Greek official hails int'l participation in Tehran Book Fair

Tehran, May 4, IRNA – Representative of Hellenic Foundation For Culture from Greece said she has been astonished by the huge participation of foreign countries in Tehran International Book Fair.

'This year in my opinion the exhibition was better organized,' Katerina Balamoti said in an exclusive interview with IRNA, adding: 'The presence of the guests of honor was remarkable and I'm also impressed by the international participation of countries from Asia, Middle East and the neighboring countries.'

Elaborating on the cultural relations between Iran and Greece, she said: 'This year we had the great honor to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Tehran international Book Fair and Thessaloniki international Book Fair.'

'That means from now on every year we will be exchanging booths in the respective exhibitions,' Balamoti reiterated.

Referring to 'Thessaloniki international Book Fair' which is one of the most important international activities in Greece, she said: 'As far as I know Tehran international Book Fair is the most famous and well received of all exhibitions in Iran.'

'From the organizing organization they told us that around 3 million people in total visit the exhibition during the 11 days of its duration,' she noted.

Expressing her surprise of Iranian visitors' interest in reading books, Balamoti said: 'You see hundreds of thousands of people in this huge place, Mosallah, they buy books, they visit the International department, they memorize parts of Hafez and Ferdowsi.'

She went on to say 'This is definitely a clear indicator of how much Iranians love reading. How much are familiar with the Book culture! I really admire this! I love this picture!'

Commenting on whether Iranian publishers attend Greek festivals, she said: 'Every year the Iranian cultural center is participating in Thessaloniki event, but after the MoU we signed this year Tehran international Book Fair will have a stand as well.'

'We are so happy for this development and we can't wait to start the preparations,' she reiterated.

Thessaloniki is a city at the north of Greece, the second biggest city after the capital Athens.

In response to IRNA reporter's question as regard Greek officials' attempt to translate Iranian works, Balamoti said: 'There are some translations of classical Iranian poetry (Roumi and Hafez).'

She added: 'There are also some theatrical plays, books about Islam and very few children books.'

Elaborating on their initiatives to reinforce ties with Iranian publishers, Greek official said: 'One of our goals within the next years is to bring in contact Iranian and Greek publishers so we can see more Iranian books were translated directly to Greek language but also Greek books were translated to Farsi.'

'We are also aware of the 'book Grant' program by the Iranian Ministry of Culture and we are in negotiations with the respective organization handling the programme, so... fingers crossed! We hope that we'll soon harvest the first results of our hard work,' Balamoti said.

The 32nd Tehran International Book Fair (TIBF) has kicked off at the center of Tehran in presence of Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Chinese Minister of Culture as well as the Chinese cultural delegation.

Interview by: Ali Izadi

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