Qatar Foundation (QF)’s Doha Debates is bringing its signature debate approach to the Doha Debates Podcast, a new podcast where expert guests representing different – and often opposing – viewpoints on a pressing global issue engage in spirited but respectful discussions in an attempt to find common ground.
The podcast, which was launched on May 16, explores complex and sometimes contentious questions, including “Does having money make you happy?”, “Are some sports too violent for children?”, “Is it time to delete all our social media apps?”, and “Does mass surveillance make us safe or infringe on our privacy?”. Podcast guests and a rotating line-up of hosts hail from countries around the world, including Nigeria, Pakistan, Ghana, South Africa, the UK and the US.
The biweekly podcast is a co-production of QF’s Doha Debates and FP Studios, the podcast production arm of 'Foreign Policy' magazine. Recorded for audio and video, all episodes will be available at, on all major podcast platforms and on Doha Debates’ YouTube channel.
Audio storyteller and producer Karen Given hosted the first episode, “Virtual violence: Do video games change our behaviour?”. Award-winning South African game designer, writer and filmmaker Bahiyya Khan argued that most video games perpetuate stereotypical and dangerous narratives about women and people of colour, and that they affect gamers’ real-world actions.
Josh Ferme, presenter and podcaster with a background in psychological research, countered that video games are an art form that should not be censored, and that their real-world consequences have been blown out of proportion.
Other episodes in the first season explore similarly provocative questions like “Is eating meat an act of cruelty toward animals?”, “Should we be putting a moratorium on gas-powered cars?”, and “Are some sports too violent for children?”.
Additional first-season hosts include Ghanaian broadcast journalist Afia Pokua; Pakistani author, journalist and 'This American Life' contributor Mariya Karimjee; and Nazanine Moshiri, former journalist and Crisis Group’s senior analyst for climate, environment and conflict in Africa. Young changemakers from across the globe, including participants in the Doha Debates Ambassador Programme, further the discussions by posing questions to each guest.
“At Doha Debates, we endeavour to change the very definition of debate, from a ‘war of words’ to a process that encourages multiple perspectives, respectful dialogue, and collective reasoning,” said Doha Debates’ managing director Amjad Atallah. “We’re honoured to team up once again with FP Studios to bring our signature approach to a podcast that takes on some of the most contentious issues of our time, and to demonstrate that honest, civil discussion is the only way to bring about meaningful, lasting change.”
Doha Debates’ and FP Studios’ previous podcast collaborations include 'The Negotiators', a behind-the-scenes look at historic high-stakes negotiations across the globe, and 'The Long Game', which examines the power of sports to change the world for the better.
Atallah, director of innovation Japhet Weeks, and deputy managing director Jigar Mehta will executive produce the podcast for Doha Debates. Podcast producers include Katrine Dermody for Doha Debates and Claudia Teti, Rosie Julin and Daniel Dadzie for FP Studios. The managing director of FP Studios is Rob Sachs.
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