The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), will return with the second edition of its International Congress of Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries (Congress PCI) from 21-22 May 2023 at the Abu Dhabi Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). Opening the day before the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, this year’s congress will welcome hundreds of regional and international publishers, content creators, thought leaders and entrepreneurs to explore the theme of Adapting Stories.

In its first year, the congress attracted more than 380 in-person attendees and welcomed 35 inspiring speakers from a range of sectors across book publishing, film, video streaming, gaming, and social media. Building on the success of its inaugural year, the congress will span two days with the addition of professional workshops led by industry leaders, as well as exhibition innovative storytelling technologies from leading global and regional brands.

Presenting the latest trends in publishing, the congress aims to facilitate business opportunities and collaborations across industries and regions. Through keynote presentations, panel discussions, networking events and workshops, the congress considers the opportunities, challenges and best practices of adapting content for different audiences and media. Topics covered by the panel discussions this year include Arabian fantasy, edutainment and emerging technologies.

World-famous comic book creator Brian Michael Bendis, whose work has been adapted for film, television and stage will deliver the keynote speech, providing the international context for the proceedings. The roster of speakers includes best-selling Japanese contemporary author Banana Yoshimoto, author, and screenwriter Ahmed Mourad, and leading A.I. specialist, Mo Gawdat, among others.

On the second day of the congress, there will be a specialist series of workshops focusing on Literary Criticism in the Emirates, run by the Ministry of Culture and Youth (MOE), as well as The Arabic Language and Artificial Intelligence, presented by Professor Nizar Habash, a computer scientist specialising in natural language processing and computational linguistics from New York University Abu Dhabi.

In addition to the extensive programme of events, the congress will feature a new exhibition, showcasing innovative technologies and brands in the business of storytelling across a range of media from gaming to audiobooks. Guests will have an opportunity to meet representatives from leading regional brands including the award-winning Emirati film and entertainment company Image Nation, the foremost mobile game publisher in MENA Tamatem Games, technology company offering a network of reliable, high-quality online content platforms in Arabic Majarra and the emerging edutainment platform, Lamsa, as well as global corporations, such as Amazon.

His Excellency Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism AbuDhabi, said: “Connecting professionals from a spectrum of regions and disciplines, Congress PCI plays an important role in supporting the region’s cultural ecosystem through Arabic-led storytelling – ensuring future generations can thrive through creative and highly accessible publishing initiatives. Through increased dialogue, thought leadership and relentless innovation, this is an important time of growth for Arabic language publishing and content creation. Already in its second year, the impact of the annual gathering will be seen in creative, scholarly and trade opportunities, with far-reaching potential for creative collaboration.” 

His Excellency Dr Ali Bin Tamim, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, said: “Following the success of its inaugural year, we are delighted to announce the second edition of the International Congress of Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries. The Congress PCI is a unique opportunity for professionals across the publishing and creative industries working within or with the Arab market to come together, discover the latest developments in publishing, share their expertise and make important new connections. This year’s congress highlights the significant potential in developing and promoting home-grown talent for global markets. There is a wealth of innovation and creativity in the MENA region which holds great potential for the future of storytelling.”