Intersecting circles


from Press News, posted 03/16/2013 - 19:27

 Globally renowned figures and NIAS Press don’t often move in the same circles but sometimes our worlds do intersect. Last week, for a while, we engaged the attention of Madeleine Albright. This was only achieved with a fair degree of effort – and Boris coming to the rescue.

The occasion was the lead-up to publication of of our latest new title – Dialogue with North Korea? Preconditions for Talking Human Rights With a Hermit Kingdom by Geir Helgesen and Hatla Thelle – and a visit to NIAS some days earlier of the outgoing Secretary-General of the Nordic Council of Ministers (and ex-Prime Minister of Iceland), Halldór Ásgrímsson.

The book examines the mainly dismal record of North Korea’s engagement with the outside world and argues quite strongly for a new approach to the ‘Hermit Kingdom’ by the international community. Here, U.S. relations with North Korea are especially analysed and, in this respect, the visit to Pyongyang by U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in 2000 is portrayed as something of a breakthrough that soon (during the second Bush presidency) became a lost opportunity.

Madeleine Albright? Oh, I’m meeting her in Morocco next Wednesday, said the Secretary-General. Thus began a mad scramble to finish laying out the book in just a few days, indexing it over the weekend and delivering PDFs to Boris Pedersen, the university printer, by Monday morning. As usual, Boris delivered the goods so that on Tuesday evening last week two pre-print copies of the book were delivered to the private residence of Mr Ásgrímsson. Next day he flew to Morocco where, during a meeting with Mrs Albright, he presented her with one of those copies.

Very interesting, was the lady’s response. Clearly, she also read inside the book because later she responded with a suggestion for moving the North Korean situation forward that in its details was much in line with the arguments advanced by the authors. This could be said to be quite a feather in the caps of the authors.

That said, we hope that the former Secretary of State didn’t leave her copy of the book lying round in the Moroccan sun. It was, after all, only a pre-print copy. Boris achieves excellent results and his print jobs are always of the highest quality. Even so, the covers of such pre-prints aren’t laminated and they curl after a while if left in the sun.

It was thus a big relief this morning to see last night’s sales reports from our UK warehouse. These stated that real copies of the book had arrived from our printer near Oxford and were being sent out to customers. Copies are also on their way to our other warehouses round the world. And one thing is for sure: the covers of these books shouldn’t curl.

Unfortunately, already on Tuesday I’ll be off to San Diego to attend this year’s conference of the Association of Asian Studies. It is most unlikely that real copies of the book will arrive from Britain before I leave but that is not a problem. I have a remaining Boris copy on hand – that will do us proud.


 

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