Bangkok made its presence known to the reading world by becoming the World Book Capital in 2013. But its efforts to promote reading culture and the book industry did not end there. Next year Bangkok will host the 30 th International Publishers Association (IPA) Congress from March 24 to 26, making it the first IPA congress held in Bangkok as well as the first in Southeast Asia.
Hosting the congress was part of the programme proposal submitted to UNESCO during the World Book Capital selection process. With the political situation uncertain, the IPA decided to postpone the congress until March 2015. The IPA does not seem too deterred by the post-coup political climate in Thailand, however; Dougal Thomson, IPA director of communications and programmes, recently visited Bangkok and found the city “calm and peaceful”.
“The situation contrasts with what is being portrayed by the Western media,” Mr Thomson told Elite+. “Obviously Thailand is a country in transition and from my observation it is likely that that transition will be made in a peaceful and orderly fashion.”
Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra was firm in his praise of the host city in an address on the IPA congress website (www.ipa2014bangkok.com), pointing out that the capital also has much to gain from the conference. “The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and myself are determined to broaden the city’s rich oral tradition and embrace the wonderful culture of the written word so that Bangkok will become an even more desirable place to visit.” He added that Bangkok is honoured to be a place for international publishing professionals to exchange information and shape a vision for the publishing industry.
Founded in 1896 in Paris, the IPA is a trade association with members from more than 50 countries in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and the Americas. Its initial aim was to ensure respect of copyright. The Geneva-based IPA now has two objectives: to promote and defend copyrights as well as freedom of expression. The IPA Congress has been a place for publishers to come build networks, create new business opportunities and exchange experiences and learn from others.
The congress is also known for inviting luminaries in the literary world as keynote speakers. For the forthcoming congress the IPA has invited Haruki Murakami and Booker Prize-winner Arudhati Roy to speak at the opening sessions.