The festival is set to welcome a host of remarkable women this year
29 January 2019| Last updated on 29 January 2019
Their achievements have paved the way for womankind...
Emirates Airline Festival of Literature (1-9 March 2019) will celebrate women who have stood at the crossroads of history, and changed the world with their fearlessness, ambition and incredible drive to succeed, in fields ranging from politics to science to business.
The programme includes the director of communications for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential campaign, Jennifer Palmieri, using her insights to empower future leaders; Zelda La Grange, a white Afrikaner who grew up supporting apartheid in segregated South Africa but became Nelson Mandela’s private secretary; and Iraqi-born Zainab Salbi, whose life was impacted by her first-hand experience of war.
She went on to found Women for Women International, working with women survivors of war, and has been named as one of 25 Women Changing the World by People Magazine. There is also broadcaster Sue Nelson, on the redoubtable Wally Funk, one of the pioneering women of space travel and part of the Mercury 13 programme, which was abruptly cancelled just one week before the final phase of training.
Pictured: Jennifer Palmieri
Dear Madam President
In her not-to-be-missed session, Palmieri will be talking about her book Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World, which gives empowering advice from Palmieri to the first woman president, and by extension, to all women working to succeed in any field. By using lessons learned during her experiences with Hillary Clinton, President Obama, and Elizabeth Edwards, to name a few, Palmieri creates a forward-thinking framework of inspirational and practical advice for all women everywhere – from boardrooms to living rooms – who are determined to seize control of their lives, their workplaces, and their country.
Palmieri will also be joining La Grange on International Women’s Day, (8 March), in what promises to be a lively discussion on the global movement for gender equality, featuring a panel of outstanding speakers. The panel also includes Dubai Abulhoul Alfalasi, named “Young Arab of the Year” in 2016 for her work in youth advocacy, literature, and journalism, and the youngest member of the 13-member Emirates Youth Council; and Katherine Ormerod, founder of Work Work Work, an anti-perfectionism project which aims to reveal and explore the non-edited challenges that women face behind the fantasy of social media.
Good Morning Mr Mandela
Zelda La Grange would never have guessed, growing up in segregated South Africa, the radical direction her life would take. In this riveting session Good Morning Mr Mandela, La Grange pays tribute to Mandela as she knew him and tells the extraordinary story of how a young woman’s life was utterly transformed by the man she had been taught was the enemy, but grew to respect and came to call ‘Khulu’ or ‘grandfather’.
In addition to being part of the Women’s Day panel, La Grange will be taking to the stage in an event to celebrate this year’s festival theme, ‘United by Words. ’Letters on Letters’ brings together authors in an homage to the words that left a lasting impression on them.
Pictured: Zelda La Grange
Freedom is an Inside Job
Humanitarian, author and TV personality Zainab Salbi foundedWomen for Women International in 1993, which helps female war-survivors recover from their experiences, improve their skills and rebuild their self-confidence and emotional health. In 1995 President Bill Clinton honoured her at the White House for her humanitarian work in Bosnia. In this incisive and striking session, Salbi will be talking about her book, Freedom is an Inside Job – a guide to transforming the world by first addressing our inner conflicts and turning our collective fear and the deep divisions between us into meaningful change.
Salbi will also be giving her insights on our thought-provoking panel, ‘How You Can Change The World’, which seeks to discuss the reality of our situation, what we can do about it as individuals and societies, and why we shouldn’t give up hope just yet.
Wally Funk’s Race for Space
Award-winning science journalist and broadcaster Sue Nelson’s amazing tale of the redoubtable Wally Funk, who as part of the Mercury 13 crew, was one of the pioneering women training for space travel, frequently outperforming male astronaut candidates in tests of endurance. Politics and prejudice meant Wally never flew into space. Undeterred, she went on to become an accomplished pilot and America’s first female aviation safety inspector. Hear about Wally’s remarkable life and her ongoing pursuit of space travel.
Nelson will also be taking part in the ‘Women in History’ Panel, a conversation about the legendary women who shaped the world, from fearsome monarchs, to suffragettes, to aviation pioneers and beyond, with three remarkable speakers.
Pictured: Sue Nelson
Fantastically Great Women
In addition to the fantastic selection of adult sessions about influential women, Kate Pankhurst author of Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World and Fantastically Great Women Who Made History, will take the audience on a journey through time to explore the stories, achievements and adventures of women throughout history. From pirates and warrior queens to computer engineers and aviators, this session will delight children from age seven and up with its cast of world-changing women.
In a similar vein, 12 year-old Dana Alblooshi will mesmerize the audience with her tale of 13 Amazing Women of Arabia. Dana pays tribute in this debut book to 13 inspiring women from fields as diverse as science, government, fashion, business, sports and more. Children will enjoy hearing about some incredible women from the past and the present, from a young woman reaching for the stars herself.
What is the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature?
The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is held in partnership with Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated authority for heritage, arts, and culture. It is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.
For the full list of authors, visit emirateslitfest.com/authors