EPA Board Members with the Ministry of Community Development Delegation.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
During its eighth board member meeting, the Emirates Publishers Association (EPA) discussed the possibility of launching a new project to transform their member publishers’ titles to the Epub format, which is globally the most widely supported vendor-independent eBook format. Under the project, publishers will undergo training to adapt and convert their titles to the format used on major eBook platforms on the internet, to ensure the reach and accessibility of local content to a wider reading audience.
During the meeting, EPA members approved the recommendations of the previous meeting, discussed pressing concerns of the industry, and reviewed the outcomes of the 'Emergency Fund' which was launched by EPA, to mitigate the financial impact of COVID-19 on the UAE’s publishing industry.
The board meeting was attended by senior EPA officials including President Ali Obaid Bin Hatem; Vice President Iman Ben Chaibah; Executive Director Rashid Al Kous; Treasurer Mohammed Bin Dakheen; Board Member and Secretary Dr. Alyazia Khalifais; Board Member Abdullah Al Kaabi; and several other EPA members.
Members also discussed their initiative, Meet the Emirati Publishers on the EPA website https://www.epa.org.ae/EPA-Members.aspx to expand the global reach of its publishers and support the translation of Arabic books into various languages to enable local publishers gain networking opportunities with their international counterparts during the coronavirus pandemic.
EPA also received a delegation from the Ministry of Community Development of the UAE, with whom they discussed ways to advance the local publishing sector. The association briefed the delegation on several projects, including Meet the Emirati Publishers, Manassah platform, and Emergency Fund, and highlighted the impact of international participation in building bridges and cooperation amongst publishers.
The delegation lauded EPA's efforts to advance and support the publishing industry and in launching programmes and initiatives to boost their competitiveness in the market. They also called for formulating a new mechanism to ensure continued cooperation between the two sides.
Visiting delegates from the ministry included Abdullah Omar, Director of Public-Benefit Associations Department; and Ahmad Al Khadem, Deputy Director of Non-Benefit Public Associations Department.
Following the meeting, Ali Obaid Bin Hatem, President of EPA, emphasised that the UAE’s publishing industry has been making great progress on several fronts. The increased demand for books over the past few years has encouraged more publishers to join the sector, thus improving content creation, and leading to the growth of ebooks and smart applications.
He added: “During the board meeting, we approved the recommendations of the previous one. Every meeting paves the way for the start of new programmes, projects, and plans that are aimed at providing a nurturing environment for publishers to ensure their sustainability and competitiveness during the challenging circumstances of the pandemic." Bin Hatem added that EPA has developed a set of proposals and programmes to be implemented in the future to further aid the sector’s competitiveness.
Commenting on the discussions with the delegation from the ministry, he said: "We are keen on strengthening cooperation with various entities in the country to take forward our shared vision of making the UAE a regional and international hub for the publishing sector. During the meeting, we also presented our upcoming plans and projects related to digital publishing.”
The Emirates Publishers Association (EPA) was founded in 2009 to serve and develop the publishing sector in the UAE and advance the role of Emirati publishers through training and mentorship programmes. EPA represents the interests of publishing professionals in the UAE and works on advancing their rights and improving the conditions in the industry in coordination with the authorities concerned, locally and internationally.
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