The IPA and the Sharjah Book Authority co-hosted a three-day publishers’ conference (31 October – 2 November) as an overture to this year’s Sharjah International Book Fair.
Opening the conference, IPA President Bodour Al Qasimi emphasized, in this the 125th anniversary of the founding of the IPA, the continuing need for publishers around the world to work together towards common goals.
She spoke about differing rates of post-pandemic recovery, and how local infrastructure and governmental support for the publishing ecosystem were key. Within this, Bodour reiterated the centrality of the IPA’s founding pillars of copyright and freedom to publish, as well as sustainability, diversity and inclusion, education and literacy.
IPA Vice-President, Karine Pansa, chaired a session on the IPA’s International Sustainable Publishing and Industry Resilience (InSPIRe) initiative, whose goal is to help future-proof the global publishing industry in these unprecedented times. Other speakers included Yulia Kozlovets, General Coordinator of the Book Arsenal Festival, in Kiev, Ukraine; Lawrence Njagi, Chair of the Kenya Publishers Association and member of the IPA’s Executive Committee (EC); Patrici Tixis, Acting President of the Spanish Publishers Association and member of the EC; and Mingzhou Zhang, President of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY).
IPA Secretary General José Borghino led a conversation about educational publishing between experts from across the educational value chain: Julie Attrill, Manager of International Rights, Wiley; Nitasha Devasar, Managing Director of Taylor & Francis India; Bill Kennedy, Founder, Avicenna Partnership; and Dr Neelam Parmar, Director of Digital Learning and Education for Harrow International Schools. The panelists discussed the pandemic’s effects on schools and on educational publishers. Borghino reiterated the three key principles of the IPA’s Educational Publishers Forum: Teachers’ choice delivered through educational publishers’ innovation and competition; local solutions, so that curriculum content is relevant and identifiable to students, which yields better learning outcomes; and collaboration between publishers, governments, teachers, and researchers.