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Virtual Insanity: Is Technology Changing Who We Are?

Event 15 Friday 3 March, 3pm-4pm Al Ras 2, InterContinental

“Ethics change with technology.” – Larry Niven

Technological progress has had an enormous impact on our physical lives, but what is it doing to our minds? This is an area prone to sensationalist reporting, which can obscure real issues about what our relationship with technology reveals about us as individuals and societies.

Sarah Amiri is the Lead Science Investigator of the Emirates Mars Mission and, through her work with UAE universities and international institutions, is a key player in the UAE’s mission to build a knowledge-based society.

Jon Ronson is the author of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, an examination of how the age-old art of shaming has gained global reach thanks to social media.

Keith Stuart has written about video games for 20 years, and has thus been witness to both the growth of a new culture and the emergence of some extreme culture wars.

Ashlee Vance, reporting from Silicon Valley, has made a career of getting inside the heads of people pursuing technological breakthroughs, from infrastructure to artificial intelligence to space travel.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Virtual Insanity: Is Technology Changing Who We Are?

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A Frank Conversation with Jon Ronson

Event 154 Friday 3 March, 6pm-7pm Al Ras 3, InterContinental

Authors: Jon Ronson
“By constructing his books so that they start off achingly funny then at a certain juncture become naggingly painful, he does indeed force us to think more deeply about the subject at hand.” – Will Self on Jon Ronson

Jon Ronson’s adventures have taken him from playing keyboards for the enigmatic Frank Sidebottom (which led him to write the screenplay for the film Frank) to friendly conversations with psychopaths, terrifying encounters with modern-day psy-ops agents, and the dubious pleasures of getting to know the extremist groups who rallied around Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. His film career has enjoyed similarly surprising turns, with a new feature film on the way starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Tilda Swinton, and an enormous monster called Okja.

Expect surprises and some uncomfortable truths about our world in this conversation with a man who has made a career of exploring humanity’s stranger side.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

A Frank Conversation with Jon Ronson

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A Boy Made of Blocks

Event 157 Saturday 4 March, 3pm-4pm Al Khayma, InterContinental

Authors: Keith Stuart
“Life puts up so many barriers to people who are different. Any tool that helps us to appreciate those people is a precious thing.” – Keith Stuart

Alex’s life is falling apart – his marriage is failing and his autistic son Sam is struggling to comprehend an overwhelming world. But when Sam starts playing Minecraft, the two of them have a chance to build a virtual world they can share – and start confronting their problems in the real world.

Games journalist Keith Stuart was inspired to write A Boy Made of Blocks by personal experience – his son is on the autism spectrum, and Minecraft helped father and son connect. In this session he talks about the challenges of autism and how computer games can be surprisingly helpful, as well as how he came to write his bestselling novel.

Language: English

A Boy Made of Blocks

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So You've Been Publicly Shamed: Jon Ronson on Finding Tolerance in an Angry World

Event 54 Saturday 4 March, 6.30pm-7.30pm Al Ras 1, InterContinental

“We are defining the boundaries of normality by tearing apart the people outside it.” – Jon Ronson

Jon Ronson’s latest book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, deals with an age-old phenomenon that has gained new life online. What happens when a large group of people turn on an individual in a collective social media attack? In the course of Jon’s research, he met with people who have been subjected to public shaming and examined the deep and personal damage caused.

With an uncanny ability to make disturbing subjects funny without diminishing their seriousness, Ronson has a lot to say on this expression of mob mentality – including his experiences as a shamer and being shamed himself.

Jon Ronson will be in conversation with Sultan Al Qassemi.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

So You've Been Publicly Shamed: Jon Ronson on Finding Tolerance in an Angry World

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Powerful Presence, Clarity and Success

Event 840 Wednesday 8 March, 9.30am-2pm Al Rimal, InterContinental

In today’s world, it is essential to present yourself well if you want to succeed, whether you’re speaking to an audience, a boardroom – or a literary agent!

Mai El Khalifa’s two decades of experience in the world of television means that she knows the importance of achieving competitive presence through how you speak and how you act. In this half-day workshop, she will teach the principles of presence and clarity that are required for success.

This workshop is for executives, authors, speakers and anyone who wants to boost their confidence and obtain the skills they need to promote themselves in today’s world.

The tutor: Mai El Khalifa is a TV broadcast professional and certified professional coach with an in-depth understanding of the issues facing international businesspeople.

Language: English

Powerful Presence, Clarity and Success

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Winning at Life: The Secrets of Not Having It All

Event 71 Thursday 9 March, 12pm-1pm Al Baraha 2, InterContinental

“If having it all means exhausting yourself so that you can be on top of your emails, then having it all is, in my humble opinion, completely overrated.” – Bryony Gordon

Is it really necessary to ‘have it all’? Our panel doesn’t think so, but that’s only the beginning of the discussion – when the world expects us all to be ‘always on’, what do you make time for and what do you let go in the name of health, sanity, or just having some time for yourself?

The journey to a less fulfilling life begins here!

Bryony Gordon is an author and journalist whose book Mad Girl chronicles the challenges of balancing work, family and mental illness. 

Omaira Farooq Al Olama is the founder and managing director of Advanced Learning Formulas (ALF), which trains young Emiratis in vital workplace skills.

Sara Sadik is a blogger on a mission to ‘find the magic in mommyhood’. She writes for the Huffington Post and Sassy Mama Dubai, and is working on her first parenting book.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Winning at Life: The Secrets of Not Having It All

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Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind over Body

Event 82 Friday 10 March, 10am-11am Al Ras 3, InterContinental

Authors: Jo Marchant
“It isn’t trickery, wishful thinking or all in the mind. It is a physical mechanism, as concrete as the effects of any drug.” – Jo Marchant on the placebo effect

Can our minds really heal our bodies? This is the controversial question Jo Marchant set out to answer in her book Cure, looking for the real science behind hypnosis, meditation, positive visualisation, virtual reality therapy and all manner of other techniques.

The relationship between body and mind is an ongoing mystery, and one that scientists are exploring every day – in this talk Marchant takes us on a journey through the latest findings.

This session is part of the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Creative Collaboration led by the British Council.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind over Body

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Dare to Do

Event 98 Friday 10 March, 10am-11am Al Ras 1, InterContinental

Authors: Sarah Outen
“It’s so intense and immersive to be in such a small vessel, so close to the water, and to an extent at the mercy of the elements.” – Sarah Outen

When Sarah Outen set out to cycle, kayak and row around the world, she was embarking on a journey that would test her spirit as much as her body, as treacherous weather repeatedly sabotaged her efforts.

The story of her eventually successful adventure and the obstacles she overcame are contained in the inspirational memoir Dare to Do – a book that invites readers to push their own boundaries and start their own adventure.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Dare to Do

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100 Things Successful People Do

Event 830 Friday 10 March, 10am-12pm Al Rimal, InterContinental

Do you want to succeed in life – and find happiness in what you are doing? Leadership and coaching expert Nigel Cumberland, author of 100 Things Successful People Do, is here to help! In this workshop he will teach you how to identify what makes you happy, what you are aiming to succeed at, and what you can change to make it happen.

The tutor: Nigel Cumberland is the co-founder of Silk Road Partnership, a leading global provider of executive coaching and leadership training solutions. In addition to 100 Things Successful People Do, he is the author of several management and leadership books, including Secrets of Success at Work: 50 Techniques to Excel and Finding and Hiring Talent in a Week.

Language: English

100 Things Successful People Do

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Mad Girl: Bryony Gordon in Conversation

Event 188 Friday 10 March, 1.30pm-2.30pm Al Ras 2, InterContinental

Authors: Bryony Gordon
“I went to bed happy and woke up eight and a bit hours later in a state of turmoil, as if I had been abducted by aliens before being returned to my bed with a chip in my head.” – Bryony Gordon

When she was 12, Bryony Gordon developed obsessive-compulsive disorder, seemingly overnight, and has struggled with it ever since. Prompted by the birth of her daughter, she decided to talk publicly about her illness, and wrote Mad Girl, a memoir that confronts horror with humour, in hope of convincing society to take mental health more seriously.

Come along and share in Bryony’s refreshing wit and candid style in this important discussion on mental health.

Language: English

Mad Girl: Bryony Gordon in Conversation

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Micromastery: The Secret Art of the Polymath

Event 85 Friday 10 March, 11:30am-12:30pm Al Ras 2, InterContinental

“Humans are growth machines – we are here to develop and evolve until we die.” – Robert Twigger

Become a master of micromastery!

Author, explorer and polymath Robert Twigger describes micromastery as “mastering a small, discrete, learnable chunk of something much bigger and more inchoate” and “motivational nutrition.” It is a way of learning a new subject not by endless practice but by starting small and picking up a useful new skill, and being prepared for life’s surprises by having a broad set of skills and the ability to learn quickly.

Expect surprising stories, unusual insights, and inspiration for whatever you have planned next on your life’s journey!

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Micromastery: The Secret Art of the Polymath

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Embracing Happiness: Why Wellbeing Matters

Event 112 Friday 10 March, 7:30pm-8:30pm Al Baraha 2, InterContinental

''Happiness isn’t superficial, it is our deepest longing.'' - Anthony Seldon

In 2016 the UAE government took the enterprising step of making happiness not only a policy goal, but a department of government, appointing HE Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi as Minister of State for Happiness. But what can institutions actually do to improve happiness? And what impact can it have? Our panel discusses these tricky questions.

Dr Abdulla Karam is Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), an organisation that under his directorship has put happiness at the heart of policy.

Sir Anthony Seldon is a historian, educationalist and the author of Beyond Happiness: The Trap of Happiness and How to Find Deeper Meaning and Joy; while headmaster at Wellington School in the UK he introduced well-being lessons for students.

Language: Arabic, English with simultaneous translation 

Embracing Happiness: Why Wellbeing Matters

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Lifeshifting Journeys

Event 165 Saturday 11 March, 4.30pm-5.30pm Al Ras 3, InterContinental

“Not all those who wander are lost.” – JRR Tolkien

Three authors who have gone on life-changing journeys – climbing mountains, crossing oceans, and exploring deserts and jungles – meet and discuss how their journeys have changed them.

Sarah Outen took on the dangerous and frequently lonely challenge of cycling, rowing and kayaking around the world – a journey of 25,000 miles that took 4.5 years and several painful but educational setbacks.

Mostafa Salameh has climbed the highest mountains on each continent and travelled to the North and South Poles, on a mission to inspire young Muslims to pursue their own dreams.

Robert Twigger, who has been described as 'a 19th Century adventurer trapped in the body of a 21st Century writer', has travelled by canoe along early North American explorer routes, crossed the Great Sand Sea of the Sahara on foot and discovered secrets of Borneo’s jungle.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Lifeshifting Journeys

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