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The 6th Arab Publishers Conference explores innovative publishing strategies

 As part of the 41st Sharjah International Book Fair, the sixth edition of Arab Publishers Conference (APC) began at Expo Centre Sharjah under the patronage and presence of Bodour Al Qasimi, president of the International Publishers Association (IPA).

 Organised by Emirates Publishers Association in partnership with Sharjah Book Authority, the conference was held under the theme, ‘Arabic Content Creation and Post-Pandemic Challenges’, and brought together distinguished local and regional personalities including Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi, UAE  Minister of Culture and Youth; Mohamed Rashad, President of the Arab Publishers Association (APA); and Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, in the presence of His Excellency Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), representatives from thze League of Arab States as well as 35 publishers and speakers.

 In her keynote speech, Bodour Al Qasimi shared three lessons learnt during her tenure as President of IPA when she visited book fairs in the region and around the world and met with publishers associations from over 25 countries. She said these lessons include the necessity of working and communicating with the global publishing sector, strengthening bilateral regional cooperation between publishers, in addition to promoting policies of diversity and inclusion to achieve positive change.

 The IPA President said: “The global publishing sector is currently witnessing rapid and transformative developments. This requires Arab publishers to keep themselves up-to-date through continuous and active engagements with regional and international publishers, institutions, and organisations if they must remain an important partner in international deliberation on the realities and future of the publishing sector.”

 Bodour Al Qasimi added: “The major success stories in the publishing industry are the outcome of  effective bilateral regional cooperation between publishers in the same geographic region, especially those that share a similar language or cultural values. Arab publishers should strengthen regional cooperation to utilise shared resources to reach more readers around the world, and boost growth opportunities.”

 Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, asserted the importance of convening APC alongside SIBF 2022, pointing out that the book fair is one of the major Arab and international cultural events and has a positive impact on the Arab publishing ecosystem.

 The Minister said that this reflects the growth of the UAE’s publishing sector and the corresponding increase in demand for investments in the book industry which is the result of the milestones and successes achieved by the UAE over the past years in organising exhibitions, launching literary awards, providing incentives and introducing legislation that protects and safeguards rights of publishers and authors and supports the development of the publishing sector ecosystem, locally and regionally.

 An Arab League Secretary-General, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, stressed in a recorded message that culture serves as a bridge between Arab countries, adding that culture is rooted in the Arabic language that Arabs use to read and write academic and creative material, creating a strong and everlasting bond that will endure for centuries to come.

 The Secretary-General praised the growing segment of readers in the Arab world due to the launch of strong and successful reading initiatives, especially by the UAE. He urged Arab governments to continue their support for the publishing industry due to its vital societal and cultural role.

 Mohamed Rashad, President of the Arab Publishers Association, lauded the patronage and support of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, for the publishing industry. Rashad pointed out that the Sharjah Ruler has sponsored the participation of Arab Publishers Union in international exhibitions in Frankfurt, London, Paris and Bologna.

 According to Iman Ben Chaibah, EPA’s Vice-President, APC aims to accelerate the development of tools and solutions to reach a wider network of readers and meet the demands of various segments of society. The EPA Vice President added this was essential especially for students and scholars due to the increased adoption of remote learning, which makes Arabic content creation and development a key priority.