SBA’s newly formed board of directors hold first meeting
Sharjah, November 5, 2023
The Sharjah Book Authority (SBA)’s newly formed board of directors had their first meeting on the side-lines of the ongoing 42nd edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2023), to discuss a future roadmap for making the authority’s initiatives and partnerships more impactful in advancing the development of the publishing ecosystem in the UAE and beyond.
Welcoming the board members, Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the SBA, expressed her gratitude towards the exemplary vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, that led to the creation of the SBA to “enhance investment in creative industries, to provide a platform for knowledge and intellectual exchange between different nations and cultures, and facilitate the creation of a knowledge-based society”.
Sharjah Book Authority ready to make a greater positive impact, regionally and globally.
“Today, we feel that SBA is ready to go to the next level; a level where it can have a greater positive impact and contribute more to the development of the book industry in Sharjah, the region, and globally”, the SBA Chairperson further noted.
Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi invited the board members to leverage their expertise, networks while offering guidance to navigate this new transformation and enabling SBA to become one of the leading global organisations in the book industry.
International Board members attending the meeting included John Ingram, Chairman of Ingram Content Group, Youngsuk ‘YS’ Chi, Chairman of Elsevier, Markus Dohle, Executive Vice President of the PEN America Board of Trustees, and Gaurav Shrinagesh, CEO India and South East Asia and Member Global Executive Committee, Penguin Random House.
The local members present were HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, CEO of SBA, Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Emirates Airlines Divisional Senior Vice-President (DSVP) for International Affairs; HE Abdulaziz Taryam, CEO, Advisor and General Manager of (Etisalat e&) Northern Emirates; HE Abdulla Al Owais, Chair of the Department of Culture; and HE Abdulaziz Al Musallam, Chairman of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage; Rashid Al Kous, Executive Director of the Emirates Publishers Association (EPA); Marwa Al Aqroubi, Executive Director of the House of Wisdom and President of the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY).
The creation of knowledge-based society enhances the cultural and economic landscape of the UAE, and beyond.
Giving a detailed presentation to the assembled board, HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, SBA CEO, provided comprehensive insight into SBA’s nine-year journey, highlighting how SBA’s work has strengthened Sharjah’s cultural contribution to the UAE and the world.
Further, in response to the vision of HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, he shared details of SBA’s inspiring strategic initiatives, conferences, events, projects, and awards that have created and supported a love for the culture of reading in the UAE, and contributed to Sharjah’s mission to become a knowledge-based society, while empowering international exchange through the power of the written word.
Al Ameri also demonstrated the increasing economic impact of the projects SBA has implemented, stating that from 2019-2022, as SBA and the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) has grown in stature, contributions to the local economy and national GDP have also increased as indicated by the growth in direct spending on printing, publishing, writing activities as well as indirect spending on hotel stays, restaurants, transportation and advertising.
The meeting concluded with a strategy workshop and a roadmap discussion, followed by a tour of the SBA facility.
A key player in the UAE’s cultural scene and beyond, Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) designs and executes a major share of Sharjah’s influential and globally admired book-publishing programme. The authority has nine entities under its umbrella managing about 15 cultural projects, from specialised conferences to book fairs, a reading festival to different Awards aimed at encouraging and supporting writers, publishers, illustrators and more.
SBA’s initiatives such as the Sharjah Publishers Conference, the Booksellers Conference, the Sharjah Rights Connections Award, the Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone (SPC Free Zone), Lightning Source Sharjah, Sharjah Literary Agency, and many others are adding value to the publishing ecosystem by creating a cultural and business bridge between Sharjah and all major publishing hubs around the worl