Sheikha Bodour in a meeting with publishers in Tbilisi.
The IPA leadership joined Mayor of Tbilisi Kakha Kaladze, Deputy Mayor of Kuala Lumpur Anwar Bin Mohd Zain and numerous other dignitaries for the ceremony, which every April 23 triggers 12 months with the new city as the global centre of books and reading.
An IPA brainchild, the World Book Capital (WBC) was launched in 2001 under the auspices of Unesco. Today the IPA sits on the WBC Advisory Committee with delegates from the International Authors Forum (IAF) and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).
Representatives of five World Book Capitals past, present and future were in Tbilisi.
Representatives of five World Book Capitals past, present and future were in Tbilisi last Friday: Anna Routsi, communications lead for Athens World Book Capital 2018; Bodour Al Qasimi, who led the Sharjah World Book Capital 2019 Advisory Committee; Anwar Bin Mohd Zain, representing Kuala Lumpur 2020; Ninia Matcharashvili, director of Tbilisi World Book Capital 2021; and Marisol Schulz Manaut, director of Guadalajara Book Fair and representative of Guadalajara World Book Capital 2022. Additionally, Unesco’s Head of Publishing and Branding Ian Denison was also present as the liaison for the WBC intiative.
Together, they have agreed to establish a World Book Capital Cities Network, to build on the designation’s legacy and ensure experiences are shared with future winners.
Speaking after the ceremony, Al Qasimi said: "With its focus on capturing young imagination through technology, Tbilisi’s exciting World Book Capital programme promises to take the initiative in a creative new direction. A huge amount of planning and work goes into hosting this honour at the best of times, so during the pandemic the Georgians have overcome some major hurdles to deliver. I’m sure Ninia Matcharashvili and the WBC team will make Tbilisi and the whole country very proud."
Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, IPA President, during the meeting with the GPBA .
Separately, the IPA President met the Georgian Publishers and Booksellers Association (GPBA), which plays a leading role in the development of the country’s book sector. Local book industry professionals spoke of the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, Al Qasimi shared IPA’s vision to help IPA members and the wider book ecosystem build a more resilient, innovative and sustainable publishing industry.
The IPA President’s arrival in Georgia follows visits to Egypt, Kenya, Ivory Coast and Ghana this year, where she has assessed the pandemic-led challenges affecting publishing markets and shared IPA’s plans to help return them to full strength.
"Publishers will support you in this mission," she said adding that the industry will extend its full support to ensure that booksellers can continue achieving greater results.
'It is a great honour to follow in their footsteps. To embrace books and knowledge as a tool to build, not destroy… a tool to nurture love, brotherhood and tolerance.'
Sheikha Bodour called on female publishers and authors at the PublisHer summit to come together in support of women working in the industry.
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