Benghazi, 29 September:
Benghazi is to be Libya’s “Capital of Culture” for the year 2013. The decision was announced by the Ministry . . .[restrict]of Culture and Civil Society on Wednesday.
According to the ministry’s director of information, Adel Son’Allah, the title “Capital of Culture” has been created to encourage cultural activities in towns and cities across the country. Each year a different place will be awarded the designation. During that year all the official cultural activities sponsored by the Libyan state will be run from that place.
The decision to give Benghazi the first award is seen as reflecting the fact that it has long been considered more of a centre of culture than Tripoli.
Benghazi University first started life as the University of Libya’s college of arts and education in 1955. The university’s science faculty was in Tripoli.
Benghazi’s particular suitability was confirmed by Son’Allah who himself admitted that the title was chosen on the basis of cultural activities in the city. He pointed out, however, that the success of the award would depend on the level of coordination by the city’s local council.
He emphasised, however, that the designation of any town or city as capital of cultural did not in any way mean neglecting other places.