Arabic Program Visitors and Events
The Arabic program at CMC has invited a variety of special guests from all around the country and the world. The program concentrates on creating opportunity for the students to learn more about the Arabic culture by ensuring that every guest can shed light on a different facet of life in the Arab Middle East. All activities and guests that have been hosted by the Arabic program are relevant to the continuation of the students’ learning. These workshops introduced the students to the beauty and richness of the Arabic language and culture.
International guests include the President of Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, Sari Nusseibeh and the Syrian Ambassador to the U.S., Imad Moustapha. Both guests had an opportunity to speak directly to the students of the Arabic program, this gave the students a chance to ask in-depth questions about the situations in the Middle East.
The program has also invited an assortment of musical guests. “Kan Zamaan”, a traditional Arabic band from Los Angeles performed at CMC with a beautiful collection of Arabic instruments, including the oud, nay, qanun, and a violin. John Bilezikjian, a Master Oud player, who plays a variety of styles of Middle Eastern music, was invited to play for the students of the Arabic program as one of the most acknowledged master. His wonderful performance allowed the students to hear the beautiful sounds of the Middle East as they have been heard for centuries. The students were also able to enjoy the music and poetry of Omar Offendum, an Arabic Hip-Hop artist from Los Angeles. His blend of modern rap and the Arabic language demonstrates how the two cultures have come together in these modern times. These opportunities have given greater insight into the musical culture of the Arab World and its place in American culture today.
These guests are only some of many special visitors that contributed to the Arabic class’ learning experience during its first year established at CMC. See the Gallery for pictures of the students participating in these special events. There will be many more events planned for next year.
Speaker on September 28th: Mohja Kahf
Born in Damascus, Syria, Dr. Mohja Kahf graduated from Douglass College, founded as New Jersey's first women's college, and took her Ph.D. in comparative literature at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, in 1994. Kahf has been a professor at the University of Arkansas since 1995. Her books include Western Representations of the Muslim Woman: From Termagant to Odalisque (University of Texas Press, 1999), a poetry volume, Emails from Scheherezad (University Press of Florida, 2003), and a novel called The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf (Perseus, 2006), about an American Muslim girl in 1970s Indiana, at the crossroads of Islamic dress and bad polyester. Kahf teaches courses in Arabic literature, literature of the American religious experience, the Quran, medieval Spain, and Muslim feminist thought.
She will read a medley of poetry and fiction from new writings as well as published works. Kahf is also excited to share some of her translations-in-progress of a pagan Arab woman from the sixth century, Safiah bint Thalabah, and will read some of Safiah's poetry in the original Arabic.
Dr. Kahf's presentation is open to all students and faculty from the Claremont Colleges and the community. She will be speaking from 7 pm to 9 pm September 28th in Bauer Forum on Claremont McKenna Campus.
Cultural Activity on October 12th: Middle Eastern Dance
Students from the Arabic program will be taught the basics of Middle Eastern Dance in Pickford Auditorium from 7 pm tp 9 pm.
Speaker on October 19th: Fayeq Oweis
Fayeq Oweis is an Arab American artist, educator, and linguist. He holds a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies with Concentration on Arabic and Islamic Studies focusing on Creative & Visual arts. Oweis is currently teaching Arabic Language and Culture at Santa Clara University and San Jose State University. He works on contemporary Islamic art and Arabic calligraphic compositions and has participated in a number of exhibits throughout the United States. He designed the exterior entranceway murals and the calligraphy of the dome at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. He also co-designed and directed the first Arabic/Islamic mural in San Francisco, and was a lead artist for the Palestinian Cultural mural honoring Dr. Edward Said at San Francisco State University. Oweis is a board member of ZAWAYA, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting Arabic art and culture. He has written a number of articles and gave numerous presentations on Arab American Artists, Arabic Calligraphy, and Islamic art. He is the author of an Award winning book "Encyclopedia of Arab American Artists," which features about 100 Arab American visual artists. In addition to his academic and artistic work, Oweis also works as an Arabic localization consultant for major Internet companies in the Silicon Valley. More info can be found at his web site www.oweis.com.
Mr. Oweis will be giving a presentation entitled "Geometry of the Spirit: the Art of Arabic Calligraphy" on Tuesday, October 19th from 7 pm to 9 pm in Bauer Forum on Claremont McKenna College campus. His presentation is open to all students and faculty from the Claremont colleges and community members.
Speaker on October 26th: Paul Roochnik
Paul Roochnik did his graduate studies in Arabic and Linguistics at Georgetown University and taught under the supervision of Dr. Bassam Frangieh, now the director of the Arabic program at Claremont McKenna. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1993, he worked in the field of Arabic machine translation. The classroom, however, called him back relentlessly, and finally he returned to teaching in early September 2001 at Princeton University. A few days later, terrorists crashed jets into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. To support the war against terrorism, Roochnik applied for an Arabic teaching position at the U.S. Army's prestigious Defense Language Institute (DLI). A year later, after completing his commitment at Princeton, he moved to Monterey, California to join the DLI faculty, where he has taught Arabic since then as an Associate Professor.
"Our military students," remarks Roochnik, "have a tough job, with six classroom hours per day plus homework, on top of physical training and various military obligations. Far too often, overwhelmed by stress and fatigue, they fall down in their capacity to learn and retain language. Their performance deteriorates as the months go by, not because of incompetence or ineptitude, but because of cerebral burnout. College students face much of the same burnout that military students endure. This stress crisis cries out for an advanced technology of brain-training to reverse our students' stress and fatigue, increase their brain coherence, and bring out their full linguistic and intellectual potential."
Dr. Roochnik will address this issue, in Arabic, in his presentation on October 26th from 7 pm to 9 pm in Bauer Forum on Clarmont McKenna Campus. Dr. Roochnik's presentation is open to all students and faculty from the Claremont Colleges as well as community members.
If you have any questions,comments or suggestions, please let us know! Also, if you would like to receive updates on the Arabic Program's upcoming speakers and cultural activities, send your contact information to the Arabic Program Cultural Coordinator Melissa Carlson at email@example.com to join the Arabic Program Activities email list.
National and International Visitors and Speakers:
· His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah
· Joumana Nammour
· Imam Zaid Shakir
· Her Excellency Houda Ezra Ebrahim Nonoo, Ambassador from the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United States
· Aysha Murad Ali, Cultural Councilor of the Kingdom of Bahrain
· Mohamad Saadoun
· His Excellency Imad Moustapha, Syrian Ambassador to the United States
· Sari Nusseibeh, President and professor of Philosophy of Al-Quds University, Jerusalem
· Master Oud player, John Bilezikjian
· Kan Zamaan Traditional Arabic musical group
· Arabic Calligraphy with Imad Beyoun
· Arabic Hip-Hop and Poetry by Omar Offendum
His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah
His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah visited Claremont McKenna College on May 3rd, 2010 to receive an Honorary Degree from the college for his exemplar service to the world community. He received this award during an Honorary Degree Award ceremony at the Marian Miner Cook Athenauem. After the award ceremony, his excellency met with students from the Arabic Program and discussed the Bedouin in Kuwait, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, and U.S.-Kuwait and U.S.-Arab relations.
His Excellency is the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the State of Kuwait. He was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2003, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2005, by the Amir of Kuwait. Prior to these positions, HE Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Al-Sabah was the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs from 2001-2003, and previously he served as the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the United States from 1993-2001. Other ministerial positions that he has held include Acting Minister of Finance, Acting Minister of Planning, and Acting Minister of Social Affairs and Labour.
In addition to his senior governmental positions, HE Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Al-Sabah has been the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development since 2003. The Kuwait Fund, founded in 1961, has more than $15 billion in total assets, and the object of the Fund is to assist Arab and other developing countries in developing their economies. The Fund's operations are focused primarily on the sectors of agriculture and irrigation, transport and communications, energy, industry, water and sewage.
He was a founding member and a member of the Executive Committee of the Kuwait America Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based charitable organization. Its mission, inspired by Kuwait's liberation by Allied Coalition forces in the Gulf War, is to express gratitude for American sacrifice and strengthen ties among the peoples of the two countries. Since 1991, The Foundation has focused its resources on education, cultural exchange and programs for youth and disadvantaged persons in the United States and internationally.
HE Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Al-Sabah has represented Kuwait at numerous bilateral and multi-lateral summits, international conferences, and GCC ministerial meetings. He meets regularly with the U.S. Secretary of State, the U.S. Secretary of Defense, and other senior U.S. officials.
HE Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Al-Sabah graduated from CMC in 1978 with a BA in Economics (cum laude). He earned a MA and Ph.D. in Economics and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard in 1985. Following his graduate work, he was an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Kuwait. He is married to Sheikha Feryal Duaij Al-Salman Al-Sabah, who accompanied him to Claremont, and they have two sons and two daughters. He is the father of Duaij Mohammed Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, who will graduate in May, 2010. His hobbies are sailing and classical music.
Ms. Nammour has her own daily political talk show, called "Behind the News," which focuses on current and political events and leading international news stories. "Behind the News" is one of the most widely watched political news and public affairs programs in the Arab World, and Ms. Nammour received an award in 2008 for being the first Arab woman to host a regular political talk show. The award was presented to her at the “Women and Global Leaders Forum” meeting in Dubai.
Ms. Nammour began her career in Lebanon as a news reporter and then presenter on Lebanese television channel NTV. She also worked as a producer and anchor on Lebanon's Future TV, where she launched the Arab World's first daily morning news program in the 1990's, called "The World this Morning." The program was very popular, and it became the most watched morning show in Lebanon. Ms. Nammour earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in anthropology and sociology in Lebanon. She is married and has two children, and she resides in Doha, Qatar.
Launched in 1996, Al Jazeera Satellite Channel quickly became one of the largest and most viewed Middle Eastern news channels, and the first channel in the region to offer news coverage 24 hours a day. The station's headquarters is based in Doha, Qatar, and today Al Jazeera Network has more than fifty bureaus around the world with 180 employees. More than one thousand journalists, directors, producers, and administrative staff work at the Al Jazeera headquarters in Doha. The station is viewed throughout the Middle East and internationally, and has some 75 million viewers.
Imam Zaid Shakir
Her Excellency Houda Ezra Ebrahim Nonoo
Cultural Councilor Aysha Murad Ali
His Excellency Imad Moustapha:
His Excellency Imad Moustapha, the Syrian Ambassador to the United States, is the rare ambassador who blogs. He recently posted on his favorite Syrian artists, the history of the Arab-Israeli war, and his summer vacation. Beyond blogging, he is influential in both Damascus and Washington. He writes frequently in both the English-language press and the Arabic-language press, and he is a guest on many television programs in the U.S. and Syria.
President Sari Nusseibeh:
In 1987 President Nusseibeh became noteworthy for his meeting with representatives of Israel’s Likud Party, one of the first meetings between prominent Palestinians and the right-wing Likud Party. During the First Infitada, Nusseibeh worked to author the Palestinian declaration of independence and created the inner workings of a future Palestinian government.
One of the most important issues of our time is the fate of the Palestinian people. With the elections in Israel, the Israeli invasion of Gaza and a new president in the White House, 2009 promises to be a pivotal year in the pursuit of peace in the Middle East. Sari Nusseibeh, however, has heard this all this before and nothing has changed.
John Bilezikjian is considered on of the greatest Oud players of this generation. His mastery of this ancient instrument is the result of decades of practice and dedication to the art. He is renowned for the diversity of style in which he can play his instrument. For example, he can sing in 11 different languages including Arabic, Persian, Armenian, and English.
Bilezikjian is an acclaimed musician, singer, composer, and teacher. He has been performing for over 30 years. He also plays other instruments proficiently including the violin. He has also developed his own style of playing the oud that he performed for the Arabic class. Along with his own style, he played styles that would be found in a variety of countries such as Armenia, Turkey, the Arab World, and Eastern Europe.
His music gave the students an introduction to the traditional music of the Arab World that has been part of its culture for centuries. It was a great honor for Claremont McKenna College to host such a famous artist.
Supporting the Arabic Program:
All contributions go towards cultural activities, speakers, and sending students to study Arabic in Middle Eastern countries. If you would like to make a contribution to Claremont McKenna College's Arabic Program, please contact Steven Siegel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Supporting the Programhttp://cmwww01.claremontmckenna.edu:8008/tmp/f3obku7oce2s5p5fkp4n5ddh56text-editor.php