This will be a congress where publishers will explore how they can better use innovation and technology to meet customers’ changing needs, and learn from the wealth of experience acquired by publishers around the world over many years.

Economist Peter Drucker used to say that the best way to predict the future is to create it. That’s why we have adopted the slogan Shaping the Future: Innovation Meets Experience. The message is that, especially in these challenging times, we publishers need to take the future into our own hands and create it in the form we want.

This was my first visit to India, and I have to say that it was a profoundly enjoyable experience. During my short visit, I just had a glimpse of life there, but could immediately see that it is a country with rich cultural traditions and ancestry. At the same time it is the fastest growing economy in the G-20. India is a hugely diverse place, full of contrasts and colour, spicy yet delicious flavours and extremely friendly people.

One of the many things I learned about India is that conversation is integral to Indian tradition. This is encouraging, because dialogue is precisely what has lain at the root of our congresses since the inaugural one, in 1896. The IPA Congress today is a much larger affair than back then. It is a unique forum where publishers interact with peers and colleagues from around the planet. In a world dominated by screen-time and remote working, face-to-face conversations are more important than ever to generate productive interaction around common interests and to enlighten each other.

The IPA Congress Programming Committee is engaged in producing a remarkable roster of outstanding speakers and themes. It will combine the challenges of technology with the values that have ever been our guide and the bedrock of our success. Values like freedom to publish and respect for copyright. At the same time, the FIP Organizing Committee is working hard to ensure every detail will leave our guests with the impulse to put into practice what they learn, and continue engaging with their colleagues.

And one other thing is certain – anyone who comes to the IPA Congress will, like me, leave India with a powerful urge to return one day and explore this incredible country further.