The Mission of Mexico to the Organization of American States (OAS) on Tuesday donated the collection "The Perpetual Search: the Particular and the Universal in Latin American Culture," composed of a thousand books by Mexican authors to the hemispheric organization’s Columbus Memorial Library.
"When we speak of the Columbus Library, we are talking about the oldest institution of the Inter-American System, the first thing created by the Directorate General of the Pan American Union was this library," said the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, as he expressed his gratitude and acknowledged the value of the donation by Mexico during the event held at the Art Museum of the Americas in Washington, DC.
The leader of the hemispheric organization highlighted the initiative of the Mexican Mission noting that, "to make a donation of a thousand books by a thousand different authors is very difficult and can only be achieved in a country which has an literary industry of the dimensions that Mexico has." Insulza also highlighted the history of the Library that received the invaluable contribution, saying it "has remained true to its legacy, despite changes in technology, in the book industry, in communications and especially in the information and interconnectivity."
He recalled how the library of the OAS, as well as other important deposits of books in the world, is connected with many counterparts in several countries in the region, "which means that users have much greater access to books, records and other contents.”
The Ambassador of Mexico to the OAS, and Chair of the Permanent Council, Joel Hernandez, said that "an open book is a mind that speaks, closed it is a friend waiting, forgotten it is a soul that forgives, and destroyed it is a heart that cries. These words taken from an old Hindu proverb masterfully summarize the reason we are here today: the love of books."
The Mexican diplomat said, "on the occasion of the Mexican chairmanship of the Permanent Council, my team wanted to bring together a collection of newly released books by the various publishers in Mexico, and the effort in putting together this bibliography was exemplary."
Various study centers, publishers and government institutions are among the donors of the collection, including the Universidad Autónoma de México, the Colegio de México, the Colegio de la Frontera Norte, la Universidad Juárez Autónoma de Tabasco, el Fondo de Cultura Económica, Siglo XXI, Ediciones 2010, the National Council for Culture and the Arts, el Instituto Matías Romero, the Historical Diplomatic Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, el Archivo General de la Nación, el Congreso de la Unión, and the governments of the states of Hidalgo, Durango, Tabasco, Guanajuato and Nuevo León.
Ambassador Hernandez highlighted the strong roots with publishing houses in Mexico, saying "it does not come as a surprise to any of us that, throughout its history, the peoples of Latin America in general and Mexico in particular, have known how to respond to the material and spiritual conquest of the West with their own rich culture, contributing to the world with more than enough evidence."
"Since 1923, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, under the leadership of Mr. Genaro Estrada, founded the Mexican Diplomatic Historical Archive Collection and institutionalized an effort to raise awareness of, through the publication of books and materials, the history of Mexico and the evolution of its foreign policy," added the Chair of the Permanent Council.
The event was attended by several ambassadors from the Member Countries of the OAS, as well as the Director General of the Historical Diplomatic Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Mercedes de Vega; the Dean of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages of Georgetown University, Gwen Kirkpatrick; the Permanent Representative of Canada to the OAS and Chair of the Friends of the Columbus Library, Allan Culham; the Chief Librarian of the Columbus Memorial Library, Beverly Wharton-Lake; the Chief Correspondent of TV Azteca America, Armando Guzman; and the Director of the Museum of the Americas, Andres Navia.
A gallery of photos of the event is available here.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.