Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi at the Sharjah Book Authority headquarters. Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: The role of Sharjah in nurturing the publishing and creative sector over the past 50 years has enabled it to occupy a pride of place on the global map, arecent meeting of the Sharjah Book Authority heard.

The meeting was organised to give Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi a lowdown on the latest events and programmes undertaken by SBA.

SBA Chief Executive Officer Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri received Sheikha Bodour before she presided over the first internal meeting convened since the announcement of her appointment as the entity’s chairperson. Bringing together department heads, Sheikha Bodour gained comprehensive insights into the challenges and opportunities facing the SBA and its affiliates.

The work of the board will enable SBA to chart the course for the future, create an integrated and dynamic roadmap for each of the authority’s functions, streamline their efforts, and propel them towards an even more relevant and influential role in promoting publishing, creative industries, and libraries.

Sheikha Bodour said: “Sharjah’s role in nurturing and empowering this sector for 50 years has drawn the world’s gaze, and we have a responsibility to continue this cultural leadership, putting people and knowledge first.”

She added: “SBA’s contributions will be pivotal in achieving our goals. We’ve hosted the world’s largest book fair in terms of buying and selling of copyrights, developed pioneering business solutions and created literary initiatives to champion authors, publishers, literary agents, media professionals, and booksellers worldwide, but this is just the beginning. With the resolute support and backing of the board, together we’ll keep beating the path to build Sharjah into a global beacon of knowledge, creativity and innovation, and I look forward to working collaboratively with all the department heads of SBA and its affiliates to see this vision come to life.”

The visit entailed several significant engagements and discussions for Sheikha Bodour, including, Big Bad Wolf’s 2023 strategy for the UAE and the Middle East, the Africa Rights Forum, the upcoming edition of the Publishers Conference in October, the African Literature Book Award, the Sharjah Award for Library Literature, and other key SBA initiatives. The afternoon ended with a tour of Ingram Group’s Lightning Source print-on-demand facility, which enables international publishers and booksellers to print and distribute locally.

Sheikha Bodour has a prolific track record of driving impact and change, notably in publishing, women’s leadership and social transformation. She has held many leadership roles, including President of the International Publishers Association (2021-2022); founder and CEO of Kalimat Group; founder of PublisHer, a global movement advocating for a fair deal for women publishers; President of the American University of Sharjah; head of the Advisory Committee of the Sharjah World Book Capital Office, and more.