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Every part of existence is fueled by water. It supports the most important industries in society including the energy sector, agriculture, and transportation. Water resources are under increasing strain as the world’s population rises and the economy grows, resulting in decreased river flows, the loss of lakes and wetlands, and declining ground-wat…
 
This conversation with Adonis, the greatest living poet of the Arab world, focuses on questions regarding the intersection of visual art and poetry in theory and practice. This gathering is timed to coincide with the publication of a new English-language translation of a remarkable series of dialogues between Adonis and Syrian artist Fateh al-Mouda…
 
This talk highlights the vital role of innovation in boosting and enhancing the mechanism of scientific research in the UAE from various areas, including entrepreneurship and start-ups. How can we convert research and development into applied commercial projects with potential profits? This would help all society members contribute toward scientifi…
 
Great physics requires us to think outside the mainstream—to improvise and rely on intuition. This talk explores three principles that shape all theories of the universe—the principle of invariance, the quantum principle, and the principle of emergence—as well as some of physics' greatest mysteries, from what happened before the big bang to how the…
 
As humans, we have evolved and survived because we are curious and critical thinkers. How do these traits shape our lives and science, and lead us to understand the world around us? Epigenetics, a new area of science, is the weaving of our genetics and environment that shape who we are. This talk explores the impact of trauma and war on our bodies …
 
It is conventional wisdom that America and China are running a “superpower marathon” that may last a century. But the sharpest phase of that competition will be a decade-long sprint, and the moment of maximum danger could be just a few years away. America will still need a long-term strategy for competing with China. But first, it needs a near-term…
 
This conversation explores how communities connect with places of suffering, like former prisons that have been turned into museums—specifically Esma, the former clandestine center of Detention, Torture, and Extermination under Argentina’s Junta, and Robben Island, South Africa’s detention center for anti-Apartheid activists, including Nelson Mande…
 
In a famous painting, Paul Gauguin posed three fundamental questions about our place in the Universe: “What are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going?” A physicist interprets these questions as follows: “What are we made of? What happened early in the Universe? What is the future of the Universe?” Particle physicists are seeking scientific …
 
Quantum information theory has given us a new and interesting twist on the old problem of quantum gravity: the Universe as a Computation. As the computation proceeds, reality unfolds. Information theory allows us to study the behavior of a system without committing to a particular story about it, for example, the story of spacetime. We can go beyon…
 
Why do many consider al-Mutannabi the first Arab poet? Why is his poetry still pulsing with life, modernity, uniqueness, and Arabness as if it was written in the recent past? This conversation discusses Dr. Ali bin Tamim's personal experience with al-Mutannabi and the reasons behind his interest of al-Mutannabi's poetry. This special talk includes …
 
A roller coaster through cosmic time, this talk truncates the 13.7 billion years of life of our Universe into 60 minutes. Starting from a very hot cosmic soup, the Universe evolved from tiny initial perturbations to the large variety of structures we can observe today. The talk also explores the biggest mystery in modern physics: the dark side of t…
 
Rates of depression, anxiety, and self-harm are far higher for those in Gen Z (born after 1996) than any previous generation, including the Millennials. Employers report that Gen Z employees are often more fragile and lacking in life-skills. This talk explores three terrible ideas, interacting with new technology, that have weakened Gen Z, and disc…
 
This talk discusses the role of place in diasporic literature and the universality of women's voices. Who can speak for whom? What role do distance and diasporic privilege play? Does nostalgia take on dangerous potential, and does it really matter if writing is about the confluence of one's imagination and memory?SpeakersSaba Khan, Author, "Skyfall…
 
With the return of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan, many may remember the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in 2001. Since then, Afghans in the culture sector have established many cultural heritage development initiatives, which highlight the country’s diverse regional identities. Although heritage might not seem to be the highest priority du…
 
Paper, perhaps the most common manufactured item in everyday use, was invented in China over 2,000 years ago. One thousand years later, Muslims learned of it after they conquered Central Asia in the early eighth century. They quickly carried it and the techniques of manufacturing it across Eurasia and Northern Africa to the shores of the Atlantic. …
 
The five days between November 28 and December 2, 1971 saw Abu Dhabi mark the fifth anniversary of Sheikh Zayed as Ruler, an invasion by Iran, and a never-to-be-forgotten appearance by the Star of the East herself—Umm Kulthum. This talk reflects on this period of celebration, turmoil, and anticipation.SpeakerJames Langton, Journalist, Writer & Edit…
 
This talk explores the collaborative research efforts to produce “Building Sharjah,” the first book--not only in the UAE but in the region--to document the history of a Gulf city. The panelists share the driving force behind the book and describe the journey of documenting the rise of the city through stories from its citizens, residents, and immig…
 
Western paradigms of history about East and West, North and South, have enjoyed a privileged position in the global marketplace of ideas. However, the long-term rise of China and India, together with cultural discourses of regionalism in West Asia, Africa, and elsewhere, is fundamentally altering this situation. Non-Western countries are increasing…
 
As population and pollution increase, humans are looking at high frontiers. Potential benefits of extraterrestrial mining are immense. For example, NASA has identified an asteroid, 16 Psyche, to be worth more than 10,000 quadrillion dollars, while the economy of our planet is about 80 trillion dollars. But there are also challenges, including: mini…
 
To develop fundamentally new laws of nature, theoretical physicists often rely on arguments from beauty. Simplicity and naturalness in particular have been strongly influential guides in the foundations of physics ever since the development of the standard model of particle physics. This talk demonstrates that arguments from beauty have led the fie…
 
Sujatha Gidla, the author of Ants Among Elephants:An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India, in conversation with Toral Gajarawala, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at NYU, about caste, class and race, and their relationship to rights, violence and writing. SpeakersSujatha Gidla, Author, "Ants Among Elephants: An…
 
Lawrence Abu Hamdan presents "Natq," a live audiovisual essay on the politics and possibilities of reincarnation. Through listening closely to “xenoglossy” (the impossible speech of reincarnated subjects), this performance explores a collectivity of lives who use reincarnation to negotiate their condition at the threshold of the law—people for whom…
 
By the start of 2018, 25 million refugees fled across international borders to seek protection. Over half of these refugees are under the age of 18. Little rigorous evidence exists on strategies to promote refugee children’s academic learning and socio-emotional development. What role can universities play in helping to close this critical gap in e…
 
Recent earthquakes, ranging from Brexit and the election of Donald Trump to the pandemic, have terminated the role that the United States and its Western allies assumed after 1945 as political teachers and role models to the rest of the world. This talk discusses the likely consequences of this epochal transformation.SpeakersPankaj Mishra, Literary…
 
How do architectural design and users’ practices inform the creation of social space? In which spaces and through which modalities do people come together and “make” space in a city as diverse as Abu Dhabi? How are these processes approached by various disciplines—from architecture and urban design to the social sciences and the arts? This talk bri…
 
The making of citizens in and through music is a 19th-century commonplace. But the ground of this longstanding musicological discussion has shifted with globalization, mobility, and the parlous condition of nation and state today. What does it now mean to label a musician an “ideal citizen”? This talk looks at the question of musical “multi-citizen…
 
The Thousand and One Nights has been fueling the imagination and craft of storytellers since the 18th century. This conversation between two winners of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award traces the returns and afterlives of the Nights until today, and discusses why these tales continue to inspire and affect the stories of writers from all over the globe.S…
 
Even before its shores claimed an ounce of steel, Dubai was a modern city whose residents plied sea and desert routes to sustain it. This talk charts how some of these global links generated the city we know today.SpeakerTodd Reisz, Author, "Showpiece City: How Architecture Made Dubai" (Stanford, 2020)…
 
The UAE has built an instrumental ecosystem of research around the local, governmental, and independent academic institutions, research and technology industrial organizations, and scientific innovation parks, among others. This talk discusses current efforts to improve research and development infrastructure, expand its capacity, and influence imp…
 
Women and women's sport are playing a growing role in promoting equality and cooperation across business and society in the Middle East. From the grassroots level to professional ranks, sport is being used to break down barriers, unite people, and contribute to a tolerant and diverse society. Why does sport--and the rising prominence of women's spo…
 
The Sun generates huge magnetic storms with some regularity and streams billions of tons of charged particles. These storms are supposed to reach their peak activity in 2025. With it comes the likelihood of large impact on the Earth, with potential damage to our communications systems and power grids, causing enormous strife and financial loss. We …
 
With all eyes on the Middle East, global leaders have recognized that science diplomacy is an extremely important mechanism for working toward stability in the region. This talk introduces the Malta Conferences Foundation’s “Frontiers of Science: Innovation, Research, and Education in the Middle East” series which brings together representatives fr…
 
Grace Aneiza Ali’s recently-published Liminal Spaces: Migration and Women of the Guyanese Diaspora (OpenBook Publishers) is an intimate exploration into the art and migration narratives of 15 women of Guyanese heritage. In this talk, Ali expands on the book’s four-part journey tracing the migration path of Guyanese women from their moment of depart…
 
At a moment when we are confronted by the changing nature and conditions of borders and borderlands, can the performing arts serve as a catalyst for (re)imagining current border logics, shaped not only by long-standing territorial and political disputes but also by the effects of globalization? This panel engages with the meaning of borders not onl…
 
According to surveys conducted by Gallup, 750 million people would migrate to another country if they could. This talk explores how migration on this scale is impossible under existing laws and international agreements. Discussions about new political arrangements that could accommodate this many migrants typically presume that they will support (i…
 
November 8, 2020In 2019 it was estimated that more than 20 billion internet-of-things (IoT) devices were active around the world. This includes all computational devices capable of holding and processing personal data, such as smartphones, fitness trackers, smart bulbs, cleaning robots, etc. The wealth of data collected and processed by IoT devices…
 
November 22, 2020It could be argued that mathematics was born with the purpose of making sense of nature's patterns. The mathematics of simple and regular shapes was developed first, and with great success, so much so that predictable regularity and mathematics have become somewhat synonymous in common speech. But, unbeknownst to most of the genera…
 
November 10, 2020Globalization has been the most progressive force in the history of humanity, bringing more progress, more quickly, to more people than anything preceding it. And yet, globalization appears more unpopular than ever as it leads to more risks. COVID-19 will not kill globalization; on the contrary it will accelerate its growth and tra…
 
November 16, 2020Part of "Art and Power in the Middle East: Past and Present"In Syria media creators have manipulated a limited, ambiguous autonomy to produce a thriving transnational television drama industry—one that has survived by responding to, and often challenging, the very conditions that have generated and sustained it. This talk explores …
 
November 18, 2020Monuments commemorate moments or figures of public victory or sorrow. Some protect significant lands or mark noteworthy geographic features. Most have historically tended to foreground the human species and to avoid sticky subjects and non-dominant histories, including the histories of other species.This panel explores multispecies…
 
December 7, 2020In this talk, Enass Khansa examines both the meaning and application of justice in The Thousand and One Nights (Alf Laylah wa-Laylah). She shows that the opening story, or frame tale, as well as the two immediately following stories, "The Merchant and the Genie" and "The Fisherman and the ‘Ifrīt," engage in a cohesive debate about t…
 
October 6, 2020Freshwater is vital for human and environmental health, industrial activities and food production, the production and use of energy, and much more. As human populations and economies grow, pressure on limited water resources are also growing, leading to a variety of challenging problems, including water scarcity and pollution, water-…
 
September 22, 2020Muslims have been familiar with infectious disease since the time of the Prophet in the seventh century. This talk reviews the diversity of Muslim views on contagion and plague within the context of Islamic law, Sufism, and medicine. What did Muslim scholars say about how one should respond to the challenge of a pandemic, how did …
 
September 29, 2020Lebanese artist Tania El Khoury is known for her genre-bending interactive live artworks performed in unique spaces and concerned with the ethical and political potential of such encounters. El Khoury discusses her latest micro-theater work, As Far as Isolation Goes (Online), which explores the mental health of asylum seekers thro…
 
October 4, 2020Award-winning author and journalist Charles Siebert discusses his many experiences visiting with, and writing about, non-human animals, and what they reveal to us about themselves and us. Through his interludes with everyone from a former cellist in an all-chimpanzee circus orchestra; to an octopus escape artist; to elephant and whal…
 
October 20, 2020Donald Trump was elected in 2016 riding a wave of global populism. His first term has marked a turn toward isolationism, nationalism, and attacks on domestic and international institutions. How will the COVID-19 epidemic and racial protests in the US affect the outcome of the upcoming US election, and what implications will this hav…
 
September 27, 2020Nearly half of Muslim Americans never attend the mosque and have very few Muslim friends. How and why does “unmosquing” happen and to whom? Eman Abdelhadi traces second-generation immigrants’ engagement with Muslim communities using life history interviews and presents four trajectories that emerge from these data. Abdelhadi finds…
 
2019.10.30Our oceans are becoming increasingly acidic as a result of rising atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide. Simultaneously, more than 90 percent of the warming caused by human carbon emissions is absorbed by the world’s oceans. As they warm up, oceans lose oxygen, essential for marine life. Together, these effects amplify one another …
 
2019.10.22Shadow play, known as khayāl al-ẓill, karagöz, or li‘b, is a performing art with a long and rich history in the Arab world. Like Aladdin’s magic lamp that transforms the real world into a fantasy land, the shadow master’s lantern projects fairytales and spectacles with intricate, cartoonish figures onto a screen for enchanted audiences to…
 
2019.11.03Our national discourse has become increasingly toxic, irrational, self-absorbed; our leaders and our citizens suffer from an allergy to nuance and complexity. In his new book, Standing for Reason: The University in a Dogmatic Age, John Sexton, NYU president from 2002 to 2015, argues that universities must make the fight against this "secu…
 
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