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Night of Ideas: Facing the Present

Every year, on the last Thursday in January, cities around the world celebrate the Night of Ideas (La Nuit des Idées), bringing together prominent French and international thinkers to debate the major challenges of our time. The event celebrates freedom of ideas, thinking, expression and knowledge by offering—all in one dynamic evening—conferences, seminars, forums and round tables, screenings and artistic performances inspired by a common theme which each venue is free to interpret in its own way.

For the first time ever, Pakistan is participating in the Night of Ideas to be held at the Alliance Française de Karachi on 31 January 2019, simultaneously with similar La Nuit des Idées events in cities around the world. The theme is “Facing the Present”. Guests from diverse backgrounds—intellectuals, researchers, artists, performers, filmmakers—will gather to discuss the theme from Paris to Karachi and beyond. The event will be free and open to all. Take a look at our program in Karachi:

(UPDATED 1.28.2019)

  1. PUBLIC DEBATE: INTELLECTUALS & ARTISTS (7:30 to 9 PM, AFK main patio)
    This friendly public debate (the main event of the night!) on the theme “Facing the Present” wonders: Who is better equipped to deal with the challenges of our time—intellectuals or artists? Our bold and inspiring speakers from each “side” will face off on this question in pithy 7-minute TED-style talks (not a panel discussion!). How are our intellectuals and artists using their work to address the various challenges of our present and future? Each will make the case for why their medium is so well-suited to facing our time. In the end, the audience will vote on who has won the debate, and how both sides can join forces to work together in finding solutions that benefit everyone.

    Saad Shafqat


    > Marvi Mazhar (Urban Planning) Architect & Heritage Consultant

    > Arieb Azhar (Culture) Director at T2F, Musician & Writer

    > Niilofur Farrukh (Art) Art Critic, Art Historian and Curator, CEO Karachi Biennale Trust


    > Saima Zaidi (Communication Design) Professor of Communication & Design, Habib University

    > Sabiha Sumar (Filmmaking) Director & Producer, Vidhi Films

    > Mohammad Zeeshan (Art) Curator, Karachi Biennale 2019

  2. CONCERT BY THE TARZ GROUP (9 to 10 PM, AFK main patio)
    Enjoy a fusion of eastern and western music by the Tarz Band made up of Yousuf Kerai, Islamuddin Mir, Ashiq Ali Mir and Shehroze Hussain on the tabla, violin, dholak and sitar.

  3. KARACHI-LAHORE PORTAL (6:30 to 7:30 PM, AFK art gallery)
    The Citizens Archive of Pakistan and their Oral History Project team will bring you a unique story sharing experience connecting Alliance Française de Karachi to Peeru’s Café and NCA students in Lahore through an immersive audiovisual technology “portal”. We’ll have a conversation, open to all, about the Night of Ideas between Karachi and Lahore from 6:30 to 7 PM followed by a live performance by Peeru’s Cafe artists. Come find this unique structure in the AFK art gallery and see where the conversations lead you.

  4. ORAL HISTORY PROJECT SCREENINGS (6:30 to 9 PM, AFK conference room)
    Come watch animated shorts compiled by the Oral History Project team at the Citizens Archive of Pakistan featuring the stories of Pakistanis.

  5. LIVE GRAFFITI: FACING THE PRESENT (6:30 to 9 PM, AFK entrance foyer)
    Watch 3D/anamorphic chalk artist and muralist Obaid ur Rehman make live graffiti interpreting the theme of the night.

Radio Media Partner: City FM 89

#nightofideas #lanuitdesidees #afkarachi

Date: 31 January 2019
Time: 6:30-10 PM
Venue: Alliance Française de Karachi 
Entry: Free entry, open to all

Earlier Event: January 29
Ciné Club at AFK: Jusqu'à la garde
Later Event: February 2
IamKarachi: Colors of Hope