Welcome Speech by Mr. Hai Fei, President of CBBY


Speech delivered at the Opening Ceremony of the 30th IBBY World Congress, Macao, China

21st September 2006

Your Excellency, Mr Edmund, Ho Hou Wah, Chief Executive of the Macau SAR

Honourable President of IBBY, Mr Peter Scheck

Honourable Chairman of the Publishers Association of China, Mr Yu Youxian

Honourable Vice- chairperson of All china Youth Federation, Ms Zhang Xiaolan

Honourable guests, ladies and gentlemen, dear boys and girls:

Good morning!

‘It is a great pleasure to welcome friends from afar!’ the famous ancient Chinese educator Confuses said more than two thousand years ago. Since the 27th IBBY World Congress 2000 in Columbia, when it was decided that the 30th IBBY World Congress 2006 should take place in China, for six years, for 72 months, for totally 2190 days, we have been looking forward to this day. Today, we are delighted to see over 500 of our friends from over 54 countries around the world gather in Macao, a pearl of South China, a city of history and culture that has been included in the World Heritage list, a place that embodies cultures of the east and the west. Here, please allow me to represent the CBBY to extend the warmest and heartiest welcome to all of you.

As an organization committed to promote the development of Children’s literature and a good reading culture among young people all over the world, IBBY is like a banner, under which forces promoting international understand through children’s books gather. For half a century, IBBY is like the breeze of spring, reaching out to every corner around the world. IBBY is like a beautiful fairy tale, inspiring children everywhere.

It has been exactly 20 years since China started attending international activities organised by IBBY in 1986. In 1990, CBBY was established. In the last twenty years, China has been an active member of IBBY. In China more and more people get to know IBBY; more and more people have heard of the Hans Christian Andersen Award; more and more people have learnt about Ms Jella Lepman, founder of IBBY as well as the current president of IBBY Mr Peter Schneck, who has been in China four times. CBBY considers the opportunity of hosting the IBBY World Congress a great honour. We have held over 50 meetings, more than a dozen of press conferences in Beijing, Tianjing, Taiyuan, Macao and in Italy. We announced the event on over 200 newspapers, periodicals and broadcasters nationwide. During the countdown to the Congress we organised a series of activities, including the “I read – I grow – I dream – I am happy” involving tens of millions of children all over the country. We also established the “IBBY Bookhouse” and elected the “Children’s Reading Ambassador of China”. Under the guidance of the IBBY president Mr Peter Schneck, the executive committee of IBBY and the IBBY secretariat, this IBBY World Congress in Macao, with “Children’s Literature and Social Development” as its theme, is going to show its Chinese characteristics, Asian characteristics and international characteristics. And for the first time children are going to attend IBBY congress alongside with the grownups and voice their opinions. 17 children selected through competition will speak on the “Children’s Forum”, which is to be chaired by children.

In response to a request from IBBY, delegates from three of our neighbouring countries, namely Vietnam, Lao and Myanmar, which are not yet members to the IBBY, have been invited to attend the Congress free of charge, hoping that this Congress can also serve to bring more of our neighbours in Asia to the IBBY big family. The programme of this Congress has also included over ten exhibitions, such as the Chinese National Children’s Book Fair and the Asian Children’s Book Fair. All these is going to encourage China, a country with 367 million young people, a huge market annually publishing over 10 thousand kinds of children’s books, over 260 children’s periodicals, selling over 600 million volumes of books amounting to 4 billion Renmibi, to attach even more attention to the creation of children’s books, publishing children’s books, promoting a good reading culture among young people and communication with the international community.

There is evidence that China has gained a lot through its relations with IBBY. And I would like to represent CBBY to once more express our heartfelt thanks to IBBY, and to our friends from all over the world.

Finally, I wish the Congress a great success! And I hope Macao with her beauty, China with her long history, together with this grand congress will be present and memorable experience to every one of you.

So Glory belongs to IBBY. Thank you.