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Literary Conversations Across Borders

“Conversations across cultures strengthens our bonds and brings greater appreciation of the topics that affect us in the world today, recognising the common concerns, joys and sorrows that affect us all, no matter who we are.” Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation

A new initiative to promote international cultural understanding through the power of books and words has been launched by the Emirates Literature Foundation, with the co-operation of the UAE Office of Public and Cultural Diplomacy.

Called ‘Literary Conversations Across Borders’, the project will use a digital platform to host Emirati writers and commentators in live discussions with high profile experts from around the world on a variety of critical topics.

There will be eight sessions in this first series.
The sessions are free to watch but pre-registration is required. After the event the session will be hosted on the Emirates Literature Foundation YouTube channel.




Watch the iconic discussions again

Launch Event – How will the events of 2020 change the course of history?

Date: Sat, 30 May 2020
Time: 17:30 UAE
(14:30 UK, 19:00 India, 09:30 New York, USA)
Language: English
Genre: Current Affairs

Writer and Indian politician Shashi Tharoor and His Excellency Zaki Nusseibeh Minister of State: Office of Cultural Diplomacy will debate how this pivotal year will influence the future, for better or worse.

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How will the events of 2020 change the course of history?

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The first month of 2020 roared in with the threat of imminent wars in the Arabian Gulf and North Korea and instability in many democracies brought about by the polarities of divisive politics. There were also devastating Australian bushfires and severe flooding in Indonesia keeping climate change at the top of the news agenda. However it was the growing crisis from China that was to pull us all off course, with the Covid-19 pandemic having staggering and unimaginable consequences for everyone. Governments throughout the world have had to change tack, pausing in the trajectory of their policy-making to battle this virus on their home ground. What effect will this have on the course of history? Has the virus pushed a reset button – could we see a more tolerant, sustainable world when all this is over, or will we have a more fearful world, bound to make the same mistakes?

Speakers:

Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh: Minister of State: Office of Cultural Diplomacy

Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh has been active in government service since 1968, in many key positions including interpreter and advisor to the Presidents of the United Arab Emirates. He is currently a Minister of State in the UAE Government and has also served as Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation at the Foreign Ministry and Cultural Advisor at the UAE Presidential Court. He helped establish the Sorbonne University of Abu Dhabi and has served on its Administrative Council since 2006. In 2018 he was appointed as Chairman of the Board of Trustees. He is heavily involved UAE culture and has held key positions in the Sheikh Zayed Award, International Prize for Arabic Fiction, Abu Dhabi Classics and Al Ain Music Festival. His many awards include the Abu Dhabi Award, Cultural Diplomat of the Year, the European Academy of Science and Arts Ring of Tolerance, the Golden Medal of Arts from the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC, and the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature Personality of the Year Award.

Dr Shashi Tharoor

An author, Indian politician, and former international civil servant, Dr Shashi Tharoor straddles several worlds of experience. Currently a third-term Member of Parliament for Thiruvananthapuram, he is the bestselling author of twenty books, both fiction and non-fiction, besides being a former Under Secretary-General of the United Nations and a former Minister of State for Human Resource Development and for External Affairs in the Government of India. He has won numerous awards, including the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Crossword Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2019, Dr. Tharoor was also awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in the category of ‘English Non-Fiction’ for his book An Era of Darkness. He chairs Parliament’s Standing Committee on Information Technology.

Moderator:

Julia Wheeler

Julia Wheeler is an experienced journalist and interviewer who worked for the BBC for more than 15 years, including as the BBC’s Gulf Correspondent, based in the UAE between 2000 and 2010.  She continues to work as a freelance journalist, for broadcast and print, in London. Julia has moderated large-scale conferences and chaired inter-governmental forums. She is chair and interviewer at several festivals including Cheltenham (Literature and Science), Stanford’s Travel Writers Festival at London’s Olympia and the Stratford Literary Festival. She has chaired events at The British Library and onboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2. Julia wrote the award-winning book Telling Tales: An Oral History of Dubai, capturing stories of court intrigue, pearl diving and gold smuggling, plus the early days of education and banking.  She is an alumna of the Faber Academy and writes fiction. Julia read Economic and Social History before postgraduate study in Broadcast Journalism at City University, London.

Sustainability – Have we pulled back from the brink?

Date: Sat, 6 June 2020
Time: 19:30 UAE
(16:30 UK, 21:00 India, 11:30 New York, USA)
Language: English
Genre: Sustainability/Current Affairs

Join the world’s best-known scientist and environmentalist Dr Jane Goodall in conversation with the UAE Minister of State for Food Security, Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Al Mehairi.

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Sustainability – Have we pulled back from the brink?

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With the reductions in carbon emissions bringing clear blue skies overhead, and the quiet of the lock-down attracting animals to reclaim city streets, is this the huge change in our way of life that environmental activists have been advocating? The radical changes to daily life that we’re seeing now seemed unimaginable only a few months ago. Will there be a huge rebound when we get back to the the ‘new normal’, and will we have to make a choice between nature, global food supply challenges and economic development? Our speakers discuss possible ways forward in our brave new world.

Speakers

Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Al Mheiri.

Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Al Mheiri.
was appointed as Minister of State for Food Security following the Cabinet reshuffle of October 2017. Her responsibilities include overseeing the development of the necessary infrastructure that would ensure the country’s food security objectives, in line with UAE Centennial 2071 Plan.

In addition, H.E. represents the UAE federal government in the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) as well as the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA). She is a member of the Board of Directors in the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA) and also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural, the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) and the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Food Systems Innovation. She has also been nominated to lead some unique projects in the field of aquaculture under the initiatives of H.H. the President of UAE, through the Ministry of Presidential Affairs to establish the foundation needed for this emerging economic sector to develop and thrive in the country. In addition, she is also a member of the overseeing council of the recently launch Ministry of Possibilities.

H.E. Al Mheiri previously served as Assistant Undersecretary for Water Resources and Nature Conservation Affairs at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, where she was appointed to oversee the Biodiversity, Fisheries, Coastal & Marine Sustainability and Marine Research departments.

H.E. Mariam Al Mheiri received her bachelor and master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule (RWTH) in Aachen, Germany.

Dr Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall is one of the world’s best-known environmental scientists. She started studying chimpanzees in 1960 in Gombe Tanzania, where research continues today. The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) was founded in 1977 and there are now JGI offices in 27 counties. In 1991 she formed Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots, a programme that empowers young people of all ages to undertake projects for their local community, for animals and for the environment, and is now active in more than 60 countries. In 1994 Jane formed TACARE (Take Care) which is a community-centred conservation and development programme which partners with communities around Gombe to create sustainable livelihoods while promoting conservation goals.

Dr Goodall’s numerous awards and honorary degrees include France’s Order of the Legion d’Honneur, the Medal of Tanzania, and Japan’s prestigious Kyoto Prize. In 2002 Jane was appointed to serve as a United Nations Messenger of Peace and in 2003 she was named a Dame of the British Empire. She is author of many books and has featured in many films and documentaries around the world.

Facilitator:

Riz Khan is an international journalist, author, and public speaker recognized across the globe for having had flagship TV shows on CNN International and Al Jazeera English – of which he was a Founding Director.

Khan launched the first, global, live interactive talk show, Q&A with Riz Khan. Through the span of his career, Khan has conducted more than 10,000 interviews.

In 2005, he authored his first book, Alwaleed: Businessman Billionaire Prince. Khan also authored the preface to the 2010 Committee to Protect Journalists. His first novel, We Interrupt Our Programming… was published online in 2012, taking a candidly comical look at the world of international news.

Will science be the new religion in the post-pandemic world?

Date: Sat, 13 June 2020
Time: 21:00 hours UAE time
(10:00 hours Seattle USA, 13:00 hours New York USA, 18:00 hours UK, 22:30 hours Delhi, India)
Language: English
Genre: Faith

Join His Excellency Omar Ghobash Assistant Minister, Office of Cultural Diplomacy in the UAE and Lesley Hazleton, award-winning journalist and author of The First Muslim for this frank and illuminating discussion.

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Will science be the new religion in the post-pandemic world?

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The current battle between some religious elements and science-led policy-makers over dealing with Covid 19 is being politically — and cynically — manipulated.  Is there any common ground or are the two stances inherently incompatible?

And will an increased appreciation for the factual certainties of science, following the leading role it has played in tackling the pandemic, have an impact on our belief systems based on the intangibles of faith, hope and trust?

Join His Excellency Omar Ghobash Assistant Minister, Office of Cultural Diplomacy in the UAE and Lesley Hazleton, award-winning journalist and author of The First Muslim for this frank and illuminating discussion.

Speakers

Omar Saif Ghobash

Omar Saif Ghobash is an author, businessman, and diplomat, currently serving the United Arab Emirates as Assistant Minister for Culture and Public Diplomacy. Previously, he served as Ambassador to France (2017-2018) and Ambassador to Russia (2008-2017). In addition to his diplomatic work, Ambassador Ghobash sponsors the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation and is a founding trustee of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in collaboration with the Man Booker Prize in London; he serves on the acquisition committee of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the advisory body of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College London, and the board of trustees of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy in Abu Dhabi. Ambassador Ghobash studied Law at Oxford and Math at the University of London.

Lesley Hazleton

Lesley Hazleton reported on the Middle East from Jerusalem for more than a dozen years, and has written for Time, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, and Harper’s, among other publications. Her book, After the Prophet, was a finalist for the PEN-USA Book Award. Her latest book, Agnostic, gives voice to the case for agnosticism, breaks it free of its stereotypes as watered-down atheism or amorphous “seeking,” and celebrates it as a reasoned, revealing, and sustaining stance toward life. Lesley Hazleton lives in Seattle.

Facilitator:

Riz Khan is an international journalist, author, and public speaker recognized across the globe for having had flagship TV shows on CNN International and Al Jazeera English – of which he was a Founding Director.

Khan launched the first, global, live interactive talk show, Q&A with Riz Khan. Through the span of his career, Khan has conducted more than 10,000 interviews.

In 2005, he authored his first book, Alwaleed: Businessman Billionaire Prince. Khan also authored the preface to the 2010 Committee to Protect Journalists. His first novel, We Interrupt Our Programming… was published online in 2012, taking a candidly comical look at the world of international news.

Emotional Rescue –poetry, a powerful panacea for the pandemic?

Date: Sat, 20 June 2020
Time: 19.30 hours UAE,
16.30 hours UK BST, New York USA, 11.30 hours EDT
Language: English
Genre: Poetry

An outstanding live digital event bringing together top poets from the UAE, UK, and USA to rouse our spirits, touch our hearts and calm the soul as we celebrate poetry across borders. Expect spine-tingling performances from our exceptional trio, Lemn Sissay, Afra Atiq and Carlos Andrés Gómez. This is one poetry performance you will not want to miss.

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Emotional Rescue –poetry, a powerful panacea for the pandemic

Stand By Me

An outstanding live digital event bringing together top poets from the UAE, UK, and USA to rouse our spirits, touch our hearts and calm the soul as we celebrate poetry across borders. Expect spine-tingling performances from our exceptional trio, Lemn Sissay, Afra Atiq and Carlos Andrés Gómez. This is one poetry performance you will not want to miss.

Speakers

Lemn Sissay

Lemn Sissay Google the name “lemn Sissay” and all the returning hits will be about him because there is only one Lemn Sissay in the world. Lemn Sissay is a BAFTA nominated award winning writer, international poet, performer playwright, artist and broadcaster. He has read on stage throughout the world: from The Library of Congress in The United States to The University of Addis Ababa, from Singapore to Sri Lanka, Bangalore to Dubai, from Bali to Greenland AND Wigan library. He was awarded an MBE for services to literature by The Queen of England. Along with Chimamanda Ngoze Adichie and Margaret Atwood he won a Pen Pinter Prize in 2019. He is Chancellor of The University of Manchester and an Honorary Doctor from The Universities of Huddersfield, Manchester, Kent and Brunei. He is Dr Dr Dr Dr Lemn Sissay. He was the first poet commissioned to write for the London Olympics and poet of the FA Cup.

Afra Atiq

Afra Atiq is an award-winning Emirati poet. Afra has been featured across the globe
and has held workshops with Untitled Chapters, giving back to the community. She’s been published in the International Journal of Research in Humanities and Social
Sciences and conducted social research involving literature and education. She has been featured at schools and universities as well as TEDxFujairah, NYUAD
Arts Centre and was named the Best Performer. She has won multiple poetry slams, and the 2017 ADMAF creativity award.

Carlos Andrés Gómez

Carlos Andrés Gómez is a Colombian-American poet from New York City, and author of Hijito, selected by Eduardo C. Corral as the 2018 Broken River Prize winner, and the memoir Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood. Winner of the Atlanta Review International Poetry Prize, Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize, and the Sandy Crimmins National Prize for Poetry, Gómez’s writing appears, or is forthcoming, in many publications including the New England Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, and CHORUS: A Literary Mixtape.

A star of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, TV One’s Verses and Flow, and Spike Lee’s no. 1 box office movie Inside Man with Denzel Washington, Carlos recently partnered with John Legend on Senior Orientation, a programme to counteract bullying and champion inclusive masculinity among high school students

Moderator:

Paul Blezard

Multi award winning broadcaster, poet, author and literary commentator, Paul Blezard has for over twenty years spoken to, written about and worked with many of the world’s finest authors, poets, thinkers and writers.
He is a trustee of the Banipal/Saif Ghobash prize for Arabic Literary Translation and founder of www.lockdownlitfest.com an online, 365 days a year, online literature and culture festival.
Whether on radio, television, and international literary festival stages or in his work as a critic, judge or literary editor, he profoundly believes in the transformative power of good stories well told.

Reporting the Stories in Changed, Strange Times?

Date: Thursday 2 July 2020
Time: UAE 19:30 hours, UK 16:30 hours, New York USA 11:30 hours.
Language: English
Genre: Journalism

The way reporters get their story has change dramatically in the last decade. Has the impact of twitter rewritten all the rules? Has it changed journalism for better or worse? Its immediacy gives us first person accounts on the spot, but what about checking the facts? Has fake news shaken our belief in what is being reported? Our speakers discuss reporting stories in these changed, strange times.
Christina Lamb – Award winning journalist from The Sunday Times
Sultan Al Qassemi – Political commentator

Learn More

Sustainability – Have we pulled back from the brink?

Join the debate

The way reporters get their story has change dramatically in the last decade. Has the impact of twitter rewritten all the rules? Has it changed journalism for better or worse? Its immediacy gives us first person accounts on the spot, but what about checking the facts? Has fake news shaken our belief in what is being reported? Our speakers discuss reporting stories in these changed, strange times.

Speakers

Christina Lamb – Award winning journalist from The Sunday Times

Christina Lamb is Chief Foreign Correspondent for the Sunday Times.
She was recently named Sue Lloyd Roberts Journalist of the Year for ‘outstanding reporting on refugee issues’. She also won the Foreign Press Association Award for her report on Boko Haram and the Chibok Girls.
Lamb has been based in Pakistan, Brazil, South Africa and Washington as US editor and been named Foreign Correspondent of the Year five times.
Lamb is the author of the best-selling The Africa House, Waiting for Allah, The Sewing Circles of Herat, Small Wars Permitting and I Am Malala, co-authored with Malala Yousafzai. Her latest book, Nujeen, is co-written with inspirational young refugee Nujeen Mustafa.

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi is an Emirati columnist and researcher on social, political and cultural affairs in the Arab Gulf States. Sultan’s tweets became a major news source during the Arab Spring, rivaling the major news networks at the time, until TIME magazine listed him in the “140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011.” In 2018 Sultan ranked 19th on the “Arabic Thought Leader Index” by the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute.
Sultan was a practitioner-in-residence at the Hagop Kevorkian Center of Near East Studies at New York University in the Spring of 2017, a 2018 Yale Greenberg World Fellow and a lecturer at the Council of Middle East Studies in Yale University then an Adjunct Instructor at the Center of Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University in 2019.
Sultan is also the founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation, an independent initiative established in 2010 to contribute to the intellectual development of the art scene in the Arab region by building a prominent and publicly accessible art collection in the United Arab Emirates. In 2018, 100 works from the collection were hosted on a long-term basis at the Sharjah Art Museum.
Sultan is currently conducting research for a book that documents the modern architecture of the city of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, and teaching a course on “Politics of Modern Middle Eastern Art” at Boston College.

Moderator: Julia Wheeler

Julia Wheeler is an experienced journalist and interviewer who worked for the BBC for more than 15 years, including as the BBC’s Gulf Correspondent, based in the UAE between 2000 and 2010. She continues to work as a freelance journalist, for broadcast and print, in London.
Julia has moderated large-scale conferences and chaired inter-governmental forums. She is chair and interviewer at several festivals including Cheltenham (Literature and Science), Stanford’s Travel Writers Festival at London’s Olympia and the Stratford Literary Festival. She has chaired events at The British Library and onboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2.
Julia wrote the award-winning book Telling Tales: An Oral History of Dubai, capturing stories of court intrigue, pearl diving and gold smuggling, plus the early days of education and banking. She is an alumna of the Faber Academy and writes fiction.
Julia read Economic and Social History before postgraduate study in Broadcast Journalism at City University, London.

Making that giant leap for humankind – The Hope Probe mission to the Red Planet?

Date: Saturday 11 July 2020
Time: UAE 19:30, UK 16:30, New York USA 11:30, Kagoshima Japan 00:30 next day.
Language: English
Genre: Space

As the UAE prepares for the imminent launch of the Hope Probe mission, what life-changing advancement can we expect from the project? Almost every sector of human progress has benefited from sending people into space, from the development of portable computers, camera phones and Nike Air traineers to CAT scans and research into our health. The pioneering Hope Probe mission will provide the most comprehensive, holistic picture of Mars’ climate, placing the UAE at the forefront of scientific discovery.Our speakers will assess what space exploration has taught us, and where the Hope Probe mission will take us.
H.E. Zaki Nusseibeh Minister of State for the Office of Public and Cultural Diplomacy
Dr. Farouk El-Baz NASA space scientist and geologist
Moderated live from Japan by Salem AlMarri, Head of the UAE Astronaut Programme, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre

Learn More

Making that giant leap for humankind – The Hope Probe mission to the Red Planet?

Join the debate

As the UAE prepares for the imminent launch of the Hope Probe mission, what life-changing advancement can we expect from the project? Almost every sector of human progress has benefited from sending people into space, from the development of portable computers, camera phones and Nike Air traineers to CAT scans and research into our health. The pioneering Hope Probe mission will provide the most comprehensive, holistic picture of Mars’ climate, placing the UAE at the forefront of scientific discovery. Our speakers discuss reporting stories in these changed, strange times.

Speakers

H.E. Zaki Nusseibeh Minister of State for the Office of Public and Cultural Diplomacy

His Excellency Zaki Nusseibeh is Minister of State: Office of Public and Cultural Diplomacy and has been active in government service since 1968, in many key positions including interpreter and advisor to the Presidents of the United Arab Emirates. He is currently a Minister of State in the UAE Government and has also served as Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation at the Foreign Ministry and Cultural Advisor at the UAE Presidential Court.
He helped establish the Sorbonne University of Abu Dhabi and has served on its Administrative Council since 2006. In 2018 he was appointed as Chairman of the Board of Trustees. He is heavily involved UAE culture and has held key positions in the Sheikh Zayed Award, International Prize for Arabic Fiction, Abu Dhabi Classics and Al Ain Music Festival. His many awards include the Abu Dhabi Award, Cultural Diplomat of the Year, the European Academy of Science and Arts Ring of Tolerance, the Golden Medal of Arts from the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC, and the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature Personality of the Year Award.

Dr. Farouk El-Baz NASA space scientist and geologist

Dr. Farouk El-Baz is an Egyptian American NASA space scientist and geologist, and member of the Advisory Council of Distinguished Scientists and Technologists to the President of Egypt.

He worked with NASA in the scientific exploration of the moon and the planning of the Apollo programme. He was a leading geologist on the program, responsible for studying the geology of the moon for the selection of landing sites of the Apollo mission. He was further responsible for the training of the astronauts in lunar observations and photography. He played a key role in the Apollo 11 Moon Landing Mission, as well as the later five Apollo missions. After Apollo ended he joined the Smithsonian Institution and came up with the idea of a touchable moon rock at the National Air and Space Museum, inspired by his childhood pilgrimage to Mecca where he touched the Black Stone (which in Islam is believed to be sent down from the heavens). He later established and for over thirty-years directed the Center for Remote Sensing at the reputed Boston University in the USA.
He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Geological Society of America, a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Science, and U.S. National Academy of Engineering.

Moderated live from Japan by Salem AlMarri, Head of the UAE Astronaut Programme, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre

Salem AlMarri is Assistant Director General for Science and Technology Sector, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre. He heads the UAE Astronaut Programme, and oversees the MBRSC’s expansion into new scientific and technical fields alongside ensuring continuing developments in the space sector.
Al Marri wields over fifteen years of experience, and was an integral part of the team that set up the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) which then became MBRSC in 2006.
For his achievements as the first project manager of the UAE satellite Dubaisat-1 and Dubaisat-2, Al Marri received the UAE Pioneers Award in 2014. He has represented the UAE and the MBRSC through presentations and papers in over 50 international conferences worldwide, and has been a returning member of the delegation to the United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

Legend, Myth and History – Where can we draw a line?

Date: Saturday 18 July 2020
Time: UAE 19:30, UK 16:30, New York USA 11:30
Language: English
Genre: History/Myths

Humankind thrives on stories, which from the beginning of time have helped us interpret the world around us. Myths may seem fantastical, but have generally evolved to explain the past, often with a basis rooted in fact. Actual happenings are embellished and added to, passed on from person to person, down the generations, to help them make sense of the present.

History is an attempt to uncover and create a factual account of the past. The history of the UAE can be traced back to the Neolithic age. How is its history being uncovered and documented? If myth and history represent different ways of looking at the past, what part can legend and myth play in uncovering our history? Where does fact meets fiction, and what is the responsibility of historians in ensuring that the true interpretation of events is portrayed?

Speakers
Bettany Hughes – Historian and writer
Dr Abdulaziz Al Musallam – Chairman of Sharjah Institute for Heritage and writer
Peter Hellyer – Writer, historian and environmentalist

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Legend, Myth and History – Where can we draw a line?

Join the debate

Humankind thrives on stories, which from the beginning of time have helped us interpret the world around us. Myths may seem fantastical, but have generally evolved to explain the past, often with a basis rooted in fact. Actual happenings are embellished and added to, passed on from person to person, down the generations, to help them make sense of the present.

History is an attempt to uncover and create a factual account of the past. The history of the UAE can be traced back to the Neolithic age. How is its history being uncovered and documented? If myth and history represent different ways of looking at the past, what part can legend and myth play in uncovering our history? Where does fact meets fiction, and what is the responsibility of historians in ensuring that the true interpretation of events is portrayed?

Speakers

Bettany Hughes

Historian, writer and presenter Bettany Hughes has written about Socrates, Helen ofTroy and the history of Istanbul, as well as presented TV series on many historical topics, most recently ancient Egypt. Her latest book, Venus & Aphrodite examines the
complicated roots of the Roman & Greek deities as well as what they meant to
classical civilisations.

Dr. Abdulaziz Al Musallam

Abdulaziz Al Musallam is a poet and a writer from Sharjah, UAE. He is the Chairman of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage. Al Musallam has worked on folklore including fairy tales, oral history and Nabati Poetry. He is considered the most popular folklore writers in the UAE and has published three collections of poetry and nine books on culture and heritage. His work includes Safar el Layali (1990), Baqaya el Lail (1995) and Tofolat Hob wa Salam (1998).
He has also written several books including Al Zakera al Shabya (1999), Al Azyaa wa al zina (2001), Al Lahjah al Emarateya (2001), Bu Ahmed (2005), Rashed al Shoq (2002), Marawed (2002), Bosmah (2002), Madaaen al Reeh (Wind Cities) published in 2004, Marames (2004) and Sharjah (2005).
Al Musallam is a founding member of the Architectural Heritage Society established in 2003, and a member of the Sharjah National Theater. He has participated in many Arabic and international symposia, conferences and forums on cultural heritage, folklore and history and is regularly writes essays and editorials on these subjects for leading Arabic newspapers and periodicals.

Peter Hellyer

Peter Hellyer is an Adviser at the UAE’s National Media Council. He was Executive Director from 1993-2005 of the Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey, ADIAS, which discovered several of the UAE’s most important archaeological sites, including a pre-Islamic Christian monastery, Neolithic villages and a five million year old trackway of fossil elephant footprints. He is author and editor of nearly 20 books on the UAE’s archaeology, history and environment.

The Power of Books – How does reading great literature shape us?

Date: Saturday, 25 July 2020
Time: UAE 19:30, UK 16:30, New York USA 11:30
Language: English
Sim. Translation: Arabic
Genre: Literature

“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.” Joyce Carol Oates

Reading literature allows us to see the world through the eyes of others, to understand alternative points of view. It can take us on a compelling journey, enabling us to set aside personal perspectives and truly cross borders by feeling the emotions and experiencing the life of someone who is of another age, class, or race. It nourishes our brains, influences our thinking and can leave an impression that may last a lifetime.

Join our speakers H.E. Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, H.E. Omar Saif Ghobash, Assistant Minister, Office of Public and Cultural Diplomacy and Isobel Abulhoul CEO & Trustee, Emirates Literature Foundation in conversation to discover the literary influences that shaped their lives.

The conversation will be in English, but for the first time ever in a Zoom webinar in the UAE, available with simultaneous translation in Arabic.

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The Power of Books – How does reading great literature shape us?

Join the debate

“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.” Joyce Carol Oates

Reading literature allows us to see the world through the eyes of others, to understand alternative points of view. It can take us on a compelling journey, enabling us to set aside personal perspectives and truly cross borders by feeling the emotions and experiencing the life of someone who is of another age, class, or race. It nourishes our brains, influences our thinking and can leave an impression that may last a lifetime.

Join our speakers H.E. Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, H.E. Omar Saif Ghobash, Assistant Minister, Office of Public and Cultural Diplomacy and Isobel Abulhoul CEO & Trustee, Emirates Literature Foundation in conversation to discover the literary influences that shaped their lives.

Speakers

Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi – UAE Minister of Culture and Youth

Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi is the UAE’s Minister of Culture and Youth, where she is responsible for fostering UAE-based cultural initiatives on both national and international level, developing policies, legislations and infrastructure that support cultural activities, cementing the UAE’s position as a hub of digital content and media industry and empowering the youth within the community to contribute to the creative economy.

In addition to her ministerial responsibilities, Al Kaabi is President of Zayed University and Chair of the National Commission for Education, Culture and Science. Previously, she held the post of Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs and Chairperson of Abu Dhabi Media and twofour54.

Al Kaabi holds a Bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems from UAE University, 2001 and completed an Executive Leadership Programme at the London Business School in 2011.

His Excellency Omar Saif Ghobash – Assistant Minister, Office of Public and Cultural Diplomacy

Omar Saif Ghobash is an author, businessman, and diplomat, currently serving the United Arab Emirates as Assistant Minister for Culture and Public Diplomacy. Previously, he served as Ambassador to France (2017-2018) and Ambassador to Russia (2008-2017). In addition to his diplomatic work, Ambassador Ghobash sponsors the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation and is a founding trustee of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in collaboration with the Man Booker Prize in London; he serves on the acquisition committee of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the advisory body of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College London, and the board of trustees of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy in Abu Dhabi. Ambassador Ghobash studied Law at Oxford and Math at the University of London.

ISOBEL ABULHOUL OBE – CEO & Trustee – Emirates Literature Foundation

Isobel Abulhoul came to Dubai in 1968 and co-founded Magrudy’s, a bookshop chain, in 1975. It is still thriving and has eight bookshops across the UAE.

In 2008 Isobel founded the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the Middle East’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word. In 2013, HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and also the Festival patron, issued a Decree establishing the Emirates Literature Foundation, naming Isobel as one of the trustees on the Board and holds the position of CEO. She is also a Trustee of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction Board, Secretary General of the Kalimat Foundation and a director of the Board for the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library. In addition, Isobel has been elected to the Supreme National Committee for Tolerance and has been selected as member of the Police Advisory Council for Community Service.

Isobel has received several awards and accolades over the years such as Cultural Personality of the Year by Dr. HH Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the Ruler of Sharjah in 2010, and the prestigious OBE award by HM Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain in 2012.

Isobel’s passion and drive for education and literature remains as strong as ever.

 

Emirates Literature Foundation
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