On 22 February, IPA President, Bodour Al Qasimi, and IPA Secretary General, José Borghino, were featured speakers at an online training workshop aimed at leaders and staff of national publishers associations in Africa organized by IPA Associate Member the African Publishers Network (APNET).
The workshop was opened by APNET Chair, Samuel Kolawole. Bodour Al Qasimi then spoke about the challenges facing publishers around the world and the importance of collaboration, solidarity and sustainability for all of us but especially for publishers in Africa. She underlined the support that the IPA has been providing to African publishing and literacy through the African Publishing Innovation Fund and spoke enthusiastically about the impact on training and capacity building that will be derived from the soon-to-be launched IPA Academy. Bodour finished with the African proverb: If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together — promising that the IPA was committed to go far with our African members.
José Borghino then spoke broadly about the range of possible organizational structures that publishers associations could embrace in a presentation entitled, ‘Building a result-oriented leadership and administration’. Drawing on his experience at the IPA as well as at the Australian Publishers Association, the Australian Society of Authors and as editor of the online news magazine NewMatilda.com, Borghino spoke about building strong publishers associations through clear and realistic governance documents and procedures. He focused on the very different skillsets required to lobby governments as opposed to running a trade organization but agreed that both activities were essential. Borghino stressed the importance of harnessing the network power of volunteers at the board and committee levels, while concluding that it was the quality of those who worked in the association’s office that would ensure that it remained united, dynamic and successful.
Rounding off the workshop was Mariam Al Obaidli, Corporate Communications Director for the Emirates Publishers Association, who spoke revealingly about ‘Funding and sustainability for a publishing association.’