Bodour Al Qasimi highlights the power of story-telling and the importance of having the freedom to share one’s voice in the public space

IPA President stresses freedom of speech in her keynote speech at the World Conference on Creative Economy

Dubai, December 11, 2021 


Books have extraordinary power to change the world and transform us into more empathetic and accepting people, enabling us to better understand the realities and ambiguities of culture, race, identity, art, and history from other points of view.

Delegates to the World Conference on Creative Economy, held in the UAE on December 9 at Expo 2020 Dubai, heard this compelling message from Bodour Al Qasimi, President of the International Publishers Association (IPA).


The conference is a forum for policymakers and industry players to exchange ideas, resolve challenges and identify opportunities within the creative economy. 


The last day of the conference was held on the eve of Human Rights Day, and the IPA President’s keynote address entitled “Embracing Humanity Through Books” stressed that the freedom to share our voices in the public space is a basic human right – a right that is sometimes denied.

“All of us have a role to play in defending this right, and to understand that social peace and justice are only achievable when everyone’s voice is heard,” said Bodour. “At the IPA we take this role very seriously.

“In fact, one of the main reasons the IPA was created 125 years ago, was to defend the freedom to publish. Today, the IPA continues to work with publishers around the world to support them in asserting this right.”


She also commended publishers for making serious attempts to add more inclusivity and diversity to the world of books. As more female and other minority authors are published, they gain a platform to share their voices, experiences, and their stories. 


On the sidelines of the Conference, Al Qasimi, who also who chairs the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre (Sheraa), attended the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Sheraa and the UAE Ministry of Culture. 


Both parties have committed to working closely together to transform Sharjah and the UAE into a global hub for creative industries, highlighting the importance of encouraging and supporting entrepreneurship and creative industry in the UAE. 


Commenting on the signing, Bodour said: “A great deal has been done already within the emirate of Sharjah to enhance our economy and make it a creative ecosystem that allows businesses and entrepreneurs to thrive. In future, the creativity and insight of entrepreneurs will reshape the global economy, and we are committed to developing a climate where sustainable entrepreneurship is encouraged, and growth is enabled in globally competitive and high-potential sectors.


“We believe that in signing this MoU with the UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth, Sheraa further underscores this commitment.To build dynamic, adaptive economies, we must work together.” 


Bodour also took the opportunity to congratulate the two winners of the Access Sharjah Challenge – a Sheraa event powered by the UAE Ministry of Youth and Culture which empowers local creative start-ups and gives platforms to their business ideas.


Finally, she enjoyed a tour of the World Conference on Creative Economy event alongside Her Excellency Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, UAE Cabinet Member and Minister of Culture and Youth.

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