For centuries, culture has played an important role in building bridges and connecting people together. The exchange helped transfer knowledge across geographical borders enriching people’s lives and provided a window to rich and diverse cultures.

Building on that truism the Emirates Publishers Association (EPA) has been on a mission to introduce the creativity and accomplishments of authentic Emirati culture across the world, through a pilot initiative called ‘Manassah’ platform.

Launched in January this year, the ‘Manassah’ platform has given EPA’s members the opportunity to take part in several international book fairs held around the world, through a dedicated section showcasing their titles to international publishers and visitors at EPA’s pavilion.

Although only a few months old, the platform has already been presented at six local and regional cultural events, representing 66 publishers who participated with 5,000 titles. Through the ‘Manassah’ platform, publishers were able to generate AED 61,350 in sales. In the next few months, the platform is scheduled to participate in the Al Ain International Book Fair and Amman International Book Fair. This is a result of the association’s keenness to support publishers and promote their work at various events around the world and introduce people to the rich heritage of the country.

Rashid Al Kous, Executive Director of EPA, said the association was keen on presenting Emirati publishers and their creative output at international platforms, whether they were physically present or not.  He noted that the ‘Manassah’ platform opened a window to learn about Emirati culture and exchange expertise, which ultimately was the goal of the association in promoting local publishers at regional and international venues.

“Through the platform, we introduce intellectuals around the world to the huge strides taken by the publishing sector in the country. It is an opportunity to connect with peers and forge partnerships with international counterparts which will contribute to advancing and diversifying the content,” said the Executive Director.

Supported by Tilal Properties, the platform is designed to boost the representation and outreach of EPA member publishers who published 20 titles or less due to the high cost of participation at top literary events and exhibitions. The Manassah platform plays an important role in expanding to new markets and generating more sales for the local publishers, which in turn contributes to the development of the UAE’s publishing sector.

Since its launch, the ‘Manassah’ project has given local publishers the opportunity to participate in the Casablanca International Book Fair, Muscat International Book Fair, Al Riyadh International Book Fair. Locally, it assisted publishers in presenting their creative outputs at Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, and the Emirati Book Fair.

EPA was founded in 2009 under an initiative by Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Vice President of the International Publishers Association (IPA), who has led the efforts to advance the publishing industry in the UAE. The organisation is dedicated to serving and developing the publishing sector and advancing the role of Emirati publishers through training and mentorship programmes. EPA represents the interests of professionals in the UAE’s publishing industry by working on advancing their rights and has a remit to improve the conditions of the profession and its related laws in coordination with concerned authorities locally and internationally.

Source: National Network Communications (NNC)

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