ABU DHABI: The first edition of the Abu Dhabi Publishing Forum, organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, concluded on Wednesday, Jan.31 with panels and workshops hosted and led by publishers and authors from across the Arab and Western world, and was attended by Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi. The two-day forum was themed around the Transformations and Achievements in the Publishing Industry – The Emirati Experience.
“The Abu Dhabi Publishing Forum highlights the Department of Culture and Tourism’s commitment to enhancing the structure and process of knowledge sharing and production in the UAE, through the development of publishing across a variety of forms, mediums, and across all genres and materials. The Forum is a testament to our nation’s leadership in establishing Abu Dhabi as an international destination for publishers and writers, in line with the yearly success and achievements of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair which seeks to push the local and regional boundaries in publishing.” said Abdulla Majed Al Ali, Acting Executive Director of the National Library Sector at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi.
“Over its two days, the forum has provided a platform from which leading publishing experts and authors from the UAE and internationally explored and examined the industry. The discussions centred around how the growth of the industry regionally has helped in building bridges of communication between experts and the general public interested in the sector,” he continued.
The opening session of the second and final day of the forum discussed the relationship between publishing and media and how the media contributes to furthering the quality of the publishing sector, expanding it, from the development of renewable media such as e-books and multimedia materials, allowing the publishing industry to go beyond the use of printed material. The session was led by Dr Ali Bin Tamim, Director General of Abu Dhabi Media, Ali Obaid Al Hamlii, Emirati writer and media professional, Sulaiman Al Hattlan, Saudi writer and media professional, Pawel Horbaczewski, owner and director of inkBOOK and was moderated by Nada Al Shaibani, presenter of Emirate TV and programmes.
The second session was titled The Publishing Industry’s Contribution to the Creation of an Arab Renaissance Project and discussed how publishing literary works is not merely about producing books, but ultimately to convey certain messages and thoughts, revealing new worlds to readers. The session was led by Dr Abdul-Karim Abdul Rahman Al-Zaid, Deputy General Supervisor of King Abdulaziz Public Library, Riyadh, Kamel Sulaiman Al-Abduljalil, Director General of the National Library of Kuwait, Dr Mansour Mohammed Sarhan, Director General of the National Library, Bahrain, Dr Nabhan Bin Harith Al Harazi, Professor, Sultan Qaboos University and was moderated by Eman Mohammed Turki, Head of Publishing Unit, Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi.
The third session was titled Emirati publishing and reaching international status, dwelling on the position of the UAE on the international publishing map and the international standards that the nation is still striving to reach. It was led by Isobel Abulhoul, CEO of the Emirates Literature Foundation, Philip Kennedy, Professor at NYU Abu Dhabi, Naoya Hirata, General Manager, Kinokuniya Book Stores, Margaret Obank, Publisher and Co-founder of Banipal Magazine and moderated by Seham Al Hosani, Projects Manager- Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi.
The fourth and final session of the forum was titled Future of Publishing: the Aspirations of Generations, concentrating on the strong relationship between creativity and books, through the modern perspectives and experiences of emerging and young writers in the field of publishing, whose efforts reflect greatly on the cultural diversity and creative industry in local society. The session was led by Dalia Ibrahim, Nahdet Misr Publishing House, Sultan Al Amaimi, Director of the Arab Poetry Academy at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, Jamal Al Shehhi, Director of Kuttab Publishing House, Rania Al Moallem, Dar Al Saqi, Beirut, Noura Al Noman, Emirati writer and publisher and was moderated by Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji, Director of Programme Management – Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi.