Cultural Aﬀairs Deputy of Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance
Dr. Seyyed Abbas Salehi, Cultural Aﬀairs Deputy of Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and also head of Tehran International Book Fair, holds the belief that Iranian publishing companies in the Frankfurt International Book Fair, in addition to help them to be familiar with global publishing technological and updated developments is an opportunity to introduce literature and art, philosophy and mysticism, Islamic and Shiite pure Thoughts and the scientific achievements of our country to the world. Salehi,in his interview with Printed in Iran Magazine, gave more details about the facilities of the Deputy Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance for those who participate in Frankfurt Fair this year and also about the capacity of the Iranian .His words could be helpful for publishers in other countries to get familiar well with Iranian writing and cultural heritage. Dr.Salehi was born in 1964 and graduated in Mashhad in the field of Islamic theology with the subfield of philosophy of religion.
Mr. Salehi, what is the purpose of Iran’s publicaton presence at the Frankfurt Internatonal Book Fair, and how do you evaluate the quality and the achievements of this presence?
Iran’s presence at the international exhibitions could have got diﬀerent achievements and I think three of them seeming more outstanding than the others. First of all, it is an opportunity for introducing Iranian written heritage in spaces out of Iran’s borders. Iran’s culture and thoughts with their ancient history comprise a remarkable part of Iran’s written heritage. Therefore, Iran’s presence in the international exhibitions is of great assistance in introducing this written heritage which is the representative of a great part of Iran’s culture. The second achievement could be the updated information-seeking of the world publication trend and understanding the world publication trend is going through and, probably, to what will be its future. Technological, organizational, institutional, content changes, and also many other relevant types of changes will be fulfilled by taking part in foreign exhibitions, especially very important exhibitions like Frankfurt International Book Fair. The third achievement could be interaction with world publication, since it will provide an opportunity for the Iranian publishers to have a more serious and continuous presence at the international publication arena. Likewise, it will provide the opportunity for Iranian publishers to interact with foreign publishers face to face by the means of translation or main works.
Considering Iranian publishers’ none-presence at the Frankfurt Internatonal Book Fair during last year, what is your perspectve on Iran’s presence in this internatonal cultural arena for the new exhibitons?
Frankfurt International Book Fair is the most significant exhibition for international publications, and Iran’s presence there is of utmost importance.
The last year’s none-presence of Iran, despite total preparation, did not prevent Iranian publishers to neglect this great event. Because they consider Frankfurt International Book Fair as a window to interact with the worldwide publication industry.
What plans do you have for a more eﬀectual presence of Iran in this exhibiton?
This year we had better and more active planning for Iranian publishers’ presence at the exhibition, and this progressive trend is supposed to continue for next years as well. Many publishers and cultural institutes from Iran will be the Fair this year.
Furthermore, the books selected to introduce in Frankfurt fair have enjoyed richness contents and publishing standards. There also some of Iranian well-known authors will be in Iran’s stand.
In addition, some cultural events have been planned to hold as well. I hope we will have a successful presence in current FIBF in comparison with the previous years.
Considering the history and antquity of Iran’s culture and possessing diverse historical and modern literary works, what recommendatons do you have for foreign publishers and visitors of this event for interacton with Iran’s publicaton industry?
It seems that Iranian culture has relative transferable capacities that if we confirm and consider them appropriately, will enable Iranian publishers to have a fruitul and promising participation in Frankfurt International Book Fair, and also it could grab foreign publishers’ interest toward to interact with Iran’s publication.
It seems that what manifests in Iranian culture, in general, and in Iranian written culture, in particular, is the Iranian art with its thousands-year-old history that shows itself in the tangible and intangible area of cultural heritage and could attract the eyes and hearts of many none-Iranian people. World’s art is not able to work without Iran’s art, because it has its own specific attractions for development of beyond-the-borders world. The second advantageous of Iranian culture is its literature. Persian language literature, and particularly poetry is well-known to the world for it, and poetry is basically entangled with every Iranian person. Many people around the world, know Iran by its outstanding poets like Hafiz, Saadi and Khayam. Therefore, Iranian poetry as a thought manifestation is a cultural merit for our country. Likewise, the third subject of area that could be attractive for foreign addressee is children and young adults’ literature. Fortunately, this year we have a good plan for children and young adults’ stand in the fair and I hope this hidden merit, which is constantly progressing, will occur this year. The fourth one is the subject on Iranian philosophical and mystical thoughts. While philosophy was halted in the world of Islam after Ibn Roshd, it continued its progress with philosophers such as Molasadra, and mystical thoughts have a history of over 14 centuries in Iran. Therefore, this significant branch to which many scholars belong is deeply and antiquely rooted in Iranian culture.
What about scientfic and religious subjects and their capacites to oﬀer to publishers from other countries?
Besides these, we could name other subjects such as pure sciences as well which has had good exudates and has extended a lot in the last decades. Likewise, Islamic and Shiite knowledge has a remarkable written culture on this field on the account that Iran has always been one of the cradles of the rise of Islamic thoughts. Particularly, as currently there has raised Takfiri, extremist and perverted Islamic thoughts, the Iranian Islamic intellectual thoughts could help introducing the pure and none-perverted Islam to the world. These collections, which is only a part of the relevant capacities of Iranian written culture, shows that we enjoy a favorable and potential resources in our own written culture which Frankfurt International Book Fair could provide the requirements for their actualization.
Considering the richness contents in Iran’s books, could you give more details about the facilites decided to arise foreign publishers’ interest to translate and publish Iranian books in their countries?
One of the purposes of supporting Iranian publishers to present in Frankfurt International Book Fair is that they are exposed to circumstances to interaction with publishers from other countries and worldwide could examine the international publication with the occurred changes and apply the positive changes in internal publication. In this line, there has been some supports for the publishers’ presence in this exhibition and other similar international exhibitions. The second part is providing opportunities for meetings and conversations among Iranian and foreign publishers, and according to the plans and schedules, meetings and events will be held in Iran’s Stand.
Plan “TOP” of Islamic culture and relations organization in the subject of Islamic studies and plan “GRANT” that Cultural Deputy of Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance has followed, to support for translating the Iranian written culture into diﬀerent languages. These two plans are new and the Frankfurt International Book Fair is an opportunity to introduce them.
What recommendatons and suggestons do you have for invitng publishers and cultural, scientfic and research insttutes of other countries to interact with Iranian publishers?
It seems that what might grab the attention of foreign publishers are the 80 million populations of Iranian educated addressees. After the revolution up to now, educational opportunities in cities and villages have expanded and this enhancement has been for all. They need to consider the great number of Iranian students. Hence, the educated society of Iran is a suitable market for the field of worldwide written culture. We could present the original works as well as translated as well. Moreover, many Iranian publishers have worked for three or four generations in the field of publication. We also have many cases whose professional work in publication even exceeds one century. This is also a capability in publication. Therefore, formations of international publication could regard Iran’s publication industry as a strong, extensive publication possessing a huge market of addressees. Among other advantages the culture society of Iran could be a great opportunity for foreign publishers. This society in the Middle East region and in the world is known as a cultural society interested in thoughts, and consequently publication as a sophisticated, makes the atmosphere of interaction of Iranian cultural society with the international publication industry favorable.
What is your idea, as the head of Tehran Internatonal Book Fair, about the facilites TIBF could provide for publishers and other foreign cultural insttutes?
Tehran International Book Fair is one of the cultural manifestations of Iran. This exhibition which will hold its thirtieth course next year, is not only one of the great cultural events in Iran and Middle East, but also it is special, in some aspects, in the world. First of all we could refer to the bulk of visitors of this exhibition which encourages millions of Iranians every year to buy and be familiarized with the new publications. This exhibition is the host of Iranian men and women, young and old from all over Iran. Therefore, foreign publishers in Tehran International Book Fair is not only could visit a great culture event but also they could get familiar with Iran cultured society. Tehran International Book Fair is the spring of Iranian cultural society and thousands of people participate in this cultural event daily.
The second trait of this book exhibition is the presence of thousands of Iranian and foreign publishers .The next subject is the opportunities that are provided by Tehran International Book Fair to interact with Iranian scientific, cultural, and research institutes which usually have an active presence in the fair. It is also regarded as the most significant book-selling market. Many publishers have some busy days in the last months before the exhibition for preparing their books which are going to be presented at the Tehran International Book Fair. I hereby invite the foreign publishers not to lose the opportunity of participating in Tehran International Book Fair. A participation which will have a taste of memory to them.