On Thursday, April 9, 2015, the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP) was honored to host Dr. Bassem Youssef for a dinner and discussion moderated Mr. Ahmed Shihab-Eldin at The Willard Hotel in Washington DC. Dr. Youssef is a renowned political satirist and served as a resident fellow at the Harvard University Institute of Politics for the spring 2015 semester. Mr. Shihab-Eldin is an Emmy-nominated journalist, and currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
All proceeds raised from the event contributed directly to the making of Tickling Giants, an independent feature-length documentary about Dr. Youssef and the opposition that he and his staff face in expressing themselves through satire and humor.
TIMEP’s Executive Director, Dr. Nancy Okail, opened the event by acknowledging the courageous people who peacefully express their views through methods like satire. Satirists like Dr. Youssef are uniquely able to use humor to address non-humorous issues and bring us laughter during even the darkest times, often at high risk to themselves.
Over the course of the ensuing discussion, Dr. Youssef certainly brought the audience laughter, while Mr. Shihab-Eldin facilitated an engaging conversation that explored the importance of freedom of expression in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Dr. Youssef’s own experiences. The discussion was followed by a lively and social dinner with Dr. Youssef and the many distinguished guests in attendance.