PUTRAJAYA became the first South-East Asian city to host the biennial International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Congress.
Themed “The Power of Stories”, the three-day event which explored the similarities in children’s tales across different cultures, drew delegates from 28 countries.
A total of 145 participants discussed how these stories could be used to educate children in other societies.
Malaysia IBBY president Datuk Ahmad Redza Ahmad Khairuddin said the non-profit organisation was set up in 1953 to encourage the reading habit among children.
“This is achieved by promoting children’s literature with the aim of bridging the gap between various cultures and instilling moral values,” he said.
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, IBBY currently has representatives in over 80 countries.
Ahmad Redza said Putrajaya was chosen this year with the aim of showcasing Malaysian folklore to an international audience.
“It is also to show the harmonious relationships among the different ethnic groups in Malaysia,” he added.
Among countries that took part were Australia, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, India, Japan, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Thailand, Uganda, the United States and Vietnam.
Putrajaya Corporation (PPj) Corporate Communication Department director Norzita Abdul Razak said PPj worked closely with IBBY to organise the congress.
“As an agency under Federal Territories Ministry, we fully support the hosting of international events to promote this city,” she said.
Delegates attended a dinner at a hotel in Putrajaya, which was attended by Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Dr Shahidan Kassim, IBBY president Mingzhou Zhang and PPj president Datuk Fadlun Mak Ujud.
In his speech, Shahidan expressed hope that the event would foster the reading habit among the young through publication of quality books.
He said the event was also an opportunity for local writers and publishers to exchange ideas with international peers.
“I hope the international delegates will spend some time to discover the beauty and uniqueness of this city,” he added.