On Wednesday, President Klaus Iohannis has cut the inaugural ribbon at the Bookfest International Book Fair. The event was attended by the US, Germany and Israel ambassadors of the USA, Germany and Israel, as well as by the Minister of Culture, George Ivascu.
According to the organizers, the 13th edition of the Bookfest International Book Fair, which will take place until Sunday in Bucharest, brings to the public an offer of events and volumes from books for children and tributes dedicated to King Mihai, to new appearances signed by famous authors. Access is free.
President Iohannis underlined that a book event is always a joy for readers, a sign of normalcy for Romanian culture, as well as proof of responsibility toward young people.
“Bookfest continues the tradition of previous initiatives, while proving that there are enough readers, authors and editors in Romania who have not lost their trust in the written word,” Iohannis said at the opening of the fair.
He added that he is one of those who believe in the “link between books, education and the consolidation of democracy.”
“I have extended my high patronage to the Bookfest International Book Fair in the Centennial [of the December 1, 1918 Greater Union] because I wanted to highlight the essential role of books in preserving the memory of a people, in developing social and national consciousness and because I count myself among those who believe in the connection between books, education and the consolidation of democracy,” said Iohannis.
“Romania has seen a long time in which we didn’t have free access to books, and the debate of ideas was condemned to underground. Today, when we look around and see the stands of so many publishers, we can only be grateful to all those who are devoted to the protection and dissemination of the written word, because we know how precious the freedom of expression is. (…) We are therefore obliged to protect the right to expression and, equally, to understand the responsibility that derives from the assumption of the freedom of speech. The role of the book fairs is essential in promoting reading and access to the books, two fundamental elements in the struggle to reduce the level of functional illiteracy that is increasingly widespread in our country”, President Klaus Iohannis stated.
The head of state drew attention to the low interest in the purchase of books in Romania.
“There are numerous studies indicating that school results are influenced by the educational resources available at home, and in Romania, a household allocates less than 1% of its budget to purchase books. This is why we need a good policy meant to increase the interest for books, to encourage reading, to support creative expression of the Romanian authors and to modernize the public infrastructure dedicated to books. All these things can contribute to increasing the culture level of Romanians and developing the general educational level. The impact of such public policies will be felt directly in the economic, social and democratic evolution of our country”, the President added.
“Knowing makes one more powerful worldwide, though politically we have counter-examples”
Knowing makes one more powerful around the world, yet politically speaking we have counter-examples, said President Klaus Iohannis on Wednesday, at the Bookfest International Book Fair at Bucharest’s Romexpo exhibition complex.
The president attended a debate on education, after the salon’s official opening.
“Knowing makes one more powerful around the world, more powerful but not in the political way, because politically speaking we have enough counter-examples as we speak. Knowing makes one ready for life and can even make one an example for the others,” the president told the said debate.
Subsequently, in a talk with the media, the president detailed: “I alluded to many, not to anyone in particular. As we can see, those who use with the highest difficulty their very mother tongue, the Romanian language, are in the public space many times, and this is very regrettable.”
Klaus Iohannis spoke during the debate about his involvement in education.
“The president has no attribution in the books’ domain, not even very specific, practical attributions in the field of the public policies that are required for a good educational system. And yet I believe that I can do certain things and I’m striving to. Firstly, to build that project ‘Educated Romania’ that is going on and has an increasing number of participants, and another thing I can do is set an example, which I am doing by being here, at this book fair and saying that I read, too,” the president asserted.