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The most effective ways of improving the publishing and book industry in the UAE was the theme of a Ramadan gathering held on Thursday night. Organised by Emirates Publishers Association (EPA) and attended by its President, Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, the Suhoor event saw local publishers invited to discuss the EPA vision, which is aimed at promoting the country as a regional and international publishing hub.

Leading the discussion, the Executive Director of EPA Rashid Al Kous, praised the achievements of the EPA under the leadership of Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi and highlighted her tireless efforts in advancing the organisation’s cause, which resulted in EPA securing full membership of the International Publishers Association (IPA) in 2012. He reiterated that full IPA membership status is an international recognition and is one that has helped extend EPA’s regional and global reach.

Outlining the current book market’s contribution to the UAE’s national economy estimated at AED 820 million, Al Kous said: “As members of the EPA, along with publishers, we have a responsibility to maintain the association’s achievements during the past eight years and to work hard to record more successes that contribute to promoting the publishing industry in the UAE.”

Al Kous announced that – as per the directives of Bodour Al Qasimi – the EPA board will work on formulating a common vision that will qualify the industry to play a pivotal role in the UAE’s cultural, social and economic development, as well as fulfill the members’ expectations and maintain their copyrights. In addition to announcing plans and designing executive programmes that empower the EPA to strengthen ties with its members, he revealed the launch of an ‘Ideas Box’ to receive suggestions proposed by EPA members.

The attendees were unanimous in their agreement of the importance of providing an appealing environment that is organised by a set of rules and regulations to guarantee rights, as well as the need to work in harmony as a team to support publishers, who play a leading role in providing Arab readers with creative content across an array of fields.

On the side-lines of the Ramadan evening gathering, the EPA’s directorates held their second meeting within the current session, approving the point discussed in their previous meeting. The activity also witnessed extensive talks about future plans and strategies.

Established in 2009 under the patronage of Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, EPA seeks to serve and develop the UAE’s publishing sector. It works to improve the conditions and laws relating to publishing in coordination with the related authorities concerned with publishing in the UAE and to enhance the role of publishers in the country by providing them with the most efficient training programmes.