Posted on February 17, 2019

The relaunched and expanded Doha Debates, a Qatar Foundation (QF) production, has announced a diverse and exciting lineup of speakers for its first live event – a debate on the world’s urgent and worsening refugee crisis – on February 26.

The debut of the Doha Debates series will examine how best to solve the global refugee crisis, which has led to more than 25 million people being forcibly displaced across borders. The program, to be hosted at QF partner university Northwestern University in Qatar, will be livestreamed on Twitter and distributed through other digital outlets after the show. The majority of the debate’s in-person attendees will be students from universities at QF’s Education City, with the audience – including those participating digitally – playing an active role in shaping the debate and solutions.

Building on the tradition established by Doha Debates since its original launch 14 years ago, the initiative’s new concept features live debates, digital videos, a TV series, blogs and podcasts on the world’s most pressing challenges. This innovative approach includes majlis-style discussions that are designed to bridge differences, build consensus and identify solutions to global issues. Amjad Atallah, Managing Director of Doha Debates, emphasized the urgent need to address the global refugee crisis and explained the goals of the debate’s participants, saying: “With more refugees than ever worldwide, we need answers on how best to deal with this crisis.

“As this live program will show, in a world of increasingly vitriolic arguments, Doha Debates will stand out as a global platform for solution-focused dialogue. This edition of Doha Debates brings together an extraordinary combination of perspectives – refugee, nationalist, internationalist – with a shared goal: agreeing on ways to end this refugee emergency.”

Participating in the debate will be Muzoon Almellehan, a Syrian refugee, education activist and the youngest-ever UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador; Marc Lamont Hill, a US professor of Media, Cities and Solutions at Temple University, and an activist and award-winning journalist; Douglas Murray, a British author, award-winning journalist and political commentator; and SanamNaraghi-Anderlini, who will be the debate’s bridge-building ‘connector’ and is the founder and executive director of International Civil Society Action Network – which works to prevent violent extremism by promoting peace, rights and pluralism worldwide – as well as being an adjunct professor at Georgetown University in the US.

International journalist Ghida Fakhry will moderate the first season's debates, and Nelufar Hedayat – an Afghan refugee, international journalist and documentary-maker – will be the digital host for the debate’s livestreams.

The new Doha Debates will reach and engage people around the world through a variety of distribution platforms. Doha Debates’ strategic partners include TED, Fortify Rights, Storytegic and Shared_Studios, with its creative contributors including 2017 Oscar nominee Daphne Matziaraki and 2003 Sundance Best Documentary Director and Audience Award winner Jonathan Karsh, whose company is developing a TV program around the core principles of Doha Debates.

To register to attend the debate, please visit www.dohadebates.com/refugees. The exclusive livestream can be watched on Twitter @DohaDebates at 6pm GMT on February 26, and you can join the conversation by using the hashtag #DearWorld

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