H.E. Noura Al Kaabi and H.E. Omar Saif Ghobash discuss their literary influences

As the first series of Literary Conversations Across Borders series comes to a close

H.E. Noura Al Kaabi and H.E. Omar Saif Ghobash discuss their literary influences
  • Conversation in English with simultaneous translation in Arabic
  • Project has engaged with more than 8000 people in 63 countries 

United Arab Emirates: H.E. Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, H.E. Omar Saif Ghobash, Assistant Minister, Office of Public and Cultural Diplomacy and Isobel Abulhoul CEO & Trustee, Emirates Literature Foundation will be looking at the literary influences that have had an impact on their lives in The Power of Books - How does reading great literature shape us?  The free to watch, live webinar will take place on Saturday 25 July, at 19:30 GST. The conversation will be in English, and for the first time ever in a Zoom webinar in the UAE, available with simultaneous translation in Arabic.

The session is the final event in the first Literary Conversations Across Borders series. The initiative was launched by the UAE Office of Public and Cultural Diplomacy and the Emirates Literature Foundation to promote international cultural understanding through the power of books and words. It uses a digital platform to host Emirati writers and commentators in live discussions with high profile experts from around the world. The successful programme, which was originally designed to be a travelling project, but was adapted to be delivered online following the pandemic, has engaged with more than 8000 people in 63 countries to date.

“The reach of this project has been impressive, with a far greater impact than we had originally anticipated”, said His Excellency Zaki Nusseibeh, Minister of State charged with MoFAIC’s Office of Public and Cultural Diplomacy. “Discussions have ranged from  the pandemic’s  effect on our  future, in terms of world politics, sustainability and food security, to lively discussions on religion versus science and the  changing face of journalism. We have fast forwarded to the future, examining  the implications of the Hope Probe Mission to Mars, looked back at our country’s beginnings in Neolithic times, and experienced an outstanding poetry event bringing together the brightest and best performance poets from the UAE, UK and USA. This project has provided an exceptional platform to share  important discussions featuring notable Emiratis with a live audience from all over the world.”

“It is very satisfying  to end the series with an examination of the source of all intelligent debate – books,” said Isobel Abulhoul. “Reading literature allows us to see the world through the eyes of others, to understand alternative points of view. Great literature has the power to transcend borders, taking us on a journey, making us walk in another’s shoes. It enables us to feel the emotions and experience the life of someone who is of another age, class, or race. It nourishes our brains, influences our thinking and can leave an impression that may last a lifetime. Reading is essential to making sense of the myriad issues that confront us daily, on a global scale  or a more personal level. The Literary Conversations Across Borders series has enabled us to do that by hosting robust debates on many of the burning issues of the day.” 

The first seven sessions in the series are available to watch on the Emirates Literature Foundation YouTube channel. For more details and to register to watch the final session live, see www.elfdubai.org/en/literary-conversations-across-borders

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