The Landscape of Arab Publications: Challenges and Opportunities

January 31, 2018
6:00 pm-8:00 pm | London

Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations

The Aga Khan University's Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations cordially invites you to join us in celebrating the online launch of the Muslim Civilisations Abstracts Project (MCA).

To mark the occasion, AKU-ISMC presents a roundtable discussion The Landscape of Arab Publications: Challenges and Opportunities. As a part of the MCA’s series Producing Knowledge in Diverse Muslim Contexts: Mechanisms, Fields, Challenges and Opportunities, this event aims to analyse in depth the mechanisms of producing knowledge in Arab countries by looking at their publication sector as a manifestation of the modern Arabic intellectual efforts.

Our speakers will present a critical and rigorous overview of the publication industry over the last few decades, an up-to-date understanding of its current status and insights into the intellectual life in Arab countries. Censorship, legislations, piracy, low readership rates, lack of appreciation, Arab Springs and other factors will be problematised and examined against the lack of international recognition, weakness of translation from or into Arabic, and hence the restrictions of intellectual exchanges with the rest of the world and the possible solutions to overcome such hindrances.

Following the talk, our audience is welcome to join our speakers for a networking dinner.


Dr Leif Stenberg: The Director of AKU-ISMC in London and a Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the Aga Khan University.


Mr André Gaspard: The founder of the Middle East specialist Saqi bookshop and publishing houses in London and Beirut.

Dr Mohammed Al-Mahfali: Researcher at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies, LU on a fellowship from International Institute for Education, Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF).

Dr Walid Ghali: The Head Librarian for the joint library of the Aga Khan University's Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations and the Institute of Ismaili Studies.

Dr Charlotte Whiting: The Manager of AKU-ISMC’s Publications Department as well as the Governance in Muslim Contexts Programme.

Mr Mohamad Meqdad: The Arabic Editor of the Muslim Civilisations Abstracts Project.

As part of its endeavours in shaping a global humanity founded on mutual understanding and shared common ethics and values, the Aga Khan University seeks to build knowledge bridges between diverse Muslim contexts and the rest of the world to enhance human solidarity and eliminate preconceived stereotypes and prejudices that have been unfairly stigmatising Muslim cultures for decades. Given the fast changing socio-political situations in several Muslim majority countries, it has become indispensably crucial to document the invaluable scholarly works and publications that encompass the intellectual efforts of their communities and have been under different kinds of threats. Therefore, in 2003, the Muslim Civilisations Abstracts Project (MCA) came to existence as an academic initiative that strives to bring to the forefront such overlooked publications and to facilitate dialogue between relevant scholars and interested audience by overcoming the linguistics barriers through publishing short book-reviews (abstracts) of these works, in English, Arabic and Turkish.

Can't join us in London? Register for a place to attend via GoToWebinar.

Image credit:

Tatiana Gavyuk, People in Need: Destroyed Mosul University Library, 14 Sep 2017.


Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations
210 Euston Road