The Bogotá International Book Fair (FILBO) brings together exhibitors from the book industry worldwide but primarily from Latin America. It is held annually at the Corferias-Centro de Convenciones in Bogotá, Colombia.
Diversity characterized the 2016 fair, which took place from April 19 to May 2. More than 150,000 titles were available in twenty-three exhibition halls, and three hundred of the best-known domestic and foreign authors were present. A total of 1,240 events, representing twenty-one countries, attracted more than five hundred thousand people.
The Bogotá Urantia Association has been present at the fair for the last several years, but it was only in 2014 that the Association began participating with its own booth. This endeavour has meant both a financial investment and a human one of time and service.
More volunteers are participating in the booth as awareness of El libro de Urantia is growing. This project would not have been possible without the service and support of more than forty people, including direct volunteers at the booth and indirect partners providing support in various other ways. The Bogotá Urantia Association gives the volunteers a big thank-you for their work and service.
We are also thankful to Urantia Foundation for donating 150 hardcover books for the fair. One hundred and two books were sold at our booth, and proceeds were used to help offset costs of the booth.
Over sixteen thousand flyers were distributed to persons who visited our booth. These flyers contained Urantia Association contact information, websites, and lists of books and other publications about The Urantia Book.
Volunteers spoke directly with more than two thousand people about El libro de Urantia, giving them an explanation about the book and addressing the different interests of each person. Many of these people already had heard of the book. Some of them already have the book or have study groups and are interested in receiving more information.
Names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses were collected from 305 people interested in purchasing a book, receiving the Association’s News Bulletin, or participating in events, lectures, or future conferences.
During the course of the fair there were three introductory lectures about The Urantia Book and a workshop entitled “Epigenetics of Urantia,” which was attended by more than thirty people.
The location of the booth was excellent as measured by the great flow of people who visited us, especially young people. The booth was attractive and included a counter, a display of books, two tables with chairs for visitors, a computer to take information, and a dataphone for credit card payments. The walls were decorated with large-scale posters of the book, Jesus, and the Master Universe.
We gained great personal satisfaction from our efforts in several ways: through meeting new readers, making contact with long-time readers—especially independent Urantia Book readers—and, above all, helping many people discover the Urantia Revelation. We are also gratified that this project blazes a trail and sets an example for readers elsewhere in the world who may be encouraged to undertake similar service projects.
Andres Ramírez, Marlene Tovar Alvarado, and Wilson León
Members of the Bogotá Urantia Association