Dubai Cares, IPA to shore up African publishing - GulfToday

Dubai Cares, IPA to shore up African publishing


A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Sheikha Bodour and Tariq Al Gurg.

Dubai Cares has committed to contributing Dhs2,938,800 ($800,000) over four years to expand the reach of the International Publishers Association’s (IPA) programmes in Africa, as well as to co-operate on new initiatives with regard to sustainable development, education, and publishing, reports WAM.

Kenya and Morocco have been identified as initial focus countries, with other beneficiary countries to be announced at a later stage.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed to this effect by Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Vice President of the IPA, and Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares.

Commenting on the new partnership, Al Qasimi said, “Our work in Africa is based on quickly moving from words to action, and Dubai Cares is one of the most agile, responsive partners we could hope to partner with. IPA and Dubai Cares will be working with a range of on-the-ground partners, including publishers, policymakers, and civil society, to implement innovative, replicable solutions to transform the future of African publishing.”

Highlighting that Africa and the Arab World have young, increasingly digitally connected populations, Al Gurg said, “For this reason, the publishing industry has significant potential to contribute to sustainable development. Through this partnership, we will work with the IPA and local implementing partners on tough, systemic challenges, such as textbook shortages and rural literacy, which prevent a number of African countries from achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 4.”

In 2018, the IPA initiated its Africa Seminar series, which has evolved into a continent-wide, multi-sectoral platform for creative thinking, collaboration, and action to shape the future of African publishing. Through IPA’s seminars and cooperation with entities such as Dubai Cares, it is piloting innovative, replicable solutions to the African publishing industry’s most pressing challenges, while supporting sustainable development.

Recently, the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY), in collaboration with the Sharjah World Book Capital Office (SWBCO), curated a 50-title Silent Book Exhibition at the 29th edition of Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF 2019).

In the past couple of years, UAEBBY – the UAE’s national section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) – has been engaging publishers, authors, readers, and cultural institutions in the UAE and raising awareness about the ‘silent’ or wordless book genre. It has remained an uncharted literary territory in the country until UAEBBY hosted the first-ever Silent Book Exhibition in the UAE in August 2017.

The ADIBF 2019 participation is a continuation of these efforts, showcasing to visitors how silent books are ever-increasing in popularity. The books created a huge impact in stimulating children’s imagination, encouraging them to take flight and find inspiration in these pictures to write their own stories.

Hugo Setzer, President, International Publishers Association (IPA), and Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi visited the exhibition, which in addition to seven silent books written by UAE-based authors, features 50 books chosen from submissions made by IBBY National Sections around the world.

The birth of IBBY Silent Book Exhibition back in 2012 was in response to the wave of refugees, particularly children, arriving to the Italian island of Lampedusa. Their aim was to give these children a way to enjoy the universal language of beautifully illustrated stories and open the stories to interpretation and sharing.

By bringing this exhibition to ADIBF 2019, UAEBBY seeks to shed light on how these illustration-only books have helped the unprecedented wave of refugees across the world cope with their struggles. It also aims to stimulate local efforts to support more original literary creation in the silent books genre, thereby, promoting the UAE’s strategy to develop the nation’s cultural landscape.

Marwa Al Aqroubi, President of UAEBBY and Project Manager of Sharjah World Book Capital 2019, said: “Our participation in Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) seeks to support the silent books industry in the UAE, encourage the exchange of knowledge and expertise, and develop the capabilities of silent book illustrators, authors and publishers.”

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