Maldivian festival of ideas brings together artists, scientists

Aug 22, 2010 (LBO) – The Maldives plans to hold a festival bringing together international and local artists and experts from the fields of literature, art, science, drama, music and poetry in October this year. The event, billed as a festival of “ideas, conversations and fun” will celebrate “one of the world’s most hopeful new democracies and oldest island cultures,’ according to a statement from the office of the Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed.

Speakers include historian and biographer Jung Chang, author of Wild Swans and Mao, the novelist Ian McEwan, author of Atonement, and environmental writers and campaigners Montagu Don, Tim Smit, Mark Lynas and Chris Gorell-Barnes.

They will appear alongside Maldivian writers including Ogaru Ibrahim Waheed and Fathmath Nahula. Mauritian-born, electronic fusion artist Ravin provides musical enchantment, and local bands performing include Fasy Live.

“The festival celebrates 2,000 years of Maldivian island culture,” the statement said.

“The Maldives has been a multi-party democracy for only two years and this new freedom has opened up a host of new opportunities both culturally and politically.”

The festival provides a platform for focusing