Our city has been the city of books for centuries, books have made Debrecen one of the most important centers of Hungarian culture. The country's oldest printing house (which is also the country's oldest operating company) operates here, our libraries have been the guardians of the treasures of education for centuries, and our schools have been educating outstanding creators of Hungarian culture and literature for centuries. Magda Szabó is one of the best-known Hungarian names around the world, her novels gave and continue to give the joy of reading and encountering literature to many, many thousands of people.
But Debrecen is not only the city of books because of its outstanding achievements, but also because it is the home of citizens who love books, reading and literature. It was precisely for these reasons that we applied for the title of UNESCO City of Literature last year. Although we did not win the title, several project initiatives were created during the application process, during the joint thinking, which we think are valid and should be implemented regardless of the application.
We are now launching one of these, the Friends of the Book network, to which we welcome the applications of all those who, in addition to their everyday activities, live and support the culture of books and literature in any way, and it is also important to them that the joy of reading should be a common experience for as many citizens of Debrecen as possible.
The priority objective of the local government with this project is to strengthen social responsibility, and in this context, it wishes to support the cooperation and innovative initiatives of the participating actors. The joint work of the actors contributes to a new way of living as a community and fulfilling social responsibility. Another important goal of ours is to help disadvantaged groups whose members have less access to culture or do not benefit from the healing power of literature.
In the fall of 2022, we will announce the Book Path support project for members of the network, within the framework of which new collaborations related to literature can be created between members of the network.