The Catalan Minister for Foreign Action and European Union, Meritxell Serret i Aleu, the Catalan Minister for Culture, Natàlia Garriga i Ibáñez, and the Secretary General of DIPLOCAT, Laura Foraster i Lloret, explained the series of activities organised by the Government of Catalonia and Catalan communities abroad to celebrate Sant Jordi all over the world, at a press conference at the Ramon Llull Institute in Barcelona.
"The festival of books and roses is our great ambassador to the world," said the Catalan Minister for Culture Natàlia Garriga. Garriga stressed that "our authors are increasingly being translated and held in high renown all over the world", and gave the example of Eva Baltasar, whose novel Boulder has made her the first Catalan-language author to be short-listed for the Booker Prize, one of the world's most prestigious literary awards.
The general secretary of DIPLOCAT, Laura Foraster, said that "many countries would pay to have a festival like this one, which is so broad-based and inclusive", and stressed that it is "one of Catalonia's best calling cards around the world, because of the values it represents". Foraster discussed the two major initiatives by DIPLOCAT to mark Sant Jordi: first, the programme for international visitors aimed at journalists, mainly from the cultural sphere, to enable them to enjoy the festival first hand; and second, the Books and Roses portal, which since 2015 has been the focus for all Sant Jordi events around the world, which this year total361 in 190 cities and 36 countries.
Meanwhile, the Catalan Minister for Foreign Action and European Union, Meritxell Serret, declared that "Sant Jordi is our most important festival for explaining who we are to the world. We raise Catalonia's profile in the world, with the Sant Jordi flag, and with the Catalan Government delegations abroad, which there are more of than ever. There will soon be twenty-one of them, and they all play a very useful role. It is a festival for the people – a festival in the street that people make their own, andit is diverse, plural, lively and dynamic". It is these values, she explained, "the richness and openness that Catalan society expresses when it celebrates Sant Jordi, that help us to raise our profile abroad".
"Catalonia's foreign action is inalienable, just like our language and our culture, and we will seek to engage in it all over the world", Serret stated. She also made a special mention of the thousands of Catalans living abroad, who are also celebrating their international day this Sunday: "we make our Sant Jordi festival greater for them, but above all with them".
More than a hundred events have been organised by the delegations of the Government of Catalonia abroad, in 20 countries and in 60 cities all over the world. These are in addition to the activities organised by the centres for the Catalan communities living abroad. The events are mainly literary and cultural, and include drama readings, concerts and exhibitions, but there are also translation and illustration workshops, activities for children, food tastings, lectures and performances by castellers(human towers), which all aim to raise awareness of Catalan language and culture everywhere to mark Sant Jordi.
You can find out about all the events organised by the Catalan Government delegations abroad via this link.