The Qatar Forum for Publishers and Distributors, affiliated to the Ministry of Culture and Sports has announced that it has completed its preparations for the launch of the first edition of the Doha Publishers Fellowship Program, which it organizes in partnership with the Hamad Bin Khalifa University Publishing House starting next Sunday, January 14, and for two consecutive days. The program will host in its first year 50 Qatari and Arab publishers from 22 countries around the world. This was announces during a press conference held yesterday at the headquarters of the Ministry of Culture and Sports to uncover the details and activities of the program.

Ibrahim Al-Sayed, Director of the Qatar Publishers Forum, explained during the press conference that the program to be held in the Cultural Salon (“Dowwar Al-Nashreen”) at the Doha International Book Fair headquarters includes seminars by a group of experts in the field of book industry, and meetings during which participants exchange copyright, in addition to an entertainment space dedicated to navigate and learn about Qatar landmarks. He noted that the Doha Fellowship in Publishing Program aims to form reciprocal relationships between local and Arab publishers from the region, and with their counterparts from across the world as well, in order to form professional relations between cultures, form a knowledge base and a guiding framework for the copyright market, and promote the concept of intellectual property rights as well as to provide an open forum for exchanging experiences in the publishing industry. Furthermore, the Doha Fellowship Program seeks publishers to participate in an effective role in organizing and codifying the concept of intellectual property at the level of the region and beyond, by establishing a copyright market, and setting up a forum that respects and maintains intellectual property issues.

Bashar Shabaro, Executive Director of the Hamad Bin Khalifa University for Publishing, pointed out that the program will work to strengthen the publishing industry in Qatar and open up the Qatari publisher to Arab and international external worlds. The program will also focus on the issue of selling and exchanging rights to the author and the importance of the presence of literary rights agents, and creating a state of mobility based on cooperation between Qatari publishing houses and their counterparts abroad.

Shabaru said that the program, which will be held over two days, will include in its first day an opening speech delivered by His Excellency Salah bin Ghanem Al-Ali, Minister of Culture and Sports, and short addresses by the representatives of both the Qatar Publishers Forum and the Hamad Bin Khalifa University House. Speakers will also include Nicolas Roche, Managing Director of the International Bureau of French Publishing, and Mohamed Aghir Aguja, Director General of Istanbul Academy, who will address in his speech the Turkish experience in the fellowship program for four years, before the publishers’ meeting. Furthermore, the program for the second day includes an address by Cornelia Helle, Sales Manager of the Frankfurt Book Fair, in addition to a presentation by Ms. Rasha Al-Sulaiti, which will talk about her experience in the field of digital books through (Rawi Al-Kotob) company of whom she is considered as a founding partner.

It is worth noting that the program makes available to the participating publishers an advanced electronic system that allows them to register their personal accounts and organize the dates of meetings with publishers, in order to exchange ideas, and explore opportunities to exchange, acquire and sell copyright rights. The program will also provide the participants with the opportunity to attend seminars and contribute to dialogues moderated by leading specialists in the field of book production and publishing. The symposia offer experiences of copyright and the global copyright market, as well as give space to view all advances in this field and the efforts made to develop this industry. On the other hand, the program includes tours to explore the beautiful monuments of the State of Qatar through cultural activities and private dinners organized by the team of the Doha Publishers Fellowship Program.

It is worth noting that the Forum of Qatar Publishers and Distributors was established last year by Minister of Culture and Sports Decision No. (51) of 2019, with the aim of caring for publishers and distributors, and working to raise the professional level of the publishing and distribution industry and supporting its mission in developing cultural awareness, and promoting joint cooperation between publishing and distribution houses, including contributes to the promotion of publishing and distribution processes, strengthening ties between publishers and distributors, contributing to the publication and distribution of Qatari authors locally, regionally and internationally, introducing them and participating in local and foreign publishing and book fairs in cooperation and coordination with the Ministry and other competent authorities, as well as documenting and strengthening the relationship between the Forum and the cultural and scientific bodies and associations publishers and distributors, and enjoying its membership.

The forum also aims to develop the publishing and distribution industry by setting up and participating in specialized professional courses, revitalizing the cultural movement, coordinating efforts and positions with Qatari associations, forums and cultural centres in regional and international forums in cooperation with the competent authorities in the state, and making a contribution to strengthening the legal framework to provide legal protection for human rights Intellectual property and related rights for Qatari authors, regionally and internationally, in coordination with competent authorities.