Dubai: The first Dubai International Publishing Conference on the sidelines of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2017 began on Sunday to help established publishers and start-ups encourage higher literacy as well as read trends within the industry.
The conference was launched with an inaugural address by Abdullah Abdul Rahman Al Shaibani, Secretary General of the Executive Council of Dubai.
The two-day conference is a forum for networking opportunities, sessions on current trends in publishing and masterclasses on key skills, said organisers.
Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group and Chairman of Emirates Literature Foundation (right), Abdulla Abdul Rahman Al Shaibani, with bestselling author Jeffrey Archer after the launch of the conference. Courtesy: Organisers
In addition, university students will learn about publishing as a career and interact with experts already in the industry.
The programme, said organisers, includes sessions discussing print, digital and audio publishing and examining the importance of access to books for the visually impaired.
The conference is holding a translation matchmaking session on the second day to discuss the importance of translating books, which follows on from the conversations started at the Dubai Translation Conference held in October 2016. It will also include debates on the importance of sharing literature, both fiction and non-fiction, through translation and will conclude with select Arabic and English titles presented as ideal for translation.
More than 30 international and regional experts from the publishing industry are participating, including UAE Director-General of the National Media Council Mansour Al Mansouri, Shaikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, founder of Kalimat Publishing Group, Jamal Al Shehhi, founder of Kuttab, Richard Charkin, immediate past president of the International Publishers’ Association and Executive Director of Bloomsbury, best-selling international author Jeffrey Archer and Vineeta Gupta, Head of Children’s Dictionaries, Oxford University Press.
Shaikha Latifa Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, and Vice-Chairman, Emirates Literature Foundation, said: “It is our aim to make the UAE a global cultural centre, and a culture of reading is an integral part of that. Initiatives and enterprises such as the Dubai International Publishing Conference create important dialogues between regional and international publishing experts and will elevate the standards of publishing in the country as well as the region, thereby enhancing the quality of content produced and attracting a new generation of readers.”
Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, said: “The conference is the ideal occasion to bring Arab and international publishers together to exchange ideas and in-depth views on the current status of the publishing industry. As it is being held during the UAE’s 2017 Month of Reading and alongside the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, we are also taking this opportunity to highlight the crucial role publishers play in creating a literate and literary society. Day one has been an enormous success and the delegates have received important insights into this industry.”
Promote Reading for Dubai Plan 2021
The General Secretariat of The Executive Council of Dubai is the Emirate’s representative on the Supreme Committee for Reading in the United Arab Emirates and the authority supervising the coordination of all activities and initiatives which will be held in Dubai to enhance reading, develop human capital, contribute to the cognitive capacity building, support the national intellectual production and build knowledge-based societies in UAE. The General Secretariat of The Executive Council supervises and coordinates all Dubai-based activities and initiatives that support the goals of the National Reading Policy, which was announced by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
The General Secretariat of The Executive Council of Dubai also plans to implement a number of initiatives and projects over the next two years, in collaboration with strategic partners, to achieve the aims of the National Reading Policy. These initiatives and projects will aim to promote creative content in Arabic, encourage creative young Arab writers, support publishing and printing, and rethink the role of the librarian, due to its importance to the cultural and educational process.
It is important to note that reading has an important contribution to achieving the goals of Dubai Plan 2021, which focuses on the development and growth of the individual and society. Reading has direct linkages to both “A City of Happy, Creative, and Empowered People” and “An Inclusive & Cohesive Society” themes.