“Hello IPA members, publishing colleagues,

I have now been President of the IPA for just over 6 months. It has flown by. I wanted to share with you some of my experiences and thoughts from our work at IPA over this period.

I knew it already of course, but our sector is so inspiring. Book fairs are now back and busy and we have done our best to be across every continent.

Our Secretary General and the Chair of our Copyright Committee were at the Cairo International Book Fair, our Vice President was at the first Chennai International Book Fair and our Secretary General was in New Delhi, we had a strong delegation at Bologna and London Book Fairs, we were present at the Salon de Livre de Paris and in Geneva, as well as the Book Fair in Buenos Aires and we also attended the opening of Accra as the 2023 World Book Capital City. Finally, I was honoured to be invited to both Seoul and Beijing International Book Fairs while our Vice President attended the International Book Arsenal Festival in Kyiv.

It has been quite an experience to be able to meet so many of you in such a short space of time, to hear where your markets are thriving and where the challenges lie.

IPA’s commitment to our core pillars of copyright and the freedom to publish continues.

The World Intellectual Property Organization is an essential part of our work on copyright. Joined by a strong delegation of publishers from around the world, I attended WIPO’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights in March. There is increasing pressure to establish more exceptions and limitations to copyright globally and so our engagement at WIPO and with Member States remains vital.

Our copyright efforts do not stop at WIPO and after a meeting of the Copyright Committee in London we have held two fascinating webinars on AI and copyright enforcement already this year as well regional meetings for our Latin American and African members.

When it comes to the Freedom to Publish, this year’s Prix Voltaire ceremony demonstrated why we must keep working to celebrate brave publishers around the world. We awarded the 2023 Prix Voltaire to Iraqi publisher, Mazin Lateef Ali who disappeared in Iraq 3 years ago. We also gave a Prix Voltaire Special Award to Ukrainian poet Volodymyr Vakulenko, murdered by Russian soldiers during the Ukrainian war. The Special Award was collected by Ukrainian author Victoria Amelina, who took it back to Vakulenko’s parents. Tragically, she too has become a victim of the war, killed following a bomb attack last month. The Prix Voltaire ceremony took place at the World Expression Forum in Lillehammer, Norway. You can watch the moving ceremony on our website.

Of course, IPA’s work goes beyond copyright and freedom to publish. We have helped secure more than 300 signatories for the Sustainable Development Goals Publishers Compact, we have celebrated the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Marrakesh Treaty that helps secure accessible books for visually impaired persons.

Our Educational Publishers Forum continued to draw members to important meetings in London and Madrid where we heard from top European Commission and Spanish government officials as well as Amazon Web Services and UNESCO. Our new Data and Statistics committee is working with both WIPO and Nielsen to boost data about our sector and the Inclusive Publishing and Literacy Committee continues its groundbreaking work on sustainability and the UN’s SDGs.

The next few months will see us prepare for our General Assembly which will happen on 21 November and again be virtual. As always, a highlight of the GA will be the welcoming of new IPA members. We will also have a full programme of events at Frankfurt Book Fair.

This year’s Guadalajara Book Fair will be a dress rehearsal for the 34th International Publishers Congress, scheduled for 4-6 December 2024 – put those dates in your diaries!

I’d like to extend my thanks to my Vice President, Gvantsa Jobava, our Secretary General, José Borghino, our Committee chairs, and our secretariat, James, Vera, and Olivier for their dedication during this first six months of my Presidency.

Publishers have been a force for good in the world for centuries and I’m looking forward to working with all of you in the months ahead to demonstrate the immense economic, social and cultural value of global publishing.

Thank you.”