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All Strangers Are Kin: Adventures in Arabic

Event 171 Friday 3 March, 1.30pm-2.30pm Al Baraha 1, InterContinental

Authors: Zora O'Neill
“The shadda is the key difference between a pigeon (hamam) and a bathroom (hammam). Be careful, our professor advised, in the first moment of outright humor in class, that you don’t ask a waiter, ‘Excuse me, where is the pigeon?’ — or, conversely, order a roasted toilet.” – Zora O’Neill

Zora O'Neill studied Arabic for seven years, but never felt comfortable speaking it. In what she came to call her ‘Year of Speaking Arabic Badly’, she travelled the Arabic-speaking world, including the Emirates, trying to master different dialects – which inevitably led to many humorous misadventures! Native and Non-Arabic speakers alike will revel in Zora’s witty storytelling.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

All Strangers Are Kin: Adventures in Arabic

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Culture Shock: Facing the Unknown

Event 174 Friday 3 March, 3pm-4pm Al Ras 1, InterContinental

“I moved from heat to cold, from the Third World to the First… I also moved from a religious Muslim culture to a secular one and that move was the most disturbing of all, the trauma that no amount of time could cure, an eternal culture shock.” – Leila Aboulela

What do you gain and what do you lose when you leave everything that you know behind and embrace life in a new environment? For the authors in today’s panel, this is a constant question, as each has had to redefine themselves in the face of a new culture.

Leila Aboulela grew up in Khartoum but moved to Aberdeen with her husband and children, a relocation that inspired her first novel, The Translator. Her journey has also seen detours to London, Jakarta, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha.

Paul MacAlindin is from Scotland, but his work as a conductor has taken him around the world – most notably to Iraq, a country he knew next to nothing about when he took on the project of helping young musicians found the National Youth Orchestra.

Language: English

Culture Shock: Facing the Unknown

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Make Mine Ms Marvel: Sana Amanat in Conversation

Event 167 Friday 3 March, 4.30pm-5.30pm Al Ras 1, InterContinental

Authors: Sana Amanat
'Sana's a real-life superhero.'' – President Barack Obama

As Marvel’s Director of Content Development, Sana Amanat is charged with developing new characters and content for a diverse audience of comic readers, young and old. And as co-creator of Kamala Khan, the instantly-beloved Muslim superhero Ms Marvel, she has already made a Hulk-sized impact!

This is a chance to learn more about Sana, Kamala, and the latest exciting developments in Marvel’s all new, all-different superhero universe.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Age Group: 12-Adult

Make Mine Ms Marvel: Sana Amanat in Conversation

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The Orwell Lecture: A World Turned Upside Down?

Event 39 Saturday 4 March, 1.30pm-2.30pm Al Ras 3, InterContinental

In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.” – George Orwell

The Orwell Lecture is always one of the Festival’s standout sessions. Each year, a highly regarded speaker delivers a lecture inspired by George Orwell’s writing but also reflecting today’s concerns.

This year’s lecture is delivered by the BBC’s James Naughtie, who has in recent months covered both the tense 2016 US presidential election and the UK’s ongoing constitutional upheaval. Both countries have experienced unprecedented political rancour, including far-right politicians entering the mainstream and challenging fundamental ideas of liberal democracy – freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom to vote. What happens next?

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

The Orwell Lecture: A World Turned Upside Down?

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Wanderlust: Beyond the Comfort Zone

Event 169 Saturday 4 March, 3pm-4pm Al Baraha 2, InterContinental

“The mental liberation we experience while travelling is advantageous not only in exploring unseen lands, but also as a means of exploring ourselves.” – Abdullah Al Jumah

We are fortunate to live in a world where people of many different backgrounds can travel the world – a potent way of undermining stereotypes and inspiring tolerance of other ways of living. Our panel of travel writers discusses their life-changing experiences and discoveries.

Saeed AlBadi is an Emirati former war correspondent who has since turned his hand to preserving UAE heritage. His travel to foreign countries inspired his books Women and Cities (winner of the Emirates Novel Award) and The Cursed City.

Abdullah Al Jumah is a Saudi lecturer in law and legal counsel whose journeys led to the bestselling Tales of a Saudi in Europe and a new book on travel in Latin America; he is also the presenter of Rahalla, the first flashpacking show in Arabic.

Zora O'Neill is an American food and travel writer and aspiring Arabist – her quest to improve her Arabic skills by living in several different Arab countries forms the basis of her book All Strangers are Kin.

Language: Arabic, English with simultaneous translation

Wanderlust: Beyond the Comfort Zone

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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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Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here: Reading & Remembering

Event 205 Sunday 5 March, 8.30pm-9.30pm Al Ras 2, InterContinental

March 5, 2017 marks the tenth anniversary of the bombing of Al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad, in which more than 30 people were killed and more than a hundred wounded. Al-Mutanabbi street is a winding street filled with bookstores and outdoor book stalls located in the historic centre of Baghdad and is named after the famed tenth-century classical Arab Poet Al-Mutanabbi. For hundreds of years the street has been the heart and soul of Baghdad’s literary and intellectual community.

Poet and bookseller Beau Beausoleil brought together a coalition of poets and artists, writers and printers, booksellers and readers, to publish an anthology of 135 pieces of poetry and prose celebrating the values of Al-Mutanabbi Street and help others understand what it means to the Iraqi cultural community. This session is Dubai’s contribution to a global series of readings from the anthology, with readings by Sadjedah Al Mousawi, Ibrahim Bin Hatem, Zeina Hashem Beck, Joan Scott-Minter, Ammar Bin Hatim and Shahad Al Rawi, and will be hosted by M Lynx Qualey, aka @arablit.

The street has reopened, books are once again being displayed and sold, and the gutted Shabander Café has been made new.

Wherever someone sits down and begins to write towards the truth, or someone picks up a book that will change the way they see the world, it is there that Al-Mutanabbi Street starts.

Language: Arabic, English

Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here: Reading & Remembering

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A Time for Tolerance

Event 59 Wednesday 8 March, 10am-11am Al Baraha 3, InterContinental

''The only way you can make the world a better place is by doing the opposite of hating.'' – Omar Saif Ghobash

How do you overcome cultural and religious disputes to build a tolerant, multifaith society? This is an urgent question for the world today — and one a country as diverse as the UAE will always face. Our interfaith panel has gathered to discuss common issues and misconceptions that arise in debates about Islam, Christianity, religious pluralism and secular society.

HE Omar Saif Ghobash is the UAE’s Ambassador to Russia. He is on the advisory body of The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence at King’s College London. His new book Letters to a Young Muslim discusses how moderate Muslims should unite and find a voice that is true to Islam while actively and productively engaging in the modern world.

HE Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi is the UAE’s Minister of State for Tolerance and first woman appointed to the cabinet, who recently delivered an invitation to the Pope to visit the UAE. She was previously Minister of State for International Cooperation.

Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri is the Director General of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai. He is a member of the Executive Council of the Emirate of Dubai and head of the Community Development Committee.

Reverend Andy Thompson is vicar of St Andrews Church in Abu Dhabi, author of Jesus of Arabia (foreword provided by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak) and Christianity in the UAE, which examine both today’s communities and the history of Christianity in the region.

Language: Arabic, English with simultaneous translation

A Time for Tolerance

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Letters to a Young Muslim

Event 199 Wednesday 8 March, 7.30pm-8.30pm Al Ras 3, InterContinental

“I want my sons’ generation of Muslims to realize that they have the right to think and decide what is right and what is wrong.” – Omar Saif Ghobash

HE Omar Saif Ghobash is the UAE’s Ambassador to Russia, the sponsor of the Saif Ghobash-Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary translation, a co-founder of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction and one of the UAE’s most respected speakers on political matters.

He is also a father concerned for his sons’ futures. His book Letters to a Young Muslim is addressed to them but contains advice for all Muslims, as well as anyone who wants to learn more about Islam.

As a manifesto for moderate Islam and against extremism, Letters to a Young Muslim is essential reading and in this session, Ambassador Ghobash will discuss the issues faced by modern Muslims.

Ambassador Ghobash will be in conversation with Sultan Al Qassemi.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Letters to a Young Muslim

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Dreams of a Refugee

Event 76 Thursday 9 March, 7.30pm-8.30pm Al Ras 2, InterContinental

“I wanted to take people outside the Middle East and inspire them to follow their dreams before following their destiny.” – Mostafa Salameh

Mostafa Salameh is the first Jordanian, the first Arab and one of only 13 people in the world ever to climb the Seven Summits and travel to both the North and South Poles – the ‘Explorer’s Grand Slam.’ Inspired by a dream in which he was reciting the call to prayer from the top of Everest, he began adventuring and using his experiences in his motivational talks and his campaigning against radicalisation. In this session he will share his remarkable journey.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Dreams of a Refugee

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I Shall Not Hate: Izzeldin Abuelaish in Conversation

Event 78 Thursday 9 March, 9pm-10pm Al Ras 2, InterContinental

“You have to work for the sake of humanity and not on behalf of a territory.” – Izzeldin Abuelaish

When three of Izzeldin Abuelaish’s daughters were killed in an Israeli attack on Gaza, he made a conscious decision not to hate, but instead to work for peace. The Daughters for Life Foundation was established in memory of Bessan, Mayar and Aya and seeks to provide education to young women in hope that they will in turn be able to change the world.

In this session Dr Abuelaish – who has been called “The Martin Luther King of the Middle East” – will speak about the peacemaking mission that has taken him all over the world trying to change minds.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

I Shall Not Hate: Izzeldin Abuelaish in Conversation

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Migrating Views: Identity and Nationalism in a World on the Move

Event 109 Friday 10 March, 1.30pm-2.30pm Al Ras 1, InterContinental

“Movement, not rootedness, is the abiding condition of human history and identity.” – Kanishk Tharoor

Humanity has been on the move for millennia, so why is migration frequently treated as a disruptive force?

In this session, our panel of global nomads discuss the paradoxes of personal and national identity, how they shape our political life, and how understanding each other’s experiences can build bridges between divided peoples.

Izzeldin Abuelaish is a Palestinian doctor now living in Canada, where he is an outspoken advocate for peace, tolerance and communication, saying “it is not where you are but who you are.”

Afra Atiq is the first Emirati female spoken word artist and slam poet and has a master’s degree in international relations and diplomacy; she has performed at international events and enjoys giving back to the UAE community through workshops and mentorships.

Jamal Mahjoub is a British-Sudanese author whose books frequently explore the relationships between Europe and Africa; he is currently writing a non-fiction book about Sudan’s troubled history.

Kanishk Tharoor is an Indian author based in New York who has written extensively about migration, indigenous rights, cultural destruction and nationalism – and the cultural blindspots that lead nations to ignore historical problems.

Language: Arabic, English with simultaneous translation

Migrating Views: Identity and Nationalism in a World on the Move

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