Dialogue Keynote: On Dissent with Zainab Salbi


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Zainab Salbi
Image courtesy of the artist


How do you voice dissent, and embrace the dissenting voices of others? Is it possible to do so without fracturing the social bonds that gird our increasingly interconnected—and interdependent—world? Humanitarian, author, media personality, and founder of Women for Women International, Zainab Salbi, offers thoughts on dissent and the power of a conversation in this keynote to the Dialogue 2021 season.

Zainab Salbi is the principal behind the Zainab Salbi Project with Huffington Post, and created #MeToo, Now What? with PBS. Most recently she launched Through Her Eyes with Zainab Salbi, an original series on Yahoo! News. Salbi’s powerful interviews, and the story of her own personal journey as an Iraqi refugee in the United States, tell tales of overcoming miscommunication and cultural difference and are infused with humor as well as deep respect for the wide breadth of human perspectives and experience.


What happens when the legacies we inherit are not the ones we would choose? Building on last year’s exploration of inheritance, the 2021 Dialogue Series provides a space to think about dissent and how pushing against existing structures strengthens our social bonds.

Throughout the spring, we’ll consider how we talk with each other, nurture each other, call each other out, and ask more of each other and the structures that are built around us. Through a series of live virtual events, invited speakers and audience members discuss the power of dissent and disagreement paired with connection and mutual care. For the first time, the Dialogue exploration begins with an artwork, a performance built out of a years-long conversation and configured for this contemporary moment and virtual environment. Series speakers include theater-makers, scholars, chefs, media personalities, and artists.

The Dialogue Series is a museum-wide commitment to sustained inquiry about museum practice, access, and inclusion. Each annual series includes eminent speakers presenting innovative work happening across disciplines, panel discussions, and opportunities for open dialogue with audiences.

The Dialogue Series is organized by January Parkos Arnall, Curator, with the Performance and Public Practice team.


Major support is provided by Julie and Larry Bernstein, the Zell Family Foundation, and Carol Prins and John Hart/The Jessica Fund.

Generous support is provided by Lois and Steve Eisen and The Eisen Family Foundation, and Caryn and King Harris.