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Literary Conversations Across Borders – a compelling new digital project featuring high-level live debate between prominent Emiratis and top writers and thinkers from around the world on the topics that matter in the world today

Don’t miss your chance to join the conversation

Live Q&A

Sessions are free to watch; pre-registration is required.

Sustainability – Have we pulled back from the brink?

Genre: Sustainability/Current Affairs

Session date:  Saturday 6 June 2020

Session timing:  19:30 UAE  (16:30 UK,  21:00 India, 11:30 New York, USA)

Session language: English

Have the lock-down measures pulled us back from the brink of disaster with regards to climate change, and will it herald the making of a more sustainable world?

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.

More Details  Register Here


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

Genre: Faith

Session date:  Saturday 13 June 2020

Session timing:  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)

Session language: English

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.


More Details  Register Here




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

Genre: Current Affairs

Session date:  Saturday 30 May, 2020

Session timing: 17:30 UAE (14:30 UK, 19:00 India, 09:30 New York, USA)

Session language: English

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.

Join the debate  

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? 


Zaki Nusseibeh Minister of State: Office of Cultural DiplomacyZaki 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 TharoorAn 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.   


Facilitated by moderator Julia WheelerJulia 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.

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