Salehi said cultural diplomacy and reading books can break the walls of mistrust and sanctions.
“A book is an extraordinary humane phenomenon, which resembles human being that has different layers and functions; books that are man-made have functions like production of knowledge and development of language,” Salehi said in the opening ceremony of the 32nd TIBF.
The languages of nations were developed by books; he said, noting that Persian language couldn’t have reached its current status, without works of Beyhaqi, Ferdowsi, Sa’di and Rumi, Salehi said.
Referring to the role of books in economy and industry, he said that the Leader of Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei named the current Persian Year as the year of 'Boosting Production' and this should not be ignored in publications.
According to World Intellectual Property Organization, 46 million individuals have been employed in China’s publishing industry, indicating the significant role of the industry in employment.
He also said that book and publishing industry have several indirect impacts; for instance, Cathédrale Notre-Dame was an old building which had received little attention, but after Victor Hugo wrote ‘The Hunchback of Notre-Dame’, it gained serious attention and was reconstructed in 25 years and became a tourist attraction.
He also said that public diplomacy is more effective than the official one and books are as its ambassadors and embassies. Cultural diplomacy which is based on books and publishing industry plays a very significant role in promoting culture.
Iran is known to the world for Ferdowsi’s ‘Shahnameh’ as well as Sa’di’s ‘Golestan’ and ‘Bustan’, he said, adding that Iranians also know the thoughtful nations around the world by their prominent books.
Some people try to tighten the belt of sanctions around Iran, but cultural diplomacy comprising books and thoughts will undo it, he added.
Speaking about China as the guest of honor of this edition of the exhibition, Salehi said Iran is proud of having historical relations with China.
The event has turned into a landmark book fair in the Middle East and Asia after holding 31 editions in a row. Every year in April, an average of 3,200 publishers participate in the event. The foreign publishers substantially offer their materials in English or Arabic while titles in French, German, Chinese, Korean or Japanese are also available.
The Deputy Minister for Cultural Affairs Mohsen Javadi said that 2,400 domestic publishers with 3,000 book titles and about 800 foreign publishers with 137,000 titles will showcase their latest publications in this edition of the fair.
He pointed to some details of this prestigious event since its beginning up to the present time and added, “Strengthening the publishing industry, boosting international relations and also improving cultural diplomacy in the presence of China as the guest of honor are among the approaches taken in 32nd TIBF.”
“For many years, TIBF has provided an opportunity for the readership to buy new books and add to the new sources of Iranian libraries,” Mohsen Javadi said.
Total number of 30 countries are attending this fair in which China is participating the exhibition with a delegation of 150 representatives from its publishing industry.
The 32nd edition of the event will officially open to the public today and will wrap up on May 4.