Debrecen is applying for the title of UNESCO City of Literature


The mayor of the city signed the decision: Debrecen is applying for the title of UNESCO “City of Literature”, the local government said. The four-year program, which covers many areas of culture, focuses on “literature as medicine”. An information on the details of the wide-ranging application was held on June 3, 2021 in the Grand Library of the Reformed College.

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) established the Network of Creative Cities in 2004 with the aim of strengthening cooperation between municipalities. As part of this, cities are invited to apply to join in seven areas of creativity. Debrecen will submit its application in the field of literature. Mayor László Papp said in a press presentation: Debrecen has developed a lot in the field of economic development in recent years, but a city is strong if it not only focuses on a certain area, but builds its future in all segments of life.

“We want Debrecen to be involved in the cultural history of the world through the UNESCO tender, and to achieve serious results there as well. I am very confident that the city’s cultural brand – which still exists today but is perhaps little known outside the country – can be further built by this title, ”the mayor said.

László Pósán, the chairman of the cultural committee of the Parliament, spoke about the fact that Debrecen’s tender could open the door to all Hungarian literature to the world. The Member of Parliament also emphasized the importance of the Reformed Library as a venue for information.

“The library is a very rich repository of language, culture and literary works. Nowhere is there such a wealth in the country as in the Reformed College: our ancestors created the paradigm of literature here, ”added László Pósán.

István Puskás, Deputy Mayor for Culture, said that the City of Literature Network currently has 29 members from all continents of the world. In addition to the possibility, it is also a responsibility that in case of a successful tender, Debrecen can transmit Hungarian literature to other cultures. He added that the creation of the tender material alone shows the diversity of Debrecen’s culture.

“Through the Méliusz Juhász Péter Library, the University of Debrecen, the Debrecen Reformed College, the Csokonai Theater and the Debrecen House of Literature, the Déri Museum also participated in the process. In addition, more than two dozen city organizations: educational institutions, churches, ethnic self-governments, non-governmental organizations, creative communities and artists joined the common thinking, and even the New Oradea magazine in Oradea added to the tender, ”the deputy mayor pointed out.

Béla Lóránt Kovács, Director of the Péter Méliusz Juhász Library, responsible for the project, announced: Debrecen is committed to cooperating with African cultures and the African communities living here, in accordance with the UN agenda. In addition, the peculiarity of the application is that it focuses on healthy well-being.

“As our application puts it, literature can be a medicine, a balm. The pandemic affected us all mentally, and the arts and literature within it are suitable for healing mental wounds, ”said Béla Lóránt Kovács.

The results of the tender are expected to be announced by UNESCO at the end of October.


Debrecen City Hall Press

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