Bodour Al Qasimi, President of IPA during her keynote address.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
In the lead-up to the 40th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), diverse voices representing the global publishing ecosystem have come together for the 11th edition of the three-day Publishers Conference to network and unite industrywide efforts to build a roadmap for post-pandemic recovery.
Organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) in partnership with the International Publishers Association (IPA) at Expo Centre Sharjah, the three-day conference began on Sunday, 31 October highlighting the need for stronger stakeholder collaboration and cooperation.
In a keynote address, Bodour Al Qasimi, President of IPA, reiterated their commitment to help support publishers emerge stronger from the pandemic.
“As we celebrate the 125th anniversary of the IPA this year, we are reminded of its long-standing role in giving a voice to publishers around the world,” said Al Qasimi, recounting the role IPA has played not just during global crises but throughout history to address key issues like protection of copyright, freedom to publish and the development of literacy, which affect industry stakeholders worldwide.
Referring to IPA discussions in the context of COVID-19 over the past 18 months, Bodour Al Qasimi emphasised, “We want to enhance multi-stakeholder cooperation and strengthen solidarity between each.
This is why the IPA worked with many partners to develop the International Sustainable Publishing and Industry Resilience Plan, also known as the Inspire Plan.
More than 50 publishing stakeholders have already committed to collaborating on its 10 objectives, following its recent launch. “We hope to see more trade organisations endorse the Plan during the Sharjah International Book Fair, and strengthen our chance of a strong recovery through collective action and increased dialogue,” the IPA President added.
Bodour Al Qasimi also reiterated to the conference attendees that IPA is working with different partners to help bridge the skills gap through the launch of the IPA Academy.
Upon its launch, “the Academy will offer online masterclasses in multiple languages to all our members, which will help bridge the skills gap, and help our members adapt to rapidly changing readership and consumer behaviour trends,” the IPA President explained.Welcoming participants to the conference, Ahmed Bin Rakkad Al Ameri, SBA Chairman, reflected on Sharjah’s exemplary human-centric journey of development as envisioned by His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.
He noted: “In 2001, the world agreed on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and in 2015, the United Nations announced the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The vital sectors of growth as identified by these goals included health, education, services and food security.
I suggest putting the publishing sector on this list too as it fulfils functions vital to life and progress.”
Al Ameri also suggested that the publishing sector’s contributions feature in global developmental plans and strategies, and that stakeholders collectively agree on indicators to measure the growth, flexibility and sustainability of the global publishing industry.
“If the eradication of illiteracy is the starting point for the nation’s development, then the development of skills, conscience and imagination will guarantee that this development is continuous and long-term.
The sustainability of the publishing sector, therefore, becomes not an isolated goal but a vital piece in the global developmental,” the SBA Chairman concluded.
Landmark Inspire Charter to build industry solidarity, drive resiliency: Leading the professional agenda of the 11th Publishers Conference was a panel discussion that explored IPA’s Inspire Plan roadmap which sets the stage for the creation of a more united, resilient, and inclusive post-pandemic publishing industry, and paves the way for coordinated action to strengthen and elevate the entire publishing ecosystem.
Moderating a conversation on ‘Coming Together in Crisis: How the International Sustainable Publishing and Industry Resilience (Inspire) Initiative is Supporting Industry Recovery in Unprecedented Times’, Karine Pansa, Vice President of IPA, said: “Inspire was born from a landmark IPA report From Response to Recovery: The Impact of COVID-19 on the Global Publishing Industry, published in November 2020.
A headline finding was a universal call for solidarity in working together towards a more coherent and resilient publishing industry.”
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
‘As we celebrate the 125th anniversary of the IPA this year, we are reminded of its long-standing role in giving a voice to publishers around the world,’ said Al Qasimi
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