Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi becomes first Arab woman appointed president of the International Publishers Association

The Sharjah royal is currently vice president of the IPA and founder of the Emirates Publishers Association

Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi is the first Arab woman to be appointed president of International Publishers Association. Supplied 
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Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi has been appointed president of the International Publishers Association, becoming the first woman from the Arab world to be given the title since the organisation launched in 1896.

She has been serving as IPA's vice president since 2018.

When Sheikha Bodour officially assumes the role in January, she will be the second woman to occupy the position, following Argentina's Ana Maria Cabanellas, who served as vice president and president from 2004 to 2008.

The announcement was made on Sunday, November 21, at the IPA General Assembly Congress, which was held via Zoom.

Sheikha Bodour has long championed the region's publishing industry, promoting and developing its presence in the UAE, across the GCC and in the wider Arab region.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - - -  March 1, 2016 --- HE Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, Founder and CEO of Kalimat Group, gave one of the keynote speeches on opening day of the Global Educational Supplies & Solutions (GESS) conference in Dubai on Tuesday, March 1, 2016.    ( DELORES JOHNSON / The National )
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Reporter: Nadeem Hanif
Section: NA *** Local Caption ***  DJ-010316-NA-Educationa Technology-44836-019.jpg
Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi is currently vice president of the IPA and founder of Emirates Publishers Association. Delores Johnson / The National

She is the founder of Kalimat Group, the UAE's first publishing house solely for publishing Arabic children's books, founder of the Emirates Publishers Association, and founder of The UAE Board on Books for Young People.

Sheikha Bodour also headed the Advisory Committee that steered Sharjah's tenure as the Unesco World Book Capital 2019.

The IPA is made up of 83 organisations from 69 countries and represents thousands of publishers around the world. It was set up to protect the interests of the publishing industry.

While she has is yet to make a statement on her new appointment, Sheikha Bodour told The National when she was elected vice president in 2018 that it was "a proud moment for our nation's history".

She described the role, which she was again the first Arab woman to hold, as "a recognition of the great efforts put forth by the UAE and Sharjah to intensify our cultural presence on the world stage".

Most recently, Sheikha Bodour has spearheaded an initiative to restore several libraries damaged by August's devastating explosion in Beirut port. As head of Sharjah World Book Capital Office, she was also involved in creating an emergency relief fund to support publishers affected by the blast.

“Supporting the Arab world’s publishing sector is one of our top priorities at SWBCO and a pillar on which the celebrations of the title began on," Sheikha Bodour said at the time.

"Publishers are the core of the book industry, and providing support will reflect positively on the cultural movement and help attract more investment into the cultural sector locally and internationally."