Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi addresses 29th International Publishers Congress
WAM Sharjah, Jun 16th, 2012 (WAM) - Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, president of the Emirates Publishers Association (EPA) and founder and CEO of the Sharjah-based Arabic children's book publishing house Kalimat, has completed successful participation in the 29th Congress of the International Publishers Association (IPA), which kicked off in Cape Town, South Africa, on 12 June.
Commenting on her participation during the Congress, Sheikha Bodour said, "The International Publishers Congress is one of the most important platforms for communication and the exchange of knowledge and expertise within the global publishing community. It is vitally important that publishers from all over the world regularly gather at events like these to converse and share information and ideas that can then be taken back to energize and revitalise their national publishing industries".
Sheikha Bodour who headed the EPA delegation to Cape Town was a key speaker during the session entitled Children's Books for Cyber Kids, on day three of the Congress, during which she addressed the balance that must be achieved between the digital and traditional publishing worlds.
Her presentation touched on a number of important issues that are currently affecting the children's publishing sector, including the impact of the Internet and the rapid increase in the use of technology such as electronic reading devices in the Arab world, the possible influence this technological leap is having on children's fast changing reading habits, and whether or not publishing houses in the region are keeping up the these advances and creating sufficient Arabic content to meet the demand.
Sheikha Bodour posed the question of whether or not print books were still the preferred medium for books, or if digital books were in the process of taking over. She also examined the socio-political issues, which affect distribution and printing in the region and explored possible ways that digital books could overcome these obstacles, as well as discussing the role of technology in the classroom and need for school curriculums to evolve and keep up with international trends.
Sheikha Bodour said: "The gap between the Arabic of school and the Arabic spoken at home and in playgrounds is a major cause of low adult literacy levels everywhere in the Arab region, where classical Arabic is placed outside the realm of immediate daily activities and this separates language from the learner's personal experience, familiar topics and their reality. Hence written Arabic has a sense of artificiality and lack of spontaneity." She added that this artificiality separates the reader from what he is reading if he cannot form emotional connections with story then eventually he will lose interest. Sheikha Bodour underlined the need to bridge this gap and bring the two languages closer together.
Sheikha Bodour has a deep seated belief in the crucial role that books and reading play in the development of children and society.
Her personal journey with Arabic children's publishing began in response to her inability to find quality children's Arabic books for her own children. Her efforts to rectify this situation has since lead to a number of initiatives that have had a profound positive effect on the publishing sector in the UAE, including the formation of UAE Board on Books for Young People, the national chapter of the International Board on Books for Young People, as well as the establishment of the Arabic children's publishing house Kalimat, which has to date released 100 Arabic children's titles.
"Through bringing children and books together, we open up the world to them and give our future generations access to tools and knowledge to help them on the way to reaching their fullest potential," added Sheikha Bodour.