Dubai, January 2019: Organisers of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature have announced that the inspirational author of the Pursuit of Happyness, Chris Gardner, whose real-life rags to riches story was portrayed by Will Smith in the hit film, will be appearing in the final line-up for Youth Day along with one of the most influential media celebrities in the Arab world, Ahmad AlShugairi. They’ll be joining Jennifer Palmieri, Dr Abdullah Al Maghlooth, Dr Rafia Ghubash and Isobel Abulhoul OBE at this exceptional event.

Open to all young people between 16 and 35, it is one of the highlights of this year’s Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, and takes place on Thursday 7 March 2019 at the Festival’s home, the InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City.

“Youth Day, with its stellar line-up, promises to be one of the most exciting events of the year for young people. Designed to inform, inspire and motivate youth from across the region, the programme brings together the most sought-after speakers in the Arab world and internationally,” said Ahlam Bolooki, Festival Director. “The speakers all come from different backgrounds and have different stories to tell, but the underlying message to all youth is to not be limited by their own or others’ expectations. They can all go on to accomplish something extraordinary.”

Chris Gardner is today one of the world’s most desired motivational speakers. He will talk about his astonishing life story, breaking out of the cycle of poverty and homelessness to becoming a successful stockbroker, while at the same time single-handedly bringing up his son. His inspiring session will show how obstacles can be overcome with the right mindset; choosing not to quit when the going gets tough but remaining focused on becoming the best you can be at whatever you choose to do.

Celebrity TV presenter and author of the Khawater Shab series, If He Had Been Between Us, My Journey with Gandhi and most recently Forty, Ahmad AlShugairi has been named one of the most influential media celebrities by Twenty Youth magazine. In this session he will give guidance on how to manage and improve five critical aspects of life: Mind, Body, Money, People, and Environment, with practical tips on how to improve each of these pillars, building on successes to find fulfilment and make a better life.

Youth Day participants will also hear Director of Communications for the Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign Jennifer Palmieri, on how to become empowered to reach your goals. She is the author of Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World. In addition, the programme features Dr Abdullah Al Maghlooth, who will explain the positive influence of social media, using motivating real life stories to show how it can be harnessed to overcome obstacles and make the world a better place.

The day includes a buffet lunch and ticket holders can buy a further six tickets for main Festival sessions of their choice at a 50 per cent discount. Students travelling from outside Dubai can take advantage of concessions at participating hotels, including Rove Hotels starting from AED 315 and many more. For international students, there is a 25% discount on flydubai flights into the UAE from KSA, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait.

Participants at Youth Day will be able to use their discounts to buy tickets to six of the main Festival sessions taking place on 8 and 9 March. As the Arab World’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word, the Festival has a huge range of sessions led by best-selling authors and world-leading experts on literature, business, science food, history, and much more.


The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature runs from 1-9 March 2019. It is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.