The efforts of International Publishers Association (IPA) President Bodour Al Qasimi to provide leadership and support to publishers around the world has continued in 2022. In January and February alone, Al Qasimi has already had productive meetings with publishers in Slovenia, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. These meetings have emphasized the international aspect of her role and reinforced the notion that many current challenges facing publishers are truly global in scope.
Al Qasimi’s first trip of the year was to Ljubljana, Slovenia, where she met with members of the Association of Slovenian Publishers and the National Book Agency of Slovenia. On the meeting, the President said she was “delighted to meet with members of the Slovenian Publishers & Booksellers Association” and noted that “there is a remarkable literary heritage in Slovenia and many lessons we can learn from publishers here on how to foster and promote a strong culture of books”. Subsequently, in Egypt, Al Qasimi attended the Cairo International Book Fair and held meetings with the Arab Publishers Association and the Egyptian Publishers Association. During these meetings, she emphasized how the IPA is in a position to listen to publishers’ ideas on how to boost the regional and international publishing industry, and noted the enthusiasm of the members of these associations to benefit from IPA initiatives and make their own contributions to help improve the publishing industry.
In mid-February, Al Qasimi travelled to Tunisia and Morocco, where she met with members of the Union des Éditeurs Tunisiens (Tunisian Publishers Association) and L'Union Professionnelle des Éditeurs du Maroc (Moroccan Publishers Association) respectively. The purpose of these trips was to underscore the IPA’s commitment to the support and development of the Arab publishing industry, and the enhancement of opportunities for growth in both domestic and foreign markets. Additionally, in Tunis, Al Qasimi met with Professor Dr. Mohamed Ould Amar, Director General of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (ALECSO) at the organisation’s headquarters in the Tunisian capital, where conversation addressed the challenges and impact of Covid-19, skills development of publishers, and the need for greater cooperation between IPA and ALECSO on copyright issues and freedom to publish.
A common theme throughout Al Qasimi’s meetings has been the International Sustainable Publishing and Industry Resilience Plan (the InSPIRe Charter), a framework created by Al Qasimi for identifying and addressing challenges facing the publishing industry. The creation of InSPIRe has underlined the importance of collaboration and mutual support in the industry, as well as the importance of providing new tools and instruments for publishers to adapt to the changing commercial landscape. The IPA President has also encouraged publishers to attend the 33rd International Publishers Congress in Jakarta, Indonesia in November 2022, and asked them to submit ideas and projects to benefit from the financial grants offered by the Africa Publishing Innovation Fund (APIF) – an initiative established by the IPA in 2019 in partnership with Dubai Cares. APIF aims to support e-book development, indigenous publishing, and library restoration in Africa.