About Event

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE 6th EDITION OF THE NIGHT OF IDEAS: 24 HOURS LIVE TO FEEL “CLOSE(R)” –  REGISTRATION The 6th edition of the Night of Ideas, annual event dedicated to...
Jan 28, 2021



The 6th edition of the Night of Ideas, annual event dedicated to the free circulation of ideas and knowledge, and coordinated by the Institut français will be held on Thursday 28 January 2021 on the theme « Close(r) ». The event will be reinforced in its digital dimension through an online 24 hours event broadcast worldwide.

The Night of Ideas (“La Nuit des idées”) was created in 2017 by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This yearly event aims at celebrating the stream of ideas between countries, cultures, topics and generations. It is coordinated by the Institut Français in Paris. Universities, Instituts français, cultural centers, museums, cinemas contribute to this event in France and all around the world for this one night. This event gives the opportunity to discover the latest research in knowledge and arts through conferences, screenings, and artistic performances, to name a few. It brings opportunities to learn from the ones -writers, researchers, artists, students, celebrities- who contribute to bring more ideas to their field, and to take part in the discussion about the main issues of our times.

The theme Closer can be understood in several ways from the notion of contemporary socialities to solidarity or our relationship to space, the others and the digital in such peculiar times. The event in the United Arab Emirates will explore the nexus between space and socialities paying a close attention to the multicultural background which is part of the country’s DNA. The Institut français in the United Arab Emirates is extremely happy to make this special event a collaboration with New York University Institute for Public Programming and Abu Dhabi Youth Hub.

The talk will deal with the way people gather in open or public spaces according to their culture in Abu Dhabi. Examples will include several areas and spaces in Abu Dhabi such as the famous Corniche and Speciality cafés. The way inhabitants, the Emiratis, expatriates and tourists connect to each other, or not, is also a tricky question regarding the urban or architectural designs. This topic will be discussed from both an anthropological and an urban planning point of view.

The event on the 28th of January will include two parts:

– a short video featuring Laure Assaf on the Corniche area and its social uses will be broadcasted on a global 24hour live stream common to all Instituts français across the world;

– a local conference at Abu Dhabi Youth Hub with speakers and a few students on the spot while webcasting the event online.

Speakers and partners

Laure Assaf is an Assistant Professor of Arab Crossroads Studies and Anthropology at NYUAD. She works extensively on socialities in the U.A.E with a focus on the Corniche. She was trained in anthropology at Paris Nanterre University and in Arabic at the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INALCO) in Paris. She is also an Associate Researcher at the French Research Center of the Arabian Peninsula (CEFREPA) in Kuwait.

Alamira Reem Al Hashimi (BA Arch,; MPL; PhD) is an urbanist, architect and historian. She is the first Emirati woman to be awarded a PhD in urban planning and is considered one of the leading researchers on the urban development of the UAE. Dr. Alamira Reem is actively engaged on a strategic level with government initiatives in documentation and preservation of the built environment, knowledge development, and outreach, and has local and international experience in urban planning and design. With an extensive research background, she has authored several publications, including Planning Abu Dhabi: An Urban History, a book that explores and documents the trajectory of Abu Dhabi’s urban planning.

Adina Hempel is a registered architect, urban researcher and Associate Professor at the College of Arts and Creative Enterprises at the Zayed University in Dubai, UAE. She has conducted extensive research on the architectural and urban history of the UAE and was appointed Head of Research as part of the curatorial team of the National Pavilion of the UAE at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition in La Biennale di Venezia. She served as Head of Research for the Shindagha Museum phase 1 pavilions and has worked with the UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth on a variety of UAE Architecture related projects.

Ji Young Kim is an Event Specialist at Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research in Ras Al-Khaimah and an alumna from NYUAD Arab Crossroads Bachelor where she wrote her final research paper on Specialty Cafés in Abu Dhabi investigating the practices of sociability between young Emiratis following an ethnographic approach. During her years at NYUAD, she volunteered for numerous organizations including the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation, the Family Business Council Gulf and the Sufara’a Student Ambassadors Program.

Pradeep Sharma

Dr. Pradeep Sharma is the inaugural Director of Arts|Culture|Heritage at the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation in Abu Dhabi. He manages a team of enthusiastic overseeing arts projects for the Foundation including the Salama Emerging Artist Fellowship, UAE national pavilion at the Venice Biennale, Warehouse421 as well as developing communities of creative practitioners. He is recognized as a global educator, researcher and presenter in art, design and innovation.

 The Youth Hub is a federal institution dedicated to youth under the patronage of H.H. Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the Ministry of Culture and Youth. Its mission is to foster innovation and connect young people to each other regardless of their background. In addition to being located on the Corniche, Abu Dhabi Youth Hub is directly linked to the theme of sociality and space thanks to its architecture that was designed to create spatial opportunities to gather people.