriad of programs specially design for children and the youth to encourage a culture of reading and a thirst for knowledge. We aim to empower them so that they are able to achieve their own — and their nation’s — aspirations and goals.


    We aim to cultivate a nation that is not only tolerant of underrepresented communities, but is inclusive of them. Through knowledge and awareness, we can support and empower all communities and help them become valuable contributors to society. That is why we are preparing social campaigns and initiatives to boost community support of struggling members including refugees, the disabled, and the visually impaired, to name a few.


    Books are magical. They not only transform minds, but they develop nations both socially and economically. There is an entire ecosystem that works in sync to produce a book — from researchers and writers, to publishers and distributors. We have designed an array of conferences, workshops, and activities that will empower each segment; our goal is to strengthen and develop industries, create new jobs, develop our economy and make Sharjah a publication city that can compete in the international market.

Sharjah World Book Capital 2019 - Final Report