Emirates Publishers Association announces board for 2021 – 23

Sharjah, April 6, 2021

The Emirates Publishers Association (EPA) announced yesterday (Sunday) a new board for the 2021 – 2023 tenure following the ordinary General Assembly meeting, which was held virtually in the presence of EPA board members, the EPA executive office, Ministry of Community Development representatives and a number of Emirati publishers.

The association’s presidency has been awarded once again to Ali Obaid bin Hatem, Chairman and Partner of Dar Thaqafa for Publishing and Distribution, and the Director of Sail Publishing, Iman Ben Chaibah has been re-elected as EPA’s Vice President.

Dr. Alyazia Khalifa, Founder of Al Fulk Translation and Publishing House, was re-elected as General Secretary, while Mohammed Ahmed bin Dakhin, Director of Al Takhayul Publishing House has been once again offered the position of EPA Treasurer and board member. Abdullah Al Kaabi, Founder of Dragon Publishing and Distribution has also been brought on as board member.

A series of achievements by EPA leads to re-election of the board 

A series of outstanding achievements by the EPA in the 2019 – 21 tenure paved the way for the board’s re-election for another term. These include the launch of EPA’s Manassah platform, which has offered several EPA member publishers a key opportunity to showcase themselves and their work at prestigious local, regional and international bookfairs. In February 2019, EPA and the National Media Council (NMC) jointly launched the ‘One Stop Shop’ in Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone, presenting publishers an integrated resource hub for assistance on licensing, printing permits, ISBNs for new titles, trade inquiries and other essential business services. In addition to launching “Meet the Emirati Publishers” initiative in January 2020 to support the translation of Arabic books into other languages.

EPA also led a landmark initiative, the Publishers Emergency Fund, to mitigate the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the UAE’s publishing industry and ensure their business continuity. 

During their two-year tenure, the EPA board also represented the UAE in key regional and global cultural forums and publishing events. Important partnerships with local entities to bolster publishing locally, and support book makers across the globe, were also forged by the EPA during this time. 

Charting the course for 2021 – 23 tenure 

The ordinary General Assembly meeting approved the minutes of its previous meeting and reviewed the annual report compiling the performance of previous board’s two-year tenure, from December 2019 – December 2020. The plan of action, programmes and activities for 2021 were discussed and the budget for 2021 was approved.  Furthermore, the meeting’s attendees analysed the financial report for the fiscal year ending on December 31, 2020.

About the EPA board members 2021 – 23 

Ali Obaid Bin Hatem, who was one of the EPA’s founding members and served as the association’s secretary, before being elected EPA President for two successive tenures. Throughout his career, Bin Hatem held several posts including the Director of Dar Thaqafa for Publishing and Distribution LLC, Oryx Publishing LLC and Dar Al Khalij Al Arabi for Commercial Publications. Bin Haem is also a founding member of the Arab Union for International Exhibitions and Conferences. His other posts include being the former Director of Exhibitions and Events at the General Exhibitions Corporation.

Iman Ben Chaibah, the re-elected Vice President of EPA, started her career in publishing nine years ago at Sail Magazine to document social debates and discussions in community in the form of opinion articles. The magazine has played an instrumental role in introducing Emirati writers to international readers. She then transformed Sail into full-fledged publishing house dedicated to digital publishing to grow local content and promote Emirati writers in the digital publishing space, internationally.

Dr. Alyazia Khalifa is the Founder of Al Fulk Translation and Publishing, which specialises in translating children’s and young adult’s literature. In 2013, she earned a PHD in intercultural communication from UK-based Kingston University London. She published the first children’s comic book When the Air Thinks in 2016, and Shayarat Al Hamba in 2017, among other books.

Mohammed Bin Dakhin, Founder and Director of Al Takhayul Publishing, served in many posts, including Editor-in-Chief of the Emirate Air Force Magazine from 1989-1992, Director of the Media Department at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research, Editor-in-Chief of Akhbar Al Saah daily newsletter from 1992-1997. He worked as a TV and radio coordinator in the Morale Guidance Directorate from 1997-1998 and was an accompanying journalist with His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and the Director of the UAE News Agency (WAM) from 1998-2005.

Abdullah Al Kaabi is the Founder of Dragon Publishing and Distribution, dedicated to translating international and Chinese literature into Arabic. He co-founded Al Ramsa Institute, which is dedicated to teaching the Emirati dialect to non-Arabic speakers. An accomplished novelist, Al Kaabi has written The String of My Thoughts, The Story of the Blue Bag, The Story of a Drop of Life, among others.

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