The University of British Columbia

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presented by Santa Ono

Bassem Youssef

The Middle Eastern Monologues

This event took place on Monday, March 2, 2020
at the Vancouver Playhouse (map)
In partnership with alumniUBC

This series is made possible with the generous support of the R & J Stern Family Foundation

Media Partner: The Georgia Straight


About the Talk:

Formerly a heart surgeon, Bassem Youssef shot to fame in 2011 as the “Jon Stewart of the Arab World.” As Stephen Colbert put it, Youssef “hosted Egypt’s first political satire show until the government decided it would be Egypt’s last political satire show.”

In this talk, Youssef shares his experience as a doctor-turned-satirist during the most uncertain time in the Middle East. He will discuss the dynamics of humour, politics and search for liberties and freedoms in the Middle East. As a new resident of the United States, Youssef will take a fresh look at the factors shaping American policies in the Middle East while initiating an honest conversation with Arabs and Muslims about their role and position impacting the historic events unfolding today.

About the Speaker:

In 2011 during the Arab Spring, Bassem Youssef started a five-minute show on YouTube that satirized the state-run media. Al-Bernameg became the most watched show in the history of Egyptian TV with an average of 40 million viewers every week, in addition to over 2 million subscribers on YouTube.

Youssef’s popularity with the Egyptian people didn’t go over so well with the people in power. The Muslim Brotherhood issued a warrant for his arrest and when the Egyptian military took over, his show was cancelled twice. Threats and harassment forced Youssef to flee to the United States, where he now lives in Los Angeles. Youssef’s bestselling book, Revolution for Dummies, chronicles his journey and offers insight into the Arab Spring, the Egyptian Revolution, and the turmoil of the modern Middle East.

In 2013, Bassem made TIME magazine’s list of most influential people. The same year, the Committee to Protect Journalists awarded him an International Press Freedom Award. And in 2015, Youssef hosted the International Emmy Awards in New York City as the first non-American, non-European personality to ever host such an event.

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