In front of the overfull exhibiting space of this year’s Guest of Honor of the 63rd International Belgrade Book Fair, the Kingdom of Morocco, the largest cultural event in the region has been festively opened this evening under the slogan “The Joy of Reading”.

On behalf of the Guest of Honor Country at the Book Fair, the attendees were approached by Moroccan historian Abdellah Boussouf who expressed his gratitude to the Republic of Serbia that it selected Morocco as the first Arab country to be the Guest of Honor at the Book Fair and highlighted “it is undoubtedly a great support to the development of cultural relations and communication between Morocco and Serbia and strengthening of the civilization relations between the two nations”. “Welcoming speech, traditionally given by the Fair organizer to a writer, contains in it the rooted tradition of an open society toward another one. These two characteristics, openness and the acceptance of someone else are undoubtedly two characteristics shared by Serbian and Moroccan societies during their history”, highlighted Abdellah Boussouf and concluded “No doubt, this Book Fair will be an opportunity at get to know some aspects of this heritage and, hopefully, also be the contribution to the cooperation building between the writers and cultural professionals in both countries and getting closer of our two nations”.

Moroccan historian Abdellah Boussouf

The honor of opening this year’s Belgrade Book Fair belonged to the writer and Academician Matija Bećković, who pointed out the International Belgrade Book Fair was “the most loved Book Fair in the world” and it was “the whole nation’s fest and the red letter in the Serbian culture calendar”. He said “There are older, more famous and wealthier Book Fairs, but there is not another one where you would be more welcome, wherever you may come from. At the other ones you will meet more glorious writers, bigger publishers, more powerful businessmen, but there is not another one where you will see more reading people” and added “The Book Fair without readers, the church without believers”. He highlighted the Book Fair was the spiritual property of the reading people and “in spite of the technology triumph, the book remains. The book was at the beginning and will be also at the end”, concluded Matija Bećković.

The 63rd International Belgrade Book Fair opening was attended, among others, also by Vladan Vukosavljević, Ministar of Culture and Information of Serbia, Mohamed El Aaraj, Moroccan Minister of Culture and Communication, Vladimir Medinsky, Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation, Ivan Karl, Secretary in the Secretariat for Culture of the City of Belgrade, Danka Selić, General Director of Belgrade Fair, Representatives of Diplomatic Corps of the Guest of Honor Countries, Representatives of the City Assembly, publishers and many visitors to the Fair.

Within the Festive Opening, the leading opera singer at the National Theater in Belgrade, Jasmina Trumbetaš Petrović, performed, as well, singing the songs Dicitencello Vuie and All Routes Take to the Sea, with the piano accompaniment of  Zarifa Alizadeh.

The best visited cultural event in Serbia and the largest Book Fair in the region will be open daily until Sunday, October 28.