International publishing experts praise role of Sharjah Ruler

NEW YORK — H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, has been praised by an elite group of prominent global publishing experts for his belief in the power of books and knowledge, to promote intercultural dialogue and peace.

The remark came during a panel discussion organised by Book Expo America for the Sharjah Book Authority, SBA, on the sidelines of its participation in the book fair, with Sharjah being the only representative of Arab culture at the largest annual book trade fair in the United States.

During the discussion, titled, ‘Sharjah: A New Gateway and a Hub for Publishing Industry in the Middle East, Asia and Africa,’ the panel’s participants said that today’s world, with its rapid shifts and changes, requires forward-thinking leaders such as Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi. While paying tribute to his immense efforts in fostering cultural communication between the Arab region and the Western world, they highlighted Sharjah’s internationally-acclaimed status as a hub for the publishing industry and a promoter of knowledge in the Arab world.

Moderated by Seth Russo, Vice President of Simon and Schuster Publishing Company, the session featured Ahmed Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA, John Ingram, Chairman of Ingram Content Group, and Steve Butch, Chairman of the Offer Drive Company.

“What today’s world is witnessing confirms our dire need for intellectual leaders such as the Ruler of Sharjah, leaders who believe in the power and influence of books and whose drive and determination in the arena of culture leave the door wide open for the international community to network, develop and advance together as one human community,” John Ingram said.

“The Ruler of Sharjah reaffirms the cultural project that he has chosen to build in the emirate, which is today considered the capital of Arab culture, through his speeches, his directives and his non-stop efforts. Sheikh Dr Sultan Al Qasimi is the strongest supporter of international book fairs and cultural events, from his firm belief that a book is an immortal tool that can make a crucial difference to human civilisation,” he added.

Regarding Sharjah’s offerings to publishers, Al Ameri highlighted what Sharjah Publishing City, SPC, can offer in this area. He stated that the new free zone will bring about significant positive changes and will have a tremendous impact on the publishing industry in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, transforming Sharjah into the region’s capital of publishing and a gateway for publishers, to expand their businesses around the world.

Steve Butch used his participation during the discussion to talk about the economic and geographic advantages enjoyed by the emirate and its sophisticated publishing infrastructure, to support publishers and reinforce the importance of books. He highlighted the approach that was inspired by the vision and strong belief of the Sharjah Ruler in books and reading, making the emirate an unparalleled destination for publishers, writers and publishing sector professionals.

“Due to its great advantages for professionals in the publishing industry, Sharjah has become a centre for publishers from around the world,” he added.

Book Expo America, the largest annual book event in the United States, provides a focussed professional environment to discover emerging authors and the next blockbuster titles.

Source: Emirates News Agency