The Global Book Alliance Welcomes New Chair: Dr. Henry Chakava
This announcement was originally published on the Global Book Alliance website.
The Global Book Alliance (GBA) is thrilled to welcome Dr. Henry Chakava as the newest chair of the GBA Steering Committee. Dr. Chakava is a dedicated and renowned publisher who is considered “the father of Kenyan publishing.” With nearly 50 years of experience in the publishing industry, Dr. Chakva has vast experience editing and publishing educational books for both public and private schools and universities in Eastern Africa and beyond. For more than 20 years Dr. Chakava has been the Chairman of East African Education Publishers Ltd. Dr. Chakava began his career with Heinemann Educational Books Ltd., an international publishing house, where he became the organization’s first African editor.
Through his trailblazing work, Dr. Chakava has nurtured and promoted African writers, furthered indigenization of the publishing industry, promoted observance of international standards, and ensured greater access to books and other forms of written material for African children.
Prof. Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, a prominent Kenyan writer and academic, once said of Dr. Chakava, “His impact on the African publishing industry and on intellectual production in Kenya, East Africa and Africa is second to none. In so many ways he is a visionary pioneer. Without him we would not be talking seriously about the possibilities of publishing in African languages.”
Dr. Chakava has received numerous awards for his contributions to this publishing industry including an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Oxford Brookes University, a Prince Claus Award from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, commendations from the Kenyan government including a Head of State Commendation and the Moran of the Burning Spear for service to the nation, and an award for The Best Publisher in Africa at the African Publisher Network’s inaugural Award at Zimbabwe’s International Book Fair for his life-long contribution to the African book publishing industry. Dr. Chakava is also a fellow of the Kenya Institute of Management.
Scott Walter, the deputy chair of the GBA Steering Committee, has worked with Dr. Chakava for many years. “As one of Africa’s preeminent book professionals, Henry brings a lifetime of experience to the alliance in terms of the creation and publication of the kinds of relevant, high quality reading and learning materials that children need to succeed. We’re very fortunate to have him joining us as our new chair,” said Walter.
As chair of the Global Book Alliance’s Steering Committee, Dr. Chakava will work closely with GBA partners to align strategies to promote literacy and ensure that children have access to the right books at the right levels in the right languages. “I look at learning as a broad and continuous endeavor, which should be nurtured from an early age, and encouraged throughout one’s life. I believe that this cannot be achieved through textbooks alone, but through works that capture the readers’ imagination, help the reader travel far and wide, and create the urge to ask for more,” said Dr. Chakava. “In the end, our success at GBA should see to it that right from an early age, children can easily access books; they embrace reading as a fulfilling pastime; and promotion of writing and reading is mainstreamed in both government and the private sector.”