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Wed 27 May 2020 09:42 AM

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Video: New digital debate project - literary conversations across borders

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

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.

The series will launch on Saturday 30 May 2020 at 17:30 UAE with the intellectual, writer and Indian politician Shashi Tharoor and His Excellency Zaki Nusseibeh Minister of State: Office of Cultural Diplomacy who will debate how the events of 2020 will change the course of history, for better or worse.

HE Zaki Nusseibeh said that this would be a ground-breaking project for the UAE: “Having these conversations across cultures strengthens our bonds and brings greater appreciation of the topics that affect us in the world today, no matter where we live. This project provides a platform for Emiratis to be part of the international discussions that are happening at the moment and shows that the UAE is an open, forward thinking nation, eager to engage with other countries and cultures. Two-way dialogue will foster understanding, helping to break down stereotypes and a recognition of the common concerns, joys and sorrows that affect us all, no matter who we are.”

Future editions of the series will feature Jane Goodall, one of the world’s best-known  scientists and environmentalists on 6 June in a discussion with the UAE Minister of State for Food Security, Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Al Mheiri.

Will science be the new religion in the post-pandemic world? is the question  that will be posed in  a frank examination by His Excellency  Omar Ghobash Assistant Minister, Office of Cultural Diplomacy and Lesley Hazleton, award-winning journalist and author of The First Muslim. They will consider whether an increased appreciation for the factual certainties of science, following the leading role it has played in tackling the pandemic, will have an impact on our belief systems based on the intangibles of faith, hope and trust. This debate will take place on 13 June.

There will be eight sessions in this first series. Further details and more authors will be announced shortly.

Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation said: “We originally planned ‘Literary Conversations Across Borders’ as a travelling project, taking Emirati authors and experts to book fairs and literary festivals throughout the world. World events have conspired to make that not possible at the moment, however we have grasped the initiative and re-designed it and think in many ways this may have more impact, with discussion being taken into the heart of people’s homes. It is a wonderful way to showcase the talent and expert opinion we have here in the UAE, and to give Emiratis a voice on the world stage.”

(Source: Arabian Business YouTube channel)