Two recent IPA meetings dedicated to the freedom to publish and the education situation in Ukraine highlighted the devastating impact of the war. The number of publishers operating in Ukraine has dropped from 1053 in 2021 to 563 in 2022, and educational publishers have been unable to print textbooks for pupils. UNICEF reports that over 2,600 schools have been damaged, affecting 5.3 million children. UNESCO has verified damage to 241 cultural sites including museums and libraries. Oleksandr Afonin, the President of the Ukrainian Publishers and Booksellers Association, called for the international book community to support Ukraine through:
- Buying rights to Ukrainian books
- Making Ukrainian books available on bookshop shelves around the world
- Charitable support to help Ukrainian libraries rebuild their collections and buy books
- Financial support for those who have lost loved ones, property, etc.
FEP together with the Ukrainian Publishers and Booksellers has worked on a first list of necessary European and international financial support measures for the Ukrainian book sector and has made formal requests to the European Commission and European Parliament to have appropriate budgets to restore the sector, as well as Ukrainian libraries and schools.
Karine Pansa, IPA President said: Our Ukrainian colleagues are an inspiration to us all, continuing to publish from remote offices and bunkers, despite power and internet outages. All this while they handle the psychological trauma of losing colleagues and family. We stand in solidarity with our Ukrainian colleagues.
Ricardo Franco Levi, FEP President pointed to: ‘The persistence of being’ (which was the Ukrainian slogan at the 2022 Frankfurt Book Fair) of Ukrainians must be met by our constant support to their cause and concerning the book sector, our efforts to help them must be not just to safeguard their literary culture but to make it flourish and be read all over the world.
Stephan de Valk, Chair of the IPA’s Educational Publishers Forum added: As educational publishers from around the world who want to empower future generations, we are extremely concerned when we learn of the destruction of schools and the impossibility of providing textbooks. Between the refugees abroad and those deprived at home — how many children are falling behind in their education? It must stop.
Kristenn Einarsson, Chair of the IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee said: The freedom to publish is being dramatically undermined in Ukraine and with it the ability for Ukrainian culture to present itself to the world. This war is not just a geo-political event it is also a war on culture and freedom of expression.
Following its own crowd funding campaign in 2022, the Federation of Publishers is supporting the initiative Better Time Stories:
Crowdfunding / Financial support
- Universal Reading Foundation (Poland) – support for purchase of children’s books for refugee childrenWebsite
- UPBA managedCharity Community Foundation of Kharkiv“TOLOKA”.
Sharing Educational Resources
- EEPG – free licensing of Ukrainian educational resources for refugee childrenWebsite
- UBPA invites publishers outside Ukraine to license translations of Ukrainian books: Chytomo programme.