Twenty Ideas Box for peace in Colombia

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Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and French President François Hollande launch the "mobile libraries for peace." Crédit : Efraín Herrera – SIG

Libraries Without Borders has partnered with the Colombian Ministry of Culture, the National Library of Colombia and the Public Libraries Network to set up twenty Ideas Box for peace.

This concrete and innovative, French-Colombian initiative was launched on Monday, January 23 by President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia and President François Hollande of France, who was visiting the country until today. This project fulfills the commitment presented at the closing plenary of the 2016 annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative.

Known as the Ideas Box, this digital library was developed by Libraries Without Borders in partnership with the designer Philippe Starck and is manufactured in France. It is an effective tool for accessing culture, education and information, and has already been deployed in over a dozen countries around the world. In 2016, the Ideas Box won the International Literacy Award from the Library of Congress.

As part of Colombia’s historic reconciliation process, the Ministry of Culture, the National Library and the Public Libraries Network hope to expand library services to the areas most affected by the armed conflict. In the summer of 2016, Libraries Without Borders was contacted to provide twenty Ideas Box kits and to support their implementation. These twenty educational spaces will provide library services to remote, rural populations, giving community members a place to come together through culture. The mobile libraries are part of a broader effort to restore trust and promote reconciliation in post-conflict communities.

Through this French-Colombian collaboration, Libraries Without Borders aims to demonstrate that culture and libraries are essential tools for restoring peace, promoting community reconciliation and building the foundations for coexistence. “Culture is a powerful lever for promoting peace and reconciliation, which are foundations for society,” says Patrick Weil, President of Libraries Without Borders.