Fatma Mohamed Hqaiq Owner, Founder and Marketing & Sales Manager, Tripoli International Scientific Bookshop. SPECIAL COMMENTS: Mrs Hqaiq has four sisters and one brother. Her mother was 15 when she was born. None of her family members were in business – her father worked for the government but it was considered very important for all the children to study. From the age of nine she developed a great passion for books. Mrs Hqaiq studied sociology at Benkazi University (1978) and followed her education in Tripoli with a Master’s degree in psychology (1983). She worked for five years as a teacher at the Social Cooperation Institute, followed by a period as a library manager at the Alfatah University. In 1991 she started her bookstore with support of the government. It was a very tough time in which to succeed. Several years later her husband joined the company and he is now the general manager. In 1998 President Gaddafi wanted women to participate in the workforce and she was asked to become the deputy mayor. She was also asked to present a television programme on the Haj. Since 2002 it has been officially allowed to start an independent business in Libya. Mrs Hqaiq is a distributor of books, a real estate developer, and a commercial landlord. Her main activities are publishing scientific and general books and importing and distributing books including books for the scientific corporations. She has a bookstore located in an old government building which used to be a market. It has 25,000 titles and more than three million copies. She also sells children’s books in the store. Every year she publishes 50 academic titles and ten novels with a total of 160,000 copies. The bookstore is now the largest in North Africa with 1,200 sq. metres of space. She attends international book fairs such as Frankfurt and London and she distributes to bookstores in Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia and Sudan. There are around 25 employees working in the bookshop. Five people, including Mrs Hqaiq, are on the executive committee. They meet informally in her husband’s office, with three formal meetings a year. If the meeting is about finance, she sits at the head of the table. If the meeting is on general subjects, the general manager sits at the head, unless he is away when she takes his place. They are in the process of building a larger facility close to the University of Tripoli with four floors and 3,200 sq. metres. She lives in a large house that she had built six years ago. Her favourite colours are green and turquoise. The dining table is always used for everyday dining, and rarely for formal dinners. The maximum number of people seated at the dining table is eight. At formal dinners, Mrs Hqaiq usually sits opposite the main guest. The cloth, the tableware and the setting is her own style. Her hobbies are reading and participating in charity events and activities. She is a member of the Arab Council for Business Women and the Tripoli International Women Club. She is a kind, warm-hearted, generous and positive woman.
Series: Arab Domains
23 September 2006 (left), 24 September 2006 (right)