UAE seeks stronger ties with Latin American publishers

SHARJAH, 27th August, 2016 (WAM) – Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Founder and Honorary President of Emirates Publishers Association (EPA) and Member of the International Publishers Association (IPA)’s Executive Committee, gave a keynote presentation about the publishing industry and the crucial role it plays in enhancing relationships and strengthening ties between Latin America and the Arab world, at the 24th session of Sao Paulo International Book Fair, which started on 26th August and will conclude on 4th September.

Sheikha Bodour witnessed the official opening of the book fair and was accompanied by Khalid Khalifa Al Mualla, UAE Ambassador to Brazil. Sheikha Bodour praised the long history of rapprochement of cultures between Brazil and Latin America on the one hand, and the Arab world on the other, which dates back to the middle of the 19th century. She noted that Latin American literature is a very important cultural product to the Arab world, with many Latin American writers, novelists and poets attracting considerable attention or Arab readers, intellectuals and publishers, who translated Latin American literary works and published them in various Arab countries.

In her key presentation, Sheikha Bodour highlighted the pioneering achievements of the Emirati publishing industry over the past few years, which made the UAE a perfect platform for publishers from around the world. It also appreciated the accomplishments that the EPA has achieved since its inception in 2008, leading the UAE to consolidate its position in the publishing industry and become an attractive destination to publishers and workers in this vital sector.

“The UAE is a strategic hub for companies seeking access to emerging publishing markets in the Arab World as well as Africa and Asia. International publishers are attracted by the UAE’s business friendly benefits, including its proximity to emerging publishing markets, hosting large international book fairs and providing translation grants and trading rights to international publishers,” Sheikha Bodour said.

Sheikha Bodour also highlighted the growing publishing trade relationship between Latin America and the Arab world, manifested by the most recent statistics by United Nations that shows it is approximately worth $1 million annually. The export of books to Latin America from the Arab world represents 94 percent of the annual publishing trade. The UAE make up 83 percent of the exports, which is worth $861,650.

“According to these figures, it is clear that there is considerable possibility to increase the volume of imports of books from Latin America to the Arab world, and in return increase the exports of books from the Arab world to Latin America,” she added.

On the sidelines of the event, Sheikha Bodour expressed her hope that Arab and Latin American publishers will continue to work jointly in the best interests of the publishing industry and publishers worldwide. She invited publishers and those interested in the publishing industry in Brazil and Latin America to visit book fairs in the UAE so that they can get a close insight about the developments of the publishing industry in the UAE and the Arab world.

“Having Sheikha Bodour and the Sharjah delegation in S?o Paulo was a great chance for the Brazilian Publishers to get to know a little bit better the Arab Book Market and the opportunities that EPA and the Sharjah Book Authority have for international publishers,” Luiz Alvaro Salles Aguiar de Menezes, International Affairs Manager at the Chamber of Brazilian Books, said.

“Brazil has received Arab immigration since 1880 and that had a deep impact on our culture. It is only natural that our book markets can get closer to each other and increase the exchange between Brazil and the UAE, specifically with Sharjah which is known to be the cultural capital,” Luiz added.

Salim Omar Salim, Director of Marketing and Sales at Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), gave a presentation about the authority and its efforts, projects and initiatives, particularly the Sharjah International Book Fair, the Sharjah Children Reading Festival, the ALA Library Conference and the Translation Grant.

The Sao Paulo International Book Fair, is one of the most important book fairs and the largest in South America. It is a platform for books published in Spanish and Portuguese in particular, as well as books published in other languages. It is also a platform for writers, intellectuals and thinkers in the continent that attracted millions of readers worldwide with its literature. Every year, the fair features many events that promote communication between Brazil and the rest of the world.

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