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Bodour Al Qasimi, first Arab woman to head the International Publishers Association

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Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi has been appointed President of the International Publishers Association (IPA), becoming the first woman in the Arab world to attain the post, the Emirates Press Agency (WAM) reported.

The announcement was made o Sunday at the IPA General Assembly Congress (GAC) held virtually via Zoom platform.
She will be assuming the position officially in January 2021.

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For the past two years, Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi has been serving as the Vice President of IPA following her election to the position at the 2018 IPA General Assembly.

She becomes the second woman globally to occupy the position after Ana Maria Cabanellas of Argentina who had served as Vice President and President of the Association from 2004-8.

Read more: Sharjah International Book Fair concludes drawing 382,000 visitors

The International Publishers Association (IPA) is one of the world's most prestigious federations of national and regional publishers' associations. Through its members, IPA represents thousands of individual publishers worldwide.

Founded in 1896 in Paris, IPA is based in Geneva, Switzerland, with members comprising of more than 83 organizations from 69 countries around the world.

The appointment of Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi to one of the most significant and influential positions in the book industry, marks the culmination of her years-long efforts in developing the publishing industry and boosting the prospects of publishers in the UAE, across the GCC, and in the wider Arab region.

Throughout her career, Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi’s numerous professional achievements have had a remarkable impact on UAE’s cultural offerings. The IPA President-elect founded the Emirates Publishers Association (EPA) in 2009 which gained full membership of IPA in 2012.

Sheikha Bodour’s continuous efforts in boosting Sharjah’s onward journey of cultural development by enhancing its publishing landscape played a vital role in the selection of Sharjah as the UNESCO World Book Capital 2019, whose Advisory Committee she headed.

Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi has also contributed immensely in supporting children’s and young adults’ rights to access highly innovative content that meet their aspirations and spark their creativity to improve their future. She founded the Kalimat Group (KG) in 2007, which is today the regional frontrunner in the field of Arabic children’s publishing.

Under the umbrella of the Kalimat Foundation for Children’s Empowerment, she launched several initiatives to fulfil the goal of providing books to refugees and children affected by conflicts and wars worldwide.

She is also the Founder and Patron of the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY), UAE’s national section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY).

Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi has taken forward her vision of supporting the book industry at the international level with the founding of ‘PublisHer,’ a platform that seeks to build a global women-led community of publishers, as well as enhance diversity and inclusion in the international publishing sector. She spearheaded the efforts to organize the IPA Regional Conferences in Lagos, Nairobi and Amman.