IBBY and UAEBBY launch the Sharjah IBBY Fund

The United Arab Emirates Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) and the International Board on Book for Young People (IBBY) Foundation launched the Sharjah government-supported Sharjah IBBY Fund which aims to promote a love of reading among children so that they become life-long readers, ensure that children have access to books as well as support needed training programmes for professionals in this field.

The Fund aims primarily to provide support for children whose lives have been disrupted through war, civil disorder or natural disasters in the region of Central Asia and North Africa through implementing reading-related projects.

The launch of this Fund was announced at a press conference held during the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival 2012 at Sharjah Expo Centre in the presence of Her Excellency Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi President of the UAEBBY, Mr. Ahmad Redza Ahmad Khairuddin President of IBBY, representatives from various Arab national sections of IBBY, stakeholders in the field of culture and children’s literature as well as media representatives.

The agreement to establish the Fund was signed by the UAEBBY and the IBBY Foundation prior to the press conference. As part the agreement, the Sharjah government will contribute one million Swiss Francs (equivalent to AED4 million) towards the objectives of the Fund over a period of 10 years.

As per the agreement, an Advisory Committee will be set up to manage and supervise the fund. The Advisory Committee will be chaired by HE Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi and will include as members IBBY Foundation President and four other members to be appointed by the UAEBBY and IBBY.

Speaking on this occasion, HE Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi said: “The emirate of Sharjah has been at the forefront of many cultural and humanitarian initiatives in the region, whose effect have been felt far beyond the borders of our country thanks to the constant support of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. As child development is a top priority for His Highness, the launch of this Fund comes to highlight the important role played by Sharjah in the global cultural and humanitarian sphere.”

HE Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi explained that the Sharjah IBBY Fund, built on a cooperation between the IBBY and the UAEBBY, will work to support children’s intellectual development through reading, and nurture children’s reading habits, and provide relief from trauma through books and reading, particularly for children living in situations of conflict or post-conflict in various parts of this region and who are suffering from the adverse effects on these conflicts on health, welfare and educational opportunities.

“This fund will support the IBBY’s activities in Central Asia and North Africa, help to expand its current network of IBBY through enabling national sections in these countries to emerge or develop the work they do to promote children’s literature, provide them with needed books, training courses and guidance as well as supporting long term projects that would allow them to respond effectively to challenges faced by children who are victims of wars, crises, poverty and disease,” Her Excellency added.

HE Sheikha Bodour clarified that the fund will finance a new IBBY-led training programme that will offer the necessary training to the national sections in the targeted countries in addition to supporting long-term children’s reading projects in unstable and war torn countries such as the Gaza Strip, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya.

Her Excellency concluded: “Through this initiative, we seek to convey a message to the region and the world about the importance of books and literature for children and the need to give them priority above all other considerations, in order to produce literate and cultured generations who are able to proceed with lives with success and confidence.”

Ahmad Redza Ahmad Khairuddin, President of the IBBY, said: “I am thrilled to join you today on this unique children’s literature occasion and delighted to announce the Sharjah IBBY Fund that will help and support the children in the region, to develop their love of reading and provide the right books and environment to do so.”

“In times of trouble and crises that impact children’s cultural development and limit the resources available to develop their love of reading, we are confident that the Sharjah IBBY Fund will help promote children’s literature in the region and enable children to develop as life-long readers overcome the difficulties which result from the health, psychological or financial challenges they face and finally triumph over the effects of crises that had affected their countries,” he added.

Ahmad Redza Ahmad Khairuddin extended thanks to the Sharjah Government represented by His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi and to HE Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi for their generous initiative to support IBBY activities all over the world.

The IBBY Foundation is an independent organization based in Switzerland, that aims to raise funds and contributions to finance the IBBY’s activities. IBBY is an independent organization, separate from IBBYF, based in Switzerland that aims to encourage reading and bring children and books together. UAEBBY is the national section of IBBY in the UAE.

For more information, please contact:

Yousef Al Tawell
Account Manager
Sahara PR, UAE
Tel: +971 4 3298996
Fax: +971 4 3298995
Mob: +971 55 50 66 111
Email: yousuf@saharagcc.com
Web Site: http://www.saharagcc.com

Liz Page
IBBY Executive Director
Tel: 4161 272 2917
Fax: +4161 272 2757
e-mail: liz.page@ibby.org
Web Site: www.ibby.org

New title by Lissa Paul

Our member Lissa Paul has just published a book with Routledge: The Children’s Book Business: Lessons from the Long Eighteenth Century. The book explores the trade practices of early publishers for children, and shows how they anticipated contemporary publishing practices such as product placement and tie-ins. To order this book go to the Routledge website.

Children’s Literature in Iran

IRSCL member Morteza Khosronejad from Shiraz University in Iran reports that he and his colleagues have established Shiraz University Centre for Children’s Literature Studies (SUCCLS) as well as Iran’s first refereed journal in the field. Shiraz University has also launched an MA in Children’s Literature, commencing in 2011. For more information see the new Centre’s website.

New Ukrainian Children’s Literature Center

Congratulations to Ukrainian scholars in children’s literature, who have established the Ukrainian Research Center for Children’s and Youth Literature, based in Lviv. This new organisation plans to support research in children’s literature through conferences, symposia and many other activities. The first President of the new Research Center is IRSCL member Ulyana Hnidets. Well done and best wishes for the future!

Papers goes online

The Australian journal Papers: Explorations into Children’s Literature has been in operation since 1990. It has now become an open-access, online journal, available through its own website. We intend to gradually upload past issues in the Archives section of the website. Papers is a peer-refereed journal which accepts scholarly submissions on any aspect of children’s literature. In the Australian ‘Excellence in Research’ (ERA) system it is classified as an A journal (that is, a journal of very high quality, with an editorial board consisting of well-known researchers).

Children’s Literature Association Awards to IRSCL authors

Congratulations to Kimberley Reynolds, who recently won the Children’s Literature Association Book Award for her 2007 book, Radical Children’s Literature: Future Visions and Aesthetic Transformations in Juvenile Fiction. Clare Bradford’s Unsettling Narratives: Postcolonial Readings of Children’s Literature (2007) was named an Honor Book.

News on IICLO

An update on the International Institute for Children’s Literature in Osaka, which is under threat of closure. The situation has deteriorated in the last few weeks — see the following letter from Matsui Tadashi, the IICLO President. I intend to send the Governor of Osaka prefecture another letter on behalf of IRSCL, and our Japanese colleagues continue to fight with great determination for the survival of the organisation and the collection.

Dear Supporter of IICLO,

Thank you very much for your continued warm support for the IICLO. We would like to report on the present situation of IICLO.

A prefectural assembly was held from the 24th of February to the 23rd of March. The Osaka prefectural government proposed and debated both an ordinance of closure of the IICLO and a budget for transferring materials of IICLO to the Osaka Central Library. As a result, both proposals were passed despite of our wish to leave the IICLO as it was.

Although a petition for the continued existence of the IICLO had been passed at the Osaka prefectural assembly in September, 2008 with a lot of warm support from all over the world, the prefectural government did not deviate from their position that the foundation should be reviewed completely and the Institute is going to close within the 2009 academic year (up to March, 2010) and the materials of IICLO are going to be transferred to the Osaka central library.

Foundations connected to the IICLO, the donors and people concerned with the IICLO had their first meeting with the governor, Mr. Hashimoto in order to exchange opinions about the future of the IICLO on the 21st of January, 2009 and have continued to have meetings with the board of Education. At the same time, on the 25th of February the donors demanded that Osaka prefectural government return the materials they had donated and filed a lawsuit to this end at a local courthouse in Osaka on the 16th of March. It is to our great regret that the prefectural government has pushed through the proposal to close the IICLO and that the proposal was passed.

The date of the closure of IICLO will be decided by the education board, but it seems that it will be at the end of 2009 or at the end of 2009 academic year (31st of March, 2010). Thus. the foundation is facing a severe threat in the near future.

We had a directors’ meeting on the 26th of March and discussed the future of IICLO. We have decided to make a special committee for its future management, the head of which will be the president of IICLO.
Although the situation the IICLO faces is really tough, we will do our best to find the best solution both for the materials and for the foundation through discussions with organizations concerned with IICLO and we humbly ask that you continue to give us your support.

Sincerely yours,
MATSUI, Tadashi
President, IICLO

IICLO update

Regular visitors to this site will know that IRSCL has been supporting the efforts of our Japanese colleagues who seek to persuade the Governor of Osaka Prefecture to abandon his plan of closing down the International Institute for Children’s Literature in Osaka, and to incorporate its collections into the Prefectural Central Library. Here is an update from Mikiko Mukogawa, IICLO Director:

We are still campaigning to prevent the closure of IICLO and it has not been decided yet.

In April the President of IRSCL sent the Governor of Osaka Prefecture a letter on behalf of IRSCL asking him to reconsider his decision. During the Osaka Prefecture regular assembly congress in October, the supporting organization for IICLO submitted “a petition for our continuance” to the chairman of Osaka Prefectural Congress via the assembly members of the four main parties, the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, the Democratic Party of Japan, New Komeito and the Japanese Communist Party, together with the signatures of 20 other organizations. The assembly congress adopted the petition, so it was sent to the governor and the board of education. However, the Governor of Osaka Prefecture still plans to close IICLO by March 2010 and move only its materials (without staff) to Osaka Prefectural Central Library.

Although our institute is still in the midst of our difficulties, we will continue to discuss the situation with the governor into 2009 and with the help of supportive organizations continue to do our best. We will keep you informed regarding the future of IICLO.

Thank you again, for your great help and we hope to continue enjoying your support and to stay in contact in the future.

Faithfully yours,