A letter from Doha Debates’ managing director Amjad Atallah

Together, Apart: What we’re doing during the global pandemic

Amjad Atallah
March 20, 2020
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This is what it looks like to host a live debate during a global pandemic. Our March 9 debate on gender equality had no audience in attendance but was livestreamed to 5.2 million online viewers.

To our Doha Debates community:

Doha Debates was founded on the belief that we don’t have to settle for a divided world. Amid the global crisis caused by the novel coronavirus, we are finding strength in solidarity  — and, of course, we are all working from home, washing our hands frequently and practicing social distancing, even as we continue forward. 

But this doesn’t mean we’ve stopped bringing people together. On March 9 and 11, we held our final two debates of the first season, which we did without the usual live audience. We used videoconferencing, Instagram videos and Twitter to preserve the interaction and liveliness of the debates. The first debate brought together three women from around the world, along with moderator Ghida Fakhry, to discuss whether quotas could hasten gender equality. And just two days later, we hosted three experts to discuss the future of genetics and whether we should create superhumans. We invite you to watch the full debates — not only will they be a welcome distraction if you are social distancing, you’ll learn about some of the world’s other pressing issues and how to solve them. If you’re a teacher or parent, we have lesson plans based on earlier debates, on artificial intelligence and the global refugee crisis, that you can download and use right now.

It’s always been important for us to focus on constructive conversations, and now more than ever we must come together to forge solutions out of disparate points of view. We’ll be directly addressing COVID-19 in a future episode of our new podcast, Course Correction — if you haven’t already subscribed, please do so wherever you normally get your podcasts. We’d also love to hear from you on Twitter or Instagram. Use the #DearWorld hashtag to tell us what kind of change you want to see in the world right now, and highlight people in your community who are #SolvingIt by taking action to solve the world’s most pressing issues.  

“It’s always been important for us to focus on constructive conversations, and now more than ever we must come together to forge solutions out of disparate points of view.

As we all adapt to the realities of the novel coronavirus outbreak, our thoughts are with the people who have contracted COVID-19 as well as the people working so hard to fight it. We at Doha Debates are already talking about new ways to stay interactive and engaging during this crisis, so please stay in touch on social media and check for new developments at DohaDebates.com as we navigate this new urgent global issue. Meanwhile, stay safe, follow protocols from your country’s health organizations and stay firm in our shared belief that together, we can find solutions. 

Sincerely,

Amjad Atallah
Managing Director, Doha Debates

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.