Sharjah International Book Fair featured keynotes from IPA President, Michiel Kolman, and President-elect, Hugo Setzer, alongside panels on freedom to publish and educational publishing. Setzer’s message was that local, regional and international cooperation are essential to the future of our industry.
Michiel Kolman used the opportunity of his keynote to present the vision of a modern, dynamic industry that he has seen during his presidency of the IPA and the need for publishers to raise their game amid the increased competition for readers’ time. He also underlined the need for clear data on the publishing industry to help make informed policy decisions.
Hugo Setzer followed up on Dr Kolman’s speech underlining the common challenges he has seen publishers facing across the world and the need for publishers to work together at national, regional and international levels to overcome these challenges.
IPA also featured during two panels at the fair with Vice-President-elect, Bodour Al Qasimi, moderating a panel entitled Freedom to Publish in Peril: Threats and Emerging Challenges. The panel featured Kristenn Einarsson, Chair of the IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee, alongside Razia Rahman Jolly, the widow of this year’s IPA Special Award Recipient, Faisal Arefin Dipan, and Prix Voltaire nominee and IPA guest blogger, Azadeh Parsapour. They discussed the increasing challenges to freedom to publish with government interventions now complemented by pressure on authors and publishers from religious, social and business groups.
IPA Secretary General, José Borghino introduced a panel on educational publishing where he was joined by Wilmar Diepgrond, Chair of the IPA’s Educational Publishers Forum, Jaume Vicens the Forum’s Vice-Chair and Rashid Al Kous of the Emirates Publishers Association. They made the case for better collaboration between governments and educational publishers to meet governments’ educational policy objectives and the importance of local publishers as part of this work.
The strong IPA delegation was also able to meet local ministers during their stay and reinforce the message that local publishers are a valuable partner within an international publishing industry.
Sharjah will be in the spotlight in 2019 as it takes over from Athens as UNESCO’s World Book Capital City.