Women who Inspire Us – American University in Dubai NEWS

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AUD students enrolled in the MEST 353 Women and Gender in the Middle East course with Dr. Pamela Chrabieh, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies, organized an international women’s day event titled “Women who Inspire us.”

The International Women’s Day 2017 theme is Be Bold for Change. The MEST 353 Women and Gender in the Middle East students and Dr. Pamela Chrabieh chose to celebrate this day at AUD by highlighting women’s achievements and contributions to change in the Southwestern Asian and North African societies: from women who ensure the transmission of culture to future generations in the private sphere to women who are deconstructing stereotypes in the public sphere and challenging societal norms; from women whose food carries the stories of families and communities, as well as survival struggles and migration journeys, to women poets, authors, painters, politicians, businesswomen, educators, etc.

Women who inspire are women who step up to take bold actions, whether in the private or public spheres, on local or international levels, in the classroom or the kitchen, behind a desk, while running for presidency or helping others in need. Women who inspire are bold for change; they are change-makers!

This is how Dr. Chrabieh started her speech to celebrate the International Women’s Day with her students. She continued, “And while listening to the courageous voices of men and women who were reciting powerful poetry for gender equality, watching talented artists deconstructing stereotypes of women in Southwestern Asia and North Africa and attendees having a visceral experience with foods that tell stories of women in the students’ families and neighborhoods, I felt hope: hope in the future of a region torn by colonialist legacies and decades of wars, and by the rise of exclusivist discourses and conflictual identities.”

Dr. Chrabieh explained that the event was indeed a celebration of women who inspire her students as individuals, but more, she was celebrating their hard work, perseverance and their courage in taking on critically important causes that will improve the lives of all: building more equal communities and societies. “I was celebrating their high expectations, their aspirations and commitments. These students, and others like them, are not to be seen as part of a doomed generation or a generation of idiots with technology surpassing human interaction. I see them believing in themselves, filling a table and sitting at it, taking risks and supporting each other, trying to break down barriers that hold them back, and creating or contributing to inclusive flexible cultures. They are already leaders in their own spheres of influence. They are catalysts and vehicles for driving greater change.”

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Women who Inspire Us are Bold for Change!

Women who inspire are women who step up to take bold actions, whether in the private or public spheres, on local or international levels, in the classroom or the kitchen, behind a desk, while running for presidency or helping others in need. Women who inspire are bold for change; they are change-makers!

This is how I started my speech and what I wrote on a board in the creative corner of an event we organized my ‘Women and Gender in the Middle East’ students and I, to celebrate the International Women’s Day at the American University in Dubai. And while listening to the courageous voices of men and women who were reciting powerful poetry for gender equality, watching talented artists deconstructing stereotypes of women in Southwestern Asia and North Africa and attendees having a visceral experience with foods that tell stories of women in the students’ families and neighborhoods, I felt hope: hope in the future of a region torn by colonialist legacies and decades of wars, and by the rise of exclusivist discourses and conflictual identities.

Yesterday was indeed a celebration of women who inspire my students as individuals, but more, I was celebrating their hard work, perseverance and their courage in taking on critically important causes that will improve the lives of all: building more equal communities and societies. I was celebrating their high expectations, their aspirations and commitments. These students, and others like them, are not to be seen as part of a doomed generation or a generation of idiots with technology surpassing human interaction. I see them believing in themselves, filling a table and sitting at it, taking risks and supporting each other, trying to break down barriers that hold them back, and creating or contributing to inclusive flexible cultures. They are already leaders in their own spheres of influence. They are catalysts and vehicles for driving greater change.

Make Hummus Not War: PACE Workshop for high-school students about Middle Eastern Studies at the American University in Dubai

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Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at AUD Dr. Pamela Chrabieh organized a workshop entitled ‘Make Hummus Not War’ for high-school students enrolled in the PACE Workshops Program and interested in Middle Eastern Studies.

According to Dr. Chrabieh: “Hummus is not just food. It tells stories of war, peace, religions-politics relations, migrations, cultural resistance and cultural appropriations. It tells stories of Southwestern Asians’ communities, nations and glocal (global-local) identities. This is how I introduced high-school students to Middle Eastern Studies and to my teaching methods. Students used all their senses to learn more about this much needed field of study, through interactive and engaging dialogue sessions, collaborative learning, and experiential/visceral activities by making and eating hummus.”

As Dr. Chrabieh stated: “I have been using food (and food anthropology) as one of my many teaching methods since 2004, in Canada and Lebanon mainly, and since I joined the American University in Dubai in 2014. The “Make Hummus not War” workshop is a shorter version of a series of activities I usually organize for my Cultures of the Middle East and Religions of the Middle East courses, and these activities have started to be recognized in the UAE as innovations in Education – ‘The Diplomacy of the Dish Festival’ I organized in Fall 2015 was one of the officially registered activities of the UAE Innovative Week.”

Students who participated in the workshop came from the Dubai International School, Al Mawakeb School – Garhoud, the International School of Choueifat and the Dubai National School. Following the workshop, most students wrote in their feedback forms they highly appreciated learning more about the region and the complex religions-cultures-politics dynamics by focusing on a case study, working in teams to communicate individual and collective learning experiences, and learning through doing. Furthermore, they expressed considering Middle Eastern studies – Certificate or Bachelor degree – as part of their future academic journey.

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International Women’s Day at the American University in Dubai

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AUD students enrolled in the MEST 353 Women and Gender in the Middle East course with Dr. Pamela Chrabieh, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies, are organizing an international women’s day event titled “Women who Inspire us.” There will be an intercultural buffet, art and creative writing workshops, as well as poetry recitation.
Date: Sunday, February 26, 2017
Time: 1:00pm to 2:00pm
Venue: Recreation Area
The International Women’s Day 2017 theme is Be Bold for Change. The MEST 353 Women and Gender in the Middle East students and Dr. Pamela Chrabieh chose to celebrate this day at AUD by highlighting women’s achievements and contributions to change in the Southwestern Asian and North African societies: from women who ensure the transmission of culture to future generations in the private sphere to women who are deconstructing stereotypes in the public sphere and challenging societal norms; from women whose food carries the stories of families and communities, as well as survival struggles and migration journeys, to women poets, authors, painters, politicians, businesswomen, educators, etc
 

La présence libanaise dans le monde

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It was an honour to be invited to participate in this international conference on the Lebanese Diaspora at the Holy Spirit University. The Conference proceedings are now available. My paper introduces to the works of Canadian-Lebanese Sami Aoun, Maria Mourani and Rawi Hage (in French):

Pamela Chrabieh, ‘Introduction aux oeuvres de Libano-Canadiens-nes: Sami Aoun, Maria Mourani et Rawi Hage’, La présence Libanaise dans le monde. Humanisme: culture et altérité, sous la direction de Jean-Maroun Maghamès, Presses de l’Université Saint-Esprit de Kaslik, 2016, p. 29-44.

A special thank you to F. Jean-Maroun Maghames for his support.

The Women’s Museum in Dubai: Celebrating the lives and achievements of women in the UAE

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Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at AUD, Dr. Pamela Chrabieh organized a field trip for her MEST 353 Women and Gender in the Middle East students on Saturday, February 4, 2017 at the Women’s Museum in Dubai.

The museum is a unique cultural initiative in the Arab World and the Gulf region, dedicated to the exploration and celebration of the lives and achievements of many women in the United Arab Emirates. Located in a house of historical importance dating from the 1950s, Bait Al Banat (‘Girls House’), it was established by Professor Rafia Ghubash who believes in the centrality of women’s roles in defining the Emirati culture and shaping their society.

According to Dr. Chrabieh: “It was an honor to have Professor Ghubash as our guide and host. She told us personal and national stories of the past and present of women in the UAE, and students were able to deconstruct stereotypes and learn about the diverse activities and contributions of women in academia, business, politics and culture.”

From series of photographs and passport copies, to public documents, poems, artefacts, burqas, abayas, jewelry, sculptures and paintings, the three-floor museum embodies Dr. Ghubash’s statement: “You have to learn that your rights are born with you. Don’t think the government or your husband will give you a right. It’s inside you, just practice it”. Indeed, the examples of Sheikhas as peacemakers, women pioneers in education and famous poets such as Ousha Bint Khalifa mirror both the story of the UAE and that of self-empowered human beings with diverse gender constructions and expressions.”

Furthermore, this encounter with the multifaceted lives of Emirati women down through history helped students understand the value of national and individual memories and narratives, the importance of heritage preservation and the richness of new lights that shed on the present by examining the past; lights, for Dr. Chrabieh, “that fill the tunnel of our knowledge building journey.