Home > News Center > ICIF News > View ICIF News 

Godonou: Shenzhen should enhance international communication

Time:2012-05-21   Source:Shenzhen Daily

Alain Godonou

Zhang Yang

SHENZHEN is a diverse, fast-growing city that’s admirably preserving and promoting cultural and creative industries, but needs to strengthen international communication, a UNESCO official said after a three-day visit to the city’s major cultural facilities.

Alain Godonou is the director of UNESCO’s Division of Thematic Programs for Diversity, Development and Dialogue. He was invited to attend the 8th China International Cultural Industries Fair (ICIF) in Shenzhen.

As an expert in the preservation of cultural heritage, Godonou was particularly interested in the ICIF Hall 4 exhibitions on China’s intangible cultural heritage. He was impressed by displays of traditional Chinese folk arts and crafts such as textiles, porcelains and woodcarvings.

Godonou said China has one of the oldest craft traditions in the world, and should protect and develop markets for that heritage.

“It’s good to see at the ICIF that local cities in China are taking care of their cultural heritage and trying to empower people who have that knowledge,” he said.

During his stay, Godonou also visited the new Shenzhen Museum, Shenzhen Library and Shenzhen Book City CBD store. He was amazed by how fast Shenzhen has grown in only three decades and impressed by the city’s book services, especially the public library system’s self-service book-lending machines.

According to Shenzhen Library, 160 self-service book-lending machines are scattered throughout the city’s large communities, industrial parks, office clusters and transport hubs, and 40 more will be set up by the end of the year.

“It’s amazing that people can borrow and return books without going to a library,” Godonou said. “The technology and concept of Shenzhen’s library system is very advanced.”

Godonou got excited when he talked about the 24-hour Book Bar in Shenzhen Book City CBD store. He said it’s a creative idea to put the three elements — 24-hour service, books and a bar — together.

“The 24-hour Book Bar is a good place for people to read, meet and share,” Godonou said. “And it’s a good example for African countries to learn.”

Godonou, in his 50s, was born and raised in small West African country of Benin. Influenced by his family, Godonou has loved books and reading since childhood. He benefits a lot from reading and insists on promoting children’s reading.

Godonou praised the children’s reading room in Shenzhen Library, but said children’s reading should be further promoted in the city.

“Children are the future. We should provide a good reading environment for them,” he said.

Other cultural activities, such as the annual Reading Month, “Shenzhen 8 p.m.” and “Creative Markets,” also have left a deep impression on Godonou.

“It’s a successful achievement in such a short timespan,” he said. “Shenzhen citizens should be proud of their city.”

To further develop Shenzhen’s cultural industries, Godonou suggests the city enhance international communication, such as holding more international cultural activities, publishing more translated books and setting up international-level cultural awards.

“At UNESCO, we would like Shenzhen to share its experience with other countries,” Godonou said. “Shenzhen should keep a leadership role in international cultural and creative communication.”