Opening Ceremony Biblioteca de Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico
Hasmig Chahinian IBBY Vice President, on behalf of IBBY President Ahmad Redza Ahmad Khairuddin
It gives me great pleasure to be here in Mexico City with you for the 34th IBBY Congress. The last time we met was two years ago in cosmopolitan London and now here we are in Mexico City. IBBY bids all delegates a very warm welcome and together with our hosts A leer or IBBY Mexico, we hope you will all enjoy the hospitality and warmth of our Mexican friends. I am quite sure there will be something of interest for everyone here, being a city that is an important cultural center for the region with a very long history, so feel free to consult our Mexican colleagues on what to do and see outside of the official congress programme.
“Que Todos Signifique Todos” or “May Everyone Really Mean Everyone” is the theme for this 34th IBBY Congress. With our focus on reading as an inclusive experience by and for everyone, I am sure everyone will agree with me that the timing of this congress is perfect given the state of affairs of the world today. Reading can heal, reading will open the window to the world, reading will be the mirror to oneself, reading for everyone and by everyone.
Over the 60 years since IBBY was born, we have achieved much progress. Although, many times I have felt that our progress has been impeded by the actions of some people or authorities who blatantly disregard the value of humanity, in particular that of children and young people, as well as the weak, and women especially. All done in the pursuit of power and wealth. I am nevertheless heartened by the perseverance, empathy and solidarity shown by IBBY members in opposing these despicable acts that have resulted in loss of life, destruction of homes and safe places for children, and the damage done to the infrastructures that are needed for our day-to-day lives. Time and again IBBY members have rallied and come together not only in voice, but have generously contributed in a very significant manner to provide relief by means of books, materials and human support.
For a number of years IBBY, with the Katherine Paterson Family Foundation, has been supporting two libraries in Gaza. One on the border with Egypt at Rafah and the other in Beit Hanoun further north. Last year in the springtime, I was able to visit these libraries – it was the first time that an IBBY President had visited Gaza. I went with Jehan Helou, Patsy Aldana and Liz Page and we were deeply touched by our colleagues unwavering spirit and hospitality. Now, only one year after that momentous visit, our libraries have been damaged or destroyed, the communities displaced after the air bombardment and the land invasion by the Israeli army and children and their families killed.
Today, I would like to announce the launch of the IBBY Children in Crisis Fund for Gaza as IBBY takes the steps of coming forward again for the children of Gaza. They need, not only food, medicine and shelter, but above all they need comfort, stories and books to accompany them as they overcome the trauma and look forward to a brighter and peaceful future. We look forward to your support for our friends and children of Gaza at this moment of need. Please visit the IBBY website to make your donations, or take the flyer you can find at the IBBY booth.
I would like to take this opportunity, to congratulate IBBY Mexico for successfully hosting this Congress. It has been many years of planning and hard work by the committee led by the Mexico IBBY President, Bruno Newman and Managing Director Azucena Galindo Ortega and many others who have been working behind the scenes to bring us here today.
I would also like to record our warmest appreciation to all partners, sponsors and associates who have played a significant role in making the 34th IBBY Congress possible. This event would not have been possible if not for the close cooperation and understanding between IBBY Mexico and IBBY members worldwide. We hope you will enjoy the sessions and presentations that have been planned by the organisers.
On behalf of the executive Committee and the Secretariat I wish you an enjoyable and successful Congress.
Gracias. Thank you
IBBY Vice President
On behalf of
Ahmad Redza Ahmad Khairuddin,
Mexico City, Mexico
Wednesday, 10 September 2014