Karine Pansa, Bodour Al Qasimi, Mariam Gabbai
Founder, PublisHer;CEO-Founder, Kalimat;President, International Publishers Association
A trailblazer in the global publishing scene, Bodour Al Qasimi is creating a positive impact on the world by pushing IPA’s agenda on the freedom to publish and intellectual property rights. Under her leadership, IPA launched many global initiatives such as the InSPIRe Initiative and IPA Academy to build solidarity within the publishing ecosystem and help publishers bridge the skills gap.
In 2019, Bodour established PublisHer – an informal networking body that seeks to increase the number of women in leadership roles within the publishing industry.
As the CEO and founder of Kalimat Publishing Group, she has been an avid advocate of the role of books and literacy in enlightening children.
Bodour also chaired the committee of Sharjah World Book Capital 2019—an honor awarded by UNESCO. Over decades, her exemplary work to further Sharjah’s contributions as a hub for reading, literacy, and culture, has culminated in global recognition for the emirate.
Bodour has a Bachelor’s degree in Archaeology and Anthropology from Cambridge University and a Master’s degree in Medical Anthropology from University College London.
Arpita Das is the Founder-Publisher of Yoda Press, an independent publishing house based in New Delhi, India. From 2009 to 2013 Arpita also ran an independent bookstore in New Delhi, called Yodakin, which became a hub for book culture-related events and discussions. In 2013 she created a self-publishing platform called AuthorsUpFront, and from 2016 to 2018 she founded and curated the Word to Screen Market at the Mumbai Film Festival, bringing book and screen industry professionals together for the first time in India.
Arpita also founded and directed a writing festival focused on Indian cities, called City Scripts, for the Indian Institute of Human Settlements in Bangalore between 2014 and 2017.
She frequently writes on book culture, publishing, popular culture, gender and bibliotherapy for various outlets, and gives workshops for authors and editors. Arpita has also taught as Visiting Faculty on the Creative Writing Programme at New Delhi’s Ashoka University, and as Adjunct Faculty at the School of Business and the School of Creative Expression, at Ambedkar University.
Emma House is an independent publishing consultant from the UK whose specialty is international markets. Her career began in B2B magazine publishing before she entered the book world, working at the London Book Fair for seven years. Prior to setting up her business she was the Deputy CEO at the UK Publishers Association, where she spearheaded its diversity and inclusion work over 11 years. Emma has served on the IPA Membership Committee, she is a trustee of the UK’s Publishing Training Centre, a regular contributor to the trade press and a sought-after moderator for publishing events.
Latoya West-Blackwood is a publisher, creative project manager, and consultant, based in Kingston, Jamaica, whose creative industry work focuses on promotion of cross-cultural understanding, gender equality, inclusion, and social justice. With Latoya as its chair for two terms, the Book Industry Association of Jamaica has strengthened its work to promote reading and literacy as tools of transformation, with a focus on early-grade reading and access to literature for all, particularly people with disabilities.
Latoya was a member of the National Consultative Committee of Latin America and Caribbean Reads (LAC Reads), a USAID-funded project implemented in Jamaica by EduConnect. LAC Reads works to fill research and knowledge sharing gaps in teaching and content development in early grade reading, delivering 30 new culturally relevant titles for children. She was recognized by the Yale School of Management Publishing Course as the 2020 International Innovative Leader in Book Publishing Awardee.
Ana Maria Cabanellas is the President of Grupo Editorial Claridad, one of Argentina’s leading publishing houses. Since she became the group’s president in 1979, she oversaw the launch of several new labels specializing in children’s development. She has served in several leadership positions in national publishing associations. Cabanellas was named Vice-President of the Reprographic Rights Administration Center of Argentina and Chair of the Latin American and Caribbean Committee of International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations. In 2012, Buenos Aires Book Fair recognized her as one of the 50 most influential people in Spanish-language publishing. She was the first woman to serve as President of the International Publishers Association, serving from 2004-2008. She remains an active member of the International Publishers Association and serves on its Freedom to Publish Committee.
Tracey Armstrong became President and Chief Executive Officer of Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) in July 2007. She has almost 30 years of experience in rights management, helping transform CCC’s solutions to meet the needs of today’s digital world. Armstrong works with publishers, authors, universities, businesses and industry associations around the world, addressing global copyright issues and establishing new alliances. She serves on the Board of the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO) and holds an MBA from Northeastern University, where she mentors young women in its MBA program. Armstrong also works closely with Harborlight Community Partners, a non-profit, Massachusetts-certified Community Development Corporation that provides affordable housing.
Caroline Fortin is Vice-President and Publisher at the Quebec Amerique Group. Since she joined in 1991, Caroline has overseen the group’s expansion to new frontiers, including the opening of Chez L’éditeur, a literary café and community space. Caroline also serves as the President of Canada FBM2020, a body set up by the Canadian government to coordinate the country’s guest of honour designation at Frankfurt Book Fair 2020.
Trasvin Jittidecharak is an illustrator, publisher and founder of Silkworm Books, a leading publisher of English-language books in Thailand. Trasvin has spearheaded many initiatives to support Thai publishers and supported Bangkok’s designation as the World’s Book Capital in 2013. In 2006, she founded the Mekong Press Foundation to nurture local publishers and writers in the Greater Mekong region. She is an active member of the International Publishers Association and serves on its Freedom to Publish Committee.
Bibi Bakare-Yusuf is the co-founder and publishing director of Cassava Republic Press, one of Africa’s leading publishing houses. An accomplished academic, she has received the Yale World, Desmond Tutu, and Frankfurt Book Fair Fellowships. She has consulted on gender issues for the BBC, UniFem, ActionAid, eShekels, the Central Bank of Nigeria, and the European Union. Bibi also chairs the Board of the Initiative for Equal Rights, the largest LGBTQ advocacy organization in West Africa.
Cabanellas is the president of Grupo Editorial Claridad since 1979, one of Argentina’s oldest publishing houses that carries several imprints specializing in children’s development. She was named the Vice President of the Reprographic Rights Administration Center of Argentina and is a member of the board of the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations and the Chair of its Latin American and Caribbean Committee. She was the first woman to serve as Vice President (2000-2004) and President of the International Publishers Association serving from 2004-2008, where she is still an active member through its Freedom to Publish Committee. She was also the first woman to serve as President of the Ibero-American Group of Publishers (2000-2004) and is now its Vice President. In 2012, Buenos Aires Book Fair recognized her as one of the 50 most influential people in Spanish-language publishing.