Sharjah: Every child has the right to have access to books and “we must work together to inspire future generations to read”, Shaikha Budoor Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, founder and president of the Emirates Publishers Association (EPA), has said during a publishing event in India.
Her comments came at a session titled ‘Creating Readers of the Future’ held on the sidelines of the 32nd edition of the International Publishers Congress, organised by the International Publishers Association (IPA), in New Delhi.
During the session in which she moderated with experts from the publishing industry, the discussion revolved around how to motivate younger generations to read, and practical steps from governments, institutions and publishing houses to achieve this goal were listed.
“The UAE puts future generations, including children, adolescents and young people at the forefront of nation-building efforts. It is imperative to provide youngsters with books and encourage them to read, as books are an endless source of knowledge and will empower the youth to participate actively in their country’s development and further the accomplishments made by the UAE in every field,” she said.
She underlined the great efforts made by the UAE government to foster a culture of reading in the Emirati community — an approach clearly manifested in major cultural exhibitions and festivals, such as Sharjah International Book Fair, Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, among others.
Shaikha Budoor also referred to the landmark initiatives launched by the UAE, like funding public libraries, distribution of home libraries, and honouring distinguished authors and publishers, which have contributed to the adoption of reading as a lifestyle by all members of the Emirati society.
“I believe in the right of each child to read and have access to books. In order for nations to build their future, they have to provide their children and youth with inexhaustible sources of knowledge,” she said.
“Our ambitions and aspirations are directly related to the kind of knowledge and education we provide the future generations with. However, building a generation of readers is not an easy mission, especially in view of life’s changes and technological advances. Facing this challenge requires all of us — governments, organisations, schools, parents, and publishing houses — to work together.”
Shaikha Budoor’s participation is in line with her continuing efforts in the publishing industry locally, regionally and internationally, and reflects her keen interest in highlighting the importance of reading to children, young adults and youth.
Her presence in a high-profile publishing event stems from her unfailing support for initiatives that aim to facilitate children’s access to books, especially in disadvantaged regions, as well as her role in developing and improving the quality of books for children and young people in the UAE and Arab world.