Academic & Creative Excellence Festival

The 2024 ACE Festival Welcomes

Douglas Abrams


douglas abramsWho is Douglas Abrams?

Doug Abrams is a multiple New York Times-bestselling author, as well as an editor, literary agent, and film producer. He is the founder and president of Idea Architects, a creative book and media agency helping visionaries create a wiser, healthier, and more just world. 

He co-wrote The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World with the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, which inspired the film MISSION: JOY, now on Netflix.  Doug served as the interviewer in the film as well as an Executive Producer. Doug also co-authored The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times with Jane Goodall. (The Book of Hope is EMU’s Common Read selection for 2023-24.) He has also written many other bestselling non-fiction books and has written two novels, The Lost Diary of Don Juan and Eye of the Whale, which together have been translated into over thirty languages. 

Books and films he has developed have been credited with convincing then-President Bill Clinton to stop the genocide in Kosovo (THE BRIDGE BETRAYED), for launching the modern anti-slavery movement (DISPOSABLE PEOPLE), for helping to expand a mass incarceration reform movement (JUST MERCY, a book by Bryan Stevenson and film starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx), and for helping to address our environmental crisis (THE FUTURE WE CHOOSE, TWO WORLDS, which inspired a near future grounded sci-fi feature film being developed with the Obamas’ Higher Ground Productions for Netflix).

Visit Doug's website here.

Co-sponsored by EMU Convocation and the Language and Literature Program

Keynote Address

10:10 - 11:00 am, Wednesday, April 17

Lehman Auditorium
Doug will be present virtually, and will remain availble for talkback conversation following his address, until 11:30 am.

Those with an EMU log-in may access a recording of this presentation here.

Two Truths and Three Lies About Hope and Humanity

In a world that seems so troubled, how do we hold on to hope?  New York Times-bestselling author Doug Abrams will examine this most sought-after and least-understood element of human nature. He will explore the importance of hope in our lives and how to cultivate it personally and collectively when we need it most. Through sharing little-known truths and confronting the widespread lies about the future of humanity, Doug invites the listener to see hope not as a passive or weak response, but as an act of resistance that challenges the status quo.

The talk will draw on his work writing The Book of Hope with Jane Goodall, as well as his collaborations with the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Stephen Hawking, Nelson Mandela, Bryan Stevenson, and many other leading spiritual teachers, activists, and scientists.

ACE Festival Keynotes

The ACE Festival invites keynote speakers to engage the community in conversations around values that are important to us at EMU. The speaker is typically selected with the themes of the year's Common Read in mind. We invite engagement and response from diverse perspectives, and encourage continued conversation around these themes.

ScheduleAttendance Requirement

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