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Emirates LitFest Daily Highlights - Day 4, Part 2
Emirates LitFest Daily Highlights - Day 4, Part 2

Today: 04 February – Here’s what you missed… 

Former Executive Director of Human Resources at Saudi Aramco, a company she worked at for 37 years, Huda Al-Ghoson discussed her latest memoir, Unbound, in which she describes her trailblazing climb up the rungs of the career ladder, overcoming discrimination in the workplace, and promoting equality in all aspects of her life, despite facing considerable pushback from a male-dominated environment and society.

“‘Women’s empowerment’ became a central theme in the social and the economic reform in the country. So the restrictions on their mobility was removed, access to education and to the job market was opened up and they were treated as equal partners in terms of taking roles in politics, business, and the public and private sector. And these changes have fueled the emergence of a new generation of women who are powerful, self-confident, educated, and gifted,” said Al-Ghoson about the recent changes in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recently, in accordance with Vision 2030. 

She continued: “I see today how women play an active role in the economic and social development of the country and also in advancing the country’s agenda in the global and local market and raising its competitiveness in the region and also internationally. Today if you look at women’s participation in the job market, it’s 36%. Just four years ago, it was 20%. That’s huge progress. That’s a remarkable change. In five to six years, we’ll see 50% participation and we’ll see a real equality in terms of opportunities in all sectors in the economy.”


It’s the year of sustainability and UAE will host COP28 in November at Expo City so it was the perfect opportunity to host a discussion with celebrity chef Bobby Chinn and UAE Minister of Climate Change HE Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, about the vital issues of food safety and security. 

Speaking on the subject, HE Mariam Al Mheiri said “When you look at climate change a lot of people think of the energy sector, oil and gas, but do you know that food systems contribute to one third of the global greenhouse gas emissions? That’s huge and this is why we’re going to do so much more to showcase food systems transformation so transforming into more efficient, more effective, more sustainable food systems at Cop 28. This is going to be one of the main pillars alongside the energy conversations that is happening, and this is the relationship we have with food here. The whole thing is food is not just about how we grow food, it also comes down to all of us. How we consume food.”

Speaking from the perspective of someone in the food hospitality industry, Bobby said “To me as a chef, I want to give you nutrition, I want to feed you, I want to share with you food because that’s the one thing we have in common. And I can make food taste really good if I added a ton of butter and I could just be rounding all those flavours up, but I consider that cheating.”  

He continued, “I believe that we can make food and find deliciousness in it if we grow it for flavour or nutrition over some commodified product that we’ve perfectly boxed that can be travelled all over the world in a second. We can eat sushi anywhere in the world, we can eat hamburgers all over the world now, but finding difficult these days to find really great local cuisine in the place where its origin is from.”

Director and co-founder of Jamil Abu-Wardeh used analogies to demystify the complex world of NFTs and cryptocurrencies, addressing reservations people may have and encouraging them to partake in this new phenomenon to get ahead of the curve. 

“The only reason this is worth money is because a bunch of people agree that it does,” said Abu-Wardeh. 

Best-selling author Bonnie Garmus touched on the journey to publication for her award-winning debut novel Lessons In Chemistry, and touched on the inspirations for the tale within it, including the sexism she has faced in the workplace herself, her experience growing up with a mother who sacrificed her own dreams to become a 1960s housewife, and the canine inspiration for one of the book’s most memorable characters. The session also featured a guest appearance by Ted from Reading Dogs UAE. 

“This book is not anti-men, it’s anti-sexism,” said Garmus about trying to present positive examples of men in the 1960s, before touching on what it was like to be a woman in the era. “That was one of the most oppressed generations of women in the world.” 

“I knew I wanted [the book] to be related to science,” said Garmus of why the book focuses on chemistry and cooking. And to put a woman on television back there, she had to be attractive.  


Chairperson and Managing Director of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group (ESAG), Dr. Raja Al Gurg shared the values she feels have contributed to her success, and are crucial to being a good leader, as discussed in her second book The Power of Authenticity: Three Principles of Leadership Success. 

“A leader should really pave the way for his team,” said Dr. Al Gurg. “Leadership needs a team, and the team should know how to work with this leader. If this leader is dictating all his terms and everybody has to hear that and implement that, then he didn’t open the scope for innovation, for the mind to really think outside the box and come back with new ideas. I need people who are around me to come to me with new ideas, new skills, and new visions for the future.”

Posted by : Editorial Team
Viewed 3259 times
PR Category : Events & Exhibitions
Posted on : Monday, February 6, 2023  9:54:00 AM UAE local time (GMT+4)
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