Ideas Festival brings free education and entertainment to Abu Dhabi this weekend

Taking place at New York University Abu Dhabi, the free event will feature a range of talks, workshops, activities, interactive exhibitions, games and talks by experts in the fields of science and technology.

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ABU DHABI // Words of inspiration from one of the UAE’s Olympians and technology that promises to cut travel time between the capital and Dubai to 12 minutes will be at the Ideas Festival in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

Taking place at New York University Abu Dhabi for the first time, the free event will feature workshops, activities, interactive exhibitions, games and talks by experts from the fields of science and technology.

Among the speakers is Nada Al Bedwawi, the first female swimmer to represent the UAE at the Olympics, who took part in the Rio Games last year.

She will be speaking about healthy lifestyles, her fitness regime and the importance of having an organised daily routine.

“Through this festival, we want to enable the Abu Dhabi community to explore some of the most fascinating and ground-breaking ideas that are sweeping the globe, and to have fun while doing so,” said Al Bedwawi.

“Abu Dhabi, and the whole UAE, is bursting with ideas and creative young people. This event is designed to demonstrate that we all have a role to play, and can contribute ideas for the good of society.”

Visitors will also hear from the likes of Dr Aubrey de Grey, a leading biomedical gerontologists who believes human beings could one day live to 1,000 years old.

Dr Ellen Stofan, a space scientists and an expert in extra-terrestrial geology will also be there, as well as Zaki Nusseibeh, cultural adviser at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs.

Visitors will also get to see the Hyperloop One technology, which aims to cut travel time between Dubai and Abu Dhabi to 12 minutes.

The festival is taking place alongside the Aspen Abu Dhabi Ideas Forum, a two-day gathering.

It will discuss some of the world’s greatest short- and long-term challenges under four broad topics that include preventing a global “system shock”, extending healthy human lifespan by up to 40 years and living sustainably beyond Earth.

“Abu Dhabi is an environment eager to facilitate the kinds of conversations that know no boundaries, and it is a city where science and technology meet artistry and creativity with spectacular results,” said Walter Isaacson, president and chief executive of Aspen Institute.

“I know this weekend of dialogue and discussion will provide new context on some of the most complex and exciting challenges before us.”

Although the festival, which takes place on Saturday from 10an to 11pm, is free to the public, the forum is by invitation only.

mmannan@thenational.ae