By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
‘The Beginning of an Exciting New Chapter’As Publishing Perspectives readers know, a great deal of the influential book-publishing programming in Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates‘ third emirate, is orchestrated and executed by the Sharjah Book Authority. This was seen in action earlier this month as the Book Authority created and hosted a three-part set of events: the Sharjah International Booksellers Conference, the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, and the new Sharjah Animation Conference.
From his offices in Sharjah Publishing City, Ahmed Al Ameri for years has directed the work of the Book Authority as its chair, responsive to the vision of Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi for a “reading emirate,” the citizens of which can engage in both the literature and the commerce of the book business.
Today (May 16), we have word from Sharjah of a newly added board of directors for the Sharjah Book Authority, which may mean that even more progressive drive could be ahead. It’s described in media messaging as “the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the organization and one of several administrative and structural changes being made with the aim of improving and expanding the Sharjah Book Authority’s reach.”
The first move that regular industry trade visitors to Sharjah will notice is that the longtime chair of the Book Authority, Al Ameri, is being made its CEO.
This, then, opens the chair to Bodour Al Qasimi, the acclaimed Sharjah publisher (Kalimat Group) who is the immediate past president of the International Publishers Association (IPA) and the new president of the American University of Sharjah. Al Qasimi is forming a board of directors for the Sharjah Book Authority.
“By introducing more formalized procedures and oversight,” today’s communiqué says, “the newly-formed board will work to make the Sharjah Book Authority even more effective, and support future expansion. The board will also help take the organization to the next level by proactively working to improve operational effectiveness, and increase the impact of its programs through the development of targeted strategic partnerships.
“Additionally, it will oversee the day-to-day operations of the Sharjah Book Authority and support the alignment of its strategic goals with the expectations of internal and external stakeholders.”
An Internationally and Locally Constituted Board
The board members being announced are a mixture of both key UAE-based stakeholders and several prominent leaders from the international industry. From the international community that reflects our Publishing Perspectives readership, newly announced board members are:
- John Ingram, chairman of Ingram Content Group (you’ll recall that Ingram has made a major installation of a Lightning Source print-on-demand center at Publishing City)
- Youngsuk ‘YS’ Chi, chairman of Elsevier and a past president of the International Publishers Association (IPA)
- Markus Dohle, executive vice-president of the PEN America board of trustees, who spoke with Publishing Perspectives onstage at Sharjah on May 1
- Gaurav Shrinagesh, CEO of the India and South East Asia divisions of Penguin Random House, and a member of PRH’s global executive committee
United Arab Emirates appointees to the new board include:
- Ahmed Al Ameri, CEO of the Sharjah Book Authority
- Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Emirates Airlines divisional senior vice-president (DSVP) for international affairs
- Abdulaziz Taryam, CEO, advisor and general manager of Etisalat / northern emirates
- Abdulla Al Owais, chair of the department of culture
- Rashid Al Kous, executive director of the Emirates Publishers Association (EPA)
- Marwa Al Aqroubi, executive director of the House of Wisdom and president of the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY)
- Abdulaziz Al Musallam, chairman of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage
Al Qasimi: ‘Sharjah’s Position as a Touchstone for Culture’
In making today’s announcement as the board’s new chair, Al Qasimi says, “The Sharjah Book Authority has played an instrumental role in highlighting Sharjah’s position as a touchstone for culture, and I am proud to see how its work has empowered the growth of reading culture both in the UAE, regionally, and internationally.
“I have no doubt that our successful work in transforming the world through the power of the written word will only continue.“Bodour Al Qasimi, chair, Sharjah Book Authority
“It gives me enormous pleasure to continue this effort as the Sharjah Book Authority takes greater strides toward achieving our exciting vision for the future.
“With the support of the newly-established board, which comprises industry leaders of the highest caliber, I have no doubt that our successful work in transforming the world through the power of the written word will only continue.”
Today’s statement adds, “Further to their individual roles and duties, the board will have overarching, collective responsibilities to support the Sharjah Book Authority in enhancing its global credibility, developing marketing outreach and partnership, and ensuring its financial sustainability.”
More from Publishing Perspectives on the Sharjah Book Authority is here, more on Sharjah overall is here, more on the work of Bodour Al Qasimi is here, and more on the book publishing industry in the United Arab Emirates is here.
Publishing Perspectives is the International Publishers Association’s world media partner.