ABU DHABI – Sir David Frost had the audience laughing out loud, when he spoke on the last day of the 13th World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit. Sir Frost, a famous interviewer and journalist, shared humorous stories from his encounters with global leaders and politicians around the world.
Sir Frost quipped about his many interviews over the years, including former US President Richard Nixon, former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcherm and former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela. His six hours of interview with Richard Nixon recently came to the fore with the release of the major motion film “Frost/Nixon,” which depicted the controversial, hard-hitting discussions.
“I think the key thing is that you’re really a main ambassador to these world leaders you’re talking to,” Sir Frost said in conversation with Geoffrey Kent, Founder, Chairman and CEO, Abercrombie & Kent. “The key thing is that this person is well briefed, but also charismatic and looks forward to the situation. It must be that you hit the right note. You don’t want someone stiff and nervous,” he said of being a good interviewer. “You can’t underestimate the charm of intelligence and being well informed. You might have the right message, but it might not follow through [if you’re not the right person],” he continued.
Sir Frost described Nelson Mandela as “still incredible,” reminiscing about their first interview. Asking the former PM how he wasn’t bitter, Mandela replied “David, I would like to be bitter, but there is no time to be bitter. There is work to be done.”
Having traveled around the world, Kent quizzed Sir Frost about the most memorable or fantastic place he’d visited; this was Persepolis in Iran, during a visit to interview the Shah two years before his fall, he replied. In a strange incident, he recounted, he was required to sign a form stating that he was in charge of the Shah’s life for the duration of the interview (three hours). His production team of three, Sir Frost said, wasn’t prepared to protect anything, let alone the Shah of Iran.
Stories from his numerous interviews with Margaret Thatcher – who died recently at the age of 87 – entertained the audience who remained enthralled throughout. However, her husband Dennis Thatcher remains one of the people Sir Frost most wanted to interview in his career. Mr. Thatcher had “an incredible sense of humor” Sir Frost said during the conversation.
Sir Frost presented topical talk show “Breakfast with Frost” on the BBC and has presented “Frost all Over the World” on Al Jazeera since 2005. Interviewees include former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, the late Benazir Bhutto, Omar Al Bashir of Sudan and Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua.
The World Travel and Tourism Council’s Global Summit was held on the 9th and 10th April 2013, at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi. Keynote speakers included His Excellency Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and former US President Bill Clinton.