COP28 in UAE: Egyptian-American social media star Bassam Youssef talks food, climate and comedy
Dubai: Egyptian-American comedian Bassam Youssef engaged fans at COP28 in Dubai on Tuesday with food sustainability advocacy and anecdotes of humour.
Dubbed ‘Egypt’s Jon Stewart’, Youssef addressed a packed gathering at the Green Zone Stage in Expo City Dubai, where he spent an hour sharing his personal life journey and answering questions from participants.
During the session, Youssef shared untold stories of his life and personal challenges. He spoke about the peak of his success and the failures he has faced in life. He talked about becoming a doctor, a comedian, and a food sustainability advocate.
Climate more than a pledge
Youssef also said a climate conference needs to be more than a pledge. He said action needs to be taken and that funding is necessary to see a change.
He added: “What drives me crazy is that people are made to feel guilty of using plastic straws and not recycling by companies. But 70 to 80 per cent of plastic in the sea is because of fish nets by corporate fishing companies.”
“People thought I was using satire and humour to bring my country down. My self-doubt and insecurities were magnified. Now I do what I want. I have learnt the one person we need to love first is ourself,” Youssef said.
Youssef started the interactive session titled ‘Sustainable Personal Stories with Bassem Youssef’ in his usual satirical style. “There are a million more people who deserve to be on stage here. The only reason I am here is because I am trending right now,” he quipped.
“But I am very happy to be here in the UAE for COP28.”
He began the afternoon talk with anecdotes from his personal life journey. “I’ll start from when I was in Grade 6. This is a time when the childhood trauma usually starts to develop.”
Youssef said he was raised in a middle-class family. “Both my parents were working professionals,” he added, stating that his initial schooling was in a Catholic school.