The American University in Cairo Press is delighted to welcome its new executive director, Veerle De Laet. Before joining the Press this month, De Laet was managing director and publisher at Leuven University Press since 2016. Prior to that, she held the position of acquisitions editor at the same university press.
Before entering the world of academic publishing, she was active as a researcher. Born in Belgium, De Laet holds a PhD in cultural history from the University of Antwerp. In high school, she studied ancient Greek and Latin. In 2004, she earned a master’s degree in history from the University of Leuven, with magna cum laude honors. From 2005 to 2009, she was affiliated with the University of Antwerp as a PhD assistant at the Foundation for Scientific Research in Flanders, and from 2010 she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, in the School of History, Culture, and Communication. She was a visiting fellow at the University of Bordeaux, in the Art History Department, and prior to that she participated in a research project on the history of glassmaking at the Antwerp Academy of Fine Arts, in the Department of Restoration and Conservation Studies.
Her field of research was situated at the intersection of socioeconomic history and early modern art history, and her research projects focused on cultural transmission, artistic exchanges, and early modern material culture in the Low Countries. Several articles, book chapters, and a single-authored monograph resulted from her research.
When starting as managing director in academic publishing, she decided to actively participate in international publishing associations such as the Association of European University Presses (AEUP) and the Association of University Presses (AUPresses), in which she is currently acting as a publishing mentor for a junior publishing professional of Cambridge University Press. In Spring 2020, she was elected to act as the national representative for Belgium/Flanders within the Federation of European Publishers (FEP), an independent, non-commercial umbrella association of book publishers’ associations in the European Union, representing all 29 national associations of book publishers of the European Union and of the European Economic Area, and which mainly deals with European legislation and initiatives affecting the publishing industry.
At the AUC Press & AUC Bookstores Stand, during the Cairo International Book Fair 2023 (from left to right):
Sameh El Moghazy, AUC Press Sales Manager; Khaled Seoudi, AUC Press & AUC Bookstores Marketing Assistant; Suzan Kenawy, AUC Press & AUC Bookstores Marketing Manager (Egypt/Europe); Verlee De Laet, AUC Press Executive Director; Angela Hafez, AUC Press Customer Service Officer; Waguih Boushra, AUC Press Distribution and Analysis, Senior Specialist;
and Mahmoud Khalil, AUC Press Associate Director.
“Joining AUC Press as Executive Director is a new and exciting step in my academic publishing career,” said De Laet. “I will build on my expertise and know-how of the academic publishing ecosystem to navigate the complexities and challenges of the constantly evolving publishing landscape and developments in scholarly communication.” Developing a strategic vision for the future and advancement of AUC Press’s global reputation constitute her main targets. “I am eager to work closely with AUC Press’s staff to expand our publishing collection, add new thematic fields of research, launch new book series, foster publishing partnerships, explore new formats and publishing programs, and advance AUC Press’s global reach in terms of marketing, distribution, and sales.”
Aside from her native Flemish, De Laet speaks English, as well as French and German. “Learning Egyptian Arabic is definitely on my wish list,” said De Laet. In her spare time, she loves listening to music, playing the violin, and singing. “I have a broad taste in music ranging from Renaissance, Baroque, Arab, Turkish, and Balkan music to jazz,” said De Laet. She loves to hike in remote places and read fiction. “Reading is a never-ending pleasure. I prefer fiction that extends my horizon and introduces me to regions, timeperiods, and mindsets different from my own.”