A letter from Doha Debates’ managing director Amjad Atallah

It’s Time to Rethink Globalization

Amjad Atallah
July 16, 2019
Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Qatar Foundation’s vice chairperson and CEO; Amjad Atallah, Doha Debates’ managing director; Ghida Fakhry, Doha Debates’ moderator

On July 24, 2019, we will be having our third Doha Debates live event on globalization in Edinburgh, Scotland, at TEDSummit. Our title for the debate is “Our Future or Our Failure?” Of course, the truth is that it is a bit of both. The world has always been “globalized” to some degree in that trade, culture, knowledge, and people have always been interconnected, but it is fair to say that interaction has never become so much a part of so many people’s lives as it is today. And yet, like the promise of the internet, there has been significant collateral damage, with a few benefiting disproportionately from the gains of globalization. The way we discuss globalization has become an insider’s conversation, as countries with strong economic weight discuss the future of the entire world.

“The way we discuss globalization has become an insider’s conversation, as countries with strong economic weight discuss the future of the entire world.

Carrying the ambitious task of confronting these complex issues head-on, our featured debaters are Medea Benjamin, the American co-founder of the human rights group Global Exchange and social justice initiative Codepink; Parag Khanna, an Indian American author, journalist, and founder of data-driven strategic firm FutureMap; and Sisonke Msimang, a South African author and journalist focused on gender, race, and democracy. They are not trying to “win” a theoretical or intellectual argument, however. They are all actively involved in this issue in real-time, practical ways and will be presenting their perspectives and proposed solutions for our audience at TEDSummit, made up of students from local universities in Scotland, in addition to students from universities in Education City in Doha who will be part of our live audience.

As always, our moderator Ghida Fakhry will be challenging everyone’s assumptions and leading them in our majlis-style debate on finding ways forward. Dr. Govinda Clayton, the debate’s connector, will also be on hand to speak with the audience about ways to engage the speakers in a productive manner.

We hope you join the debate as well: We will be livestreaming the show on Twitter starting at 2:15 p.m. in Scotland, 9:15 a.m. in New York, 4:15 p.m. in Doha, and 10:15 p.m. in Tokyo. If you would like to prep for the debate, we have a primer here.

Ultimately, in the debate on these issues, your voice is the one that matters; no one is to be excluded. During our debate we’ll hear voices from London, Bangalore, and Doha, among other places. Is globalization making your life easier? Where do you think most of the products you buy come from? Do you think people should be able to live and work in any country? Can you name three issues that can only be tackled globally? What does being a global citizen mean to you? Do you think borders are helpful or only hurt people?

This is only the beginning. We are taking on these issues in each debate, but we will continue to follow them, and we want you to be part of the ongoing conversation. Join us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and watch all of our videos on YouTube at your leisure. 

 And contact me at @atallahamjad on Twitter, and let me know what you think of our show and our videos. If you are an educator or a student, write in and let us know how we can make our content more useful to you.

Doha Debates is built for you.  

Amjad Atallah is managing director of Doha Debates. He is the chief executive responsible for creative, editorial and management oversight for all the program streams.

Read Amjad’s full bio here.