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IPA Secretary General, José Borghino response to the Ukrainian Publishers and Booksellers Association

Dear Oleksandr,

Thank you for your open letter of 24 February. I am deeply saddened by what has happened in Ukraine and I pray that you, your family, your friends and all our publishing colleagues from the Ukrainian Publishers and Booksellers Association have been able to find relative safety. I have been in touch with your son, Andrew, who tells me that you and your wife are safe for the moment but that food is becoming scarce and that you sleep in air-raid shelters most nights.

In responding to you, I am relaying your call for support to all of IPA’s members, and I know that there are many already looking to find ways to support you. 

We condemn this criminal Russian invasion in the strongest possible terms. The IPA was founded with the intention of supporting peace. Our first President, Georges Masson, stated at our inaugural Congress in 1896 that ‘the first International Publishers Congress … is one of many gatherings whose purpose is to multiply peaceful relations between nations, in encouraging the visible tendency of peoples to join more and more through a community of interests.’ Nothing in the intervening 125 years has changed that stance. 

Our current President, Bodour Al Qasimi, also asked me to share the following statement on behalf of the IPA: ‘The IPA stands in solidarity with publishers in peril all around the world and, especially at this moment, with our member in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Publishers and Booksellers Association. We are following developments and discussing how IPA can be of most assistance to our member. In times of peace, books have a powerful uniting force. In times of conflict, books are even more important in fostering hope, supporting reconciliation, and cementing peace.’

All our Ukrainian colleagues are in our thoughts, and I hope that peace will be restored very soon. I look forward to spending time with you all in Kyiv, at the Book Arsenal Festival or visiting Mikhail Bulgakov’s house. We send you our hopes, solidarity and love.

Yours sincerely,

José Borghino

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