We’re contemplating starting a section called InCATW. Interesting conversations along the way. Something like this:
We had an interesting conversation with a gentleman I shall not name. He was at the Abu Dhabi Book Fair on behalf of an international association that represents publishers and is responsible for their promotion. The gentleman was obviously impressed by the apparent boom you can sense in Abu Dhabi and wanted to see how that might translate into business for the numerous publishers his association represents.
Oblivious to our nationalities, he assumed that we were Emirati. It was not easy to decipher in his conversation whether the use of “here” meant the UAE or the Gulf region or the whole Arab world. The gentleman explained to me that he was passionate about education and the advancement of that education “here.” He gave me advice on how the governments should present their curricula to the publishing world and have the publishers compete in producing textbooks for the market. He enticed me with the amount of business that can be generated by their publishers and how much they care about the market.
I suggested to the guardian of publishers’ interests that they should grasp an understanding of the market if they need to a piece of it. He assured with a lot of emotion that they are adamant about understanding it. I suggested that he subscribe to the only magazine on education in the Arab world. Dismayed that he might not understand the language, I informed him that in fact, it was published in English.
But he thought that 180 US Dollars for a yearly subscription was a lot of money !