As Lord Mayor of Dublin, I have today received the most wonderful news for this great city of ours – The Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has informed me that Dublin has been formally designated a UNESCO City of Literature, part of the Creative Cities network. In her letter to me, confirming the designation, The DG said ‘I am confident that the city of Dublin…will play an active part in the network’s joint activities and I know that I can count on your city’s innovative capacity and on its spirit of solidarity with cities in developing countries…I look forward to a fruitful cooperation between UNESCO and the City of Dublin’
Dublin is only the fourth city in the world to receive this sought after – and, I believe, thoroughly deserved accolade - which we now share with Edinburgh, Melbourne and Iowa. The application process for the designation, led by our City Council Library Service in association with a steering committee representing most of the relevant agencies in Dublin, has been a long and arduous journey and congratulations are due to all who have been involved in the process.
This is a fantastic opportunity for Dublin to capitalise on its international reputation as a great literary city and I want to encourage all the partners in this endeavour to work together in maximising the value of this rare honour. Now that the designation has been received, it is up to all of us to ensure that the aims of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in championing cultural excellence, and in our case, literary excellence - are met in full in the years which follow.
Those of us who are intent on developing Dublin’s credentials as a cultural tourism destination will also understand and value this opportunity to increase our city’s visibility in a highly competitive market. The range of literary and cultural activities which Dublin already hosts is evidence of our commitment in this area and I am certain that the added impetus of the UNESCO brand will galvanize new and exciting initiatives in time to come.
Finally, may I draw your attention to the Dublin UNESCO City of Literature website which is being launched today and which will act both as a channel for all that the City plans to do in support of its new status - and as a focal point for all those interested in connecting with Dublin – The City of Literature.