Palestine Declared IBBY Section

Monday 10 February 2014

Palestine was officially declared the 65th IBBY Section, during the Children’s International Bologna Book Fair, April 2003.
Nilima Sinha (India), IBBY’s Vice President and Chair of the Membership Subcommittee at that time said:

“ .. In these difficult and painful times, when children are suffering as a result of a conflict for which they bear no responsibility, which they cannot comprehend, and before which they are helpless, it is important for us to reaffirm the ideals that IBBY stands for. It is children’s culture and their right to books and reading that we normally value. Today it is the very lives of children that need to be defended."

Tayo Shima, from Japan past President of IBBY wrote in this context:

“Since Jella Lepman’s time, we have never lost faith in books, which open doors to hope and help us find pathways leading out of despair. The answer you have given at the very outset of your IBBY term will reassure IBBY members all over the world that there is no contradiction between what they are working toward and the reality of IBBY. Arduous as it may be, IBBY has taken a step forward.”


N. B. Many barriers and problems faced the membership of Palestine, whereby the IBBY suggested, at the time, that the members from the occupied land join the Israeli section. After rejection and struggle, the membership of the Director of Tamer Institute for Community Education, Jehan Helou, was accepted in 2002 as an individual membership!

The rejection of Palestine membership continued under the pretext that it is not a sovereign state. The the unfriendly and conservative people continued trying to stop the decision Palestine joining. We are very thankful that we had a powerful nomination for Palestine membership by the UK IBBY.

The founding committee, with the support of Tamer Institute followed up on this issue with great efforts to guarantee Palestine membership. Our membership resolution had the majority of votes of IBBY 65 national members in the twenty eighth IBBY Congress in Basel (2002), as it was the fiftieth anniversary of the founding IBBY. However, the official declaration tool place in Bologna book fair as cited above.

The Founding Committee of IBBY Palestine :

Jehan Helou
Mary Fasheh
Arham el Damen

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