I was fortunate to be a guest of Sharjah Book Authority during the 2019 Sharjah International Book Fair in the UAE. This was my first time participating in the fair which welcomed over 2 million visitors from the Gulf region and over 60 countries. I took part in a discussion panel debating bilingualism and what the future of diverse bilingual education and communities hold. I also launched the Arabic version of my book, The Bilingual Revolution, thanks to a partnership with Austin Macauley Publishers. Overall, this has been a unique experience which I will never forget.
Here are a few pictures from the panel discussion on bilingualism. Thanks to the help of great interpreters, I was able to have a fruitful dialogue with the panelists and the audience. Our exchange of perspectives on bilingual education confirmed that there is great interest for multilingualism in the Gulf, and that the dual-language approach that I discuss in my book can become useful to education leaders in the region, particularly as they reflect on the place of Arabic both at home and abroad. Thank you Mona Raisi and Mansour Alshamsi for this discussion.
Two news articles were published after this talk, one in Gulf Today and one in Daily Pakistan
Eliminate discrimination and encourage linguistic diversity
Experts discuss bilingualism, perils of language hierarchy at SIBF 2019 https://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/05-Nov-2019/sibf-2019-experts-call-for-multilingualism-to-foster-learning
I also launched my book, الثورة ثنائية اللغة, The Bilingual Revolution, in Arabic, gave a talk, and signed a few copies while supporting my publisher, Austin Macauley, and its wonderful team led by Jade Robertson. It was also an opportunity to reconnect with the Sharjah Book Authority team, including Qurratulain Fatima Yahya, Mohamed Noor Hersi, Faisal Al Naboodah, Seth Russo, and Ahmed Al Ameri, Chairman of Sharjah Book Authority. I was also invited to a reception at the U.S Consul General’s in Dubai, Consul Philip Frayne, where I was able to meet other authors and publishers, and reconnect with my good friend Natasha Ridge, Executive Director of the Al Qasimi Foundation, with whom I have been collaborating on a soon-to-be published book on philanthropy and education.
I gave my last talk in French at the Alliance Francaise of Dubai and had a great exchange with international school leaders and teachers as well as representatives from various cooperation agencies, including Sébastien Lafragette who is helping the UAE Ministry of Education develop its French language offering in schools. Thank you to Mélanie Martini-Mareel and Ossama El Shamma for organizing this event.