The 33rd International IBBY Congress, held in London in August, organised a Sharjah IBBY Fund meeting to discuss its three major projects for the Middle Eastern region.

Upcoming projects to be undertaken by the Fund, along with project selection were discussed at the meeting. The funds long-term objectives and the budgetary allocations to be made for each of the projects was also major point of discussion.

Shaikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, UAEBBY president and chairperson of the Fund’s Advisory Committee, expressed her satisfaction with the points discussed at the meeting.

“It helped us highlight the strengths of our undertaken projects as well as any areas that might need further examination,” she said.

She further explained that while the fund is hopeful to be more productive after the meeting, its main focus remained on three projects. “Our particular emphasis and focus however remained on the three current projects taken up by the Fund for Iran, Palestine, and the Middle Eastern region at large,” she said.

Initiatives discussed at the meeting to help and support children in the Middle Eastern region were also highlighted by Ahmad Redza Ahmad Khairuddin, President of the IBBY. “I am delighted to have participated in this meeting, which detailed a number of promising initiatives that will not only help and support children in the Middle Eastern region and beyond, but will also develop their love of reading by providing the right tools and environment in which to do so,” he said.

The three projects emphasised on at the meeting included the Iran-based project ‘Read with Me’ set to reach 500 children attending 12 pre-schools in the remote areas of South Khorasan province. It also included the Gaza-based Palestinian project ‘Giving every child the right to become a reader’ which is designed to continue the work with the two libraries set up by the Palestinian Board on Books for Young People’s support in the war-torn Gaza strip. The third project involved the facilitation of participants from Pakistan, Tunisia, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iran, Lebanon, Kuwait, UAE, and Egypt who did not have the financial means to take part in the 33rd International IBBY Congress.