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Literary Conversations across Borders: 'How will the events of 2020 change the course of history?'
The first month of 2020 roared in with the threat of imminent war in the Arabian Gulf, instability in many democracies, Australian bushfires and severe flooding in Indonesia. But it was the Covid 19 pandemic that was to pull us all off course. Has the virus pushed a reset button – could we see a more tolerant world when all this is over, or will it be more fearful, bound on making the same mistakes?

Join writer and Indian politician Shashi Tharoor and His Excellency Zaki Nusseibeh Minister of State: Office of Cultural Diplomacy for live Q&A as they debate how the events of 2020 will change the course of history, for better or worse.

May 30, 2020 05:30 PM in Dubai

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His Excellency Zaki Nusseibeh
Minister of State: Office of Cultural Diplomacy
Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh has been active in government service since 1968, in many key positions including interpreter and advisor to the Presidents of the United Arab Emirates. He is currently a Minister of State in the UAE Government and has also served as Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation at the Foreign Ministry and Cultural Advisor at the UAE Presidential Court. He helped establish the Sorbonne University of Abu Dhabi and has served on its Administrative Council since 2006, and as Chairman of the Board of Trustees since 2018. He has held key positions in the Sheikh Zayed Award, International Prize for Arabic Fiction, Abu Dhabi Classics and Al Ain Music Festival. His many awards include the Abu Dhabi Award, Cultural Diplomat of the Year, the European Academy of Science and Arts Ring of Tolerance, the Golden Medal of Arts from the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC, and the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature Personality of the Year Award.
Dr Shashi Tharoor
Author and Politician
An author, Indian politician, and former international civil servant, Dr Shashi Tharoor straddles several worlds of experience. Currently a third-term Member of Parliament for Thiruvananthapuram, he is the bestselling author of twenty books, both fiction and non-fiction, besides being a former Under Secretary-General of the United Nations and a former Minister of State for Human Resource Development and for External Affairs in the Government of India. He has won numerous awards, including the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Crossword Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2019, Dr. Tharoor was also awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in the category of ‘English Non-Fiction’ for his book An Era of Darkness. He chairs Parliament’s Standing Committee on Information Technology.
Julia Wheeler
Journalist, Author and Interviewer
Julia Wheeler is an experienced journalist and interviewer who worked for the BBC for more than 15 years, including as the BBC’s Gulf Correspondent, based in the UAE between 2000 and 2010.  She continues to work as a freelance journalist, for broadcast and print, in London. Julia has moderated large-scale conferences and chaired inter-governmental forums. She is chair and interviewer at several festivals including Cheltenham (Literature and Science), Stanford’s Travel Writers Festival at London’s Olympia and the Stratford Literary Festival. She has chaired events at The British Library and onboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2. Julia wrote the award-winning book Telling Tales: An Oral History of Dubai, capturing stories of court intrigue, pearl diving and gold smuggling, plus the early days of education and banking.  She is an alumna of the Faber Academy and writes fiction. Julia read Economic and Social History before postgraduate study in Broadcast Journalism at City University, London.