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Game, Set and Dubai: A Quarter Century of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

Event 11 Friday 3 March, 11:30am-12:30pm Al Ras 2, InterContinental

Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is today considered the Middle East’s own Grand Slam, but 25 years ago it was still just an idea.

The panel revisits the history of this event and discusses new book Game, Set and Dubai, an extensively researched history of the Championship that has become a key international sporting event and an integral part of Brand Dubai.

Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman & CEO of Dubai Duty Free founded DDF in 1983 He has also developed a powerful corporate social responsibility arm of DDF, with recent donations including 3 million AED towards the 2016 Reading Nation campaign, which provided books to children in refugee camps and under-privileged schools.

Salah Tahlak is Executive Vice President of Corporate Services at DDF and tournament director of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. He is the first Arab to be a member of both male and female Tennis Tournament councils, giving him an important role in the governance and future of tennis globally.

The panel is moderated by respected sports commentator David Mercer.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Game, Set and Dubai: A Quarter Century of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

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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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Tales of a Saudi in Latin America

Event 170 Saturday 4 March, 11.30am-12.30pm Al Baraha 2, InterContinental

Social media phenomenon and author of Tales of a Saudi in Europe, Abdullah Al Jumah, returns to the Festival to talk about his travels in Latin American countries – travels that went beyond visiting cities and sites to learning about the beliefs and cultures of many different peoples. His new book, Khawaja Sharqi, will be published later in 2017.

Jumah’s thousands of social media followers accompanied him on his journeys, staying updated via YouTube and Snapchat. Included on the Arabian Business list of most powerful Arabs under 40, Jumah is shaping his fans’ views of the world in positive ways.

Language: Arabic, with simultaneous English translation

Tales of a Saudi in Latin America

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Journey to Modern India (with a Crime-fighting Elephant!)

Event 177 Saturday 4 March, 11.30am-12.30pm Al Ras 1, InterContinental

Authors: Vaseem Khan
“I could not have written this novel without those ten years of incredible experiences.” – Vaseem Khan

When Vaseem Khan arrived in Mumbai to work as a management consultant, he was startled to see an elephant lumbering down the middle of the road – a sight that planted the seed for his acclaimed crime series featuring Inspector Chopra and Ganesha the baby elephant.

In this captivating talk he explains how he came to be in India, how modern Mumbai came to the place it occupies in modern India, and his own journey from first elephant sighting to eventual publication.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Journey to Modern India (with a Crime-fighting Elephant!)

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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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UAE Travellers: Around the World by Car

Event 185 Monday 6 March, 9pm-10pm Al Ras 1, InterContinental

Awad Mohammad Bin Sheik Mojrin Bin Sultan established the UAE Travellers in 1996. That year they also launched ‘UAE Travellers: Traveling the World by Car’, a years-long road trip that would take them to 65 countries.

Awad and his navigator Ahmed Farooq Alawar will talk to us today about their adventures and the dangers they faced during their trip, as well as how this project helped to introduce the Emirati culture to the people they met on their journeys. All the trips were documented through videos and photos.

Awad Mohammad Bin Sheik Mojrin Bin Sultan, Head of the UAE Travelers team, launched the Dubai Travellers’ Festival, which is considered the first of its kind in the Middle East. He launched and organised a number of programmes for UAE Travellers, such as Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro by Camel and the RMDHA challenge. He was awarded a Creativity and Excellence award in Milan, Italy.

Ahmed Farooq Alawar, a businessman, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Automotive Engineering from the USA. He participated in the UAE Travelers: Travelling the world by car as a navigator.

Language: Arabic, with simultaneous English translation

UAE Travellers: Around the World by Car

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The Eagle Huntress: Film screening with Talk by Abi Elphinstone

Event 217 Wednesday 8 March, 7pm-9pm Novo Cinemas Screen 5

“This is a movie that expands your sense of what is possible.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times review of The Eagle Huntress

Thirteen-year-old Kazakh girl Aisholpan Nurgaiv has an unusual ability – she is an eagle huntress, hunting foxes with her golden eagle. This documentary about the first woman in twelve generations of her family to take up hunting (and win the competition at the annual Golden Eagle Festival) swept awards and nominations at film festivals across the world. Director Otto Bell uses drone-mounted cameras to capture extraordinary footage of the eagles and the Mongolian landscape, and narration is provided by Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), but the heart of the film is Aisholpan and her relationship with her supportive father, who helps her learn to train eagles and raise her own eaglet.

The film screening is opened by a talk by Abi Elphinstone, author of The Dream Snatcher, who in 2015 spent time with Aisholpan and her family as part of research for a forthcoming book. Abi will share stories and pictures from her Mongolian adventure along with her insights into the extraordinary culture of the Kazakh Eagle Hunters.

Film language: Kazakh with English subtitles and narration.

Talk language: English

Age: 9+ (parental guidance – hunting scenes)

The Eagle Huntress: Film screening with Talk by Abi Elphinstone

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Spices on the Silk Roads: A Supper Club Discussion

Event 145 Wednesday 8 March, 7pm-9pm Al Baraha 2, InterContinental

If you want to experience first-hand the workings of cultural exchange, then look no further than your plate! Join us for a lively discussion about food and how it shaped the world, accompanied by a three course meal.

Sabrina Ghayour’s Sirocco – the inspiration for the evening’s recipes – was named for the wind that blows from East to West, a title that symbolises her approach to cooking and the historic spice trade that was an integral part of the global economy for generations and which shaped global cuisines.

Ghayour is joined by Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads and a historian of the globalisation that occurred along ancient trade routes.

Dress code: smart/casual.

Language: English

Spices on the Silk Roads: A Supper Club Discussion

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Mountain Movers and Record Breakers: Inspirational Adventurers

Event 70 Thursday 9 March, 10am-11am Al Baraha 2, InterContinental

“I run to secure the future of my children in Dhaka.” – Maria Conceicao

Sometimes your actions really can change the world. These three speakers have pushed themselves to the limit to make a difference to people; in this session they meet to share inspirational stories from their adventures.

Jalal Jamal Bin Thaneya has spent the last 10 years trekking, cycling and climbing through a variety of challenges to raise funds for UAE charities, including walking across the Empty Quarter and running across all seven Emirates.

Maria Conceicao is the founder of the Maria Cristina Foundation. Her award-winning fundraising excursions have taken her up mountains and on polar expeditions to raise money for women’s and girls’ education in Bangladesh.

Julie Lewis is the Founder of Mountain High and author of Moving Mountains. She is passionate about creating and offering opportunities for people to explore and unlock their highest potential. Julie has lead multi-national teams of women and men on more than 58 expeditions to 20 countries to include the Arctic and Antarctica.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Mountain Movers and Record Breakers: Inspirational Adventurers

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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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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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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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Ancient Journeys: The Road Goes Ever On

Event 136 Friday 10 March, 6pm-7pm Al Ras 3, InterContinental

“Neuroscientists now tell us our brain can reach an alpha state when we walk; we are, after all, hard-wired to be nomads.” – Bettany Hughes

Prepare for a guided tour of the ancient world! Our panel will take you on a journey down three of the ancient routes along which history has been made over and over.

Peter Frankopan is the author of The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, and will reintroduce these vital arteries of global trade.

Michael Freeman has photographed the world, and one of his greatest journeys was along the 3,000km Tea Horse Road in China, which was active as a trade route for tea and horses from the 7th century to the 20th.

Bettany Hughes recently presented the documentary Ancient Ways, about the Via Egnatia – once a vital trade route from Rome to Byzantium, now both a “ribbon of archaeological activity” and a key land route for refugees fleeing to Europe.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Ancient Journeys: The Road Goes Ever On

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Capturing the Journey: Sketches, Photos, Writing

Event 131 Saturday 11 March, 1.30pm-2.30pm Al Baraha 2, InterContinental

'I do a lot of research when I'm travelling – I find it thrilling to discover the particular 'art' of different landscapes and work them into a book…I just want to look and draw.'' – Michael Foreman

Preserving an experience or a moment in time is at the heart of all kinds of art. Every artist has their own approach, so on this panel we have united writer Ibrahim Farghali, illustrator Michael Foreman and photographer Michael Freeman to talk about how each of them captures their journey.

Ibrahim Farghali is best known for his fiction, but he is also the author of two travel books, including an account of his travels in Africa, Asia and Europe.

Michael Foreman is an author and illustrator with 250 books to his name. Travels with my Sketchbook is a collection of his sketches and anecdotes from around the world.

Michael Freeman is a photographer with a special interest in Asian culture, architecture and archaeology; his books include Tea Horse Road, which collects his stunning photos from travels on this ancient trade route.

Language: Arabic, English with simultaneous translation

Capturing the Journey: Sketches, Photos, Writing

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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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