Press for Progress! A successful event at the American University in Dubai

Thanking our friends, colleagues and students for an amazing International Women’s Day at the American University in Dubai.

March 8, 2018 – Middle Eastern Studies students with Dr. Pamela Chrabieh and Dr. Nadia Wardeh.

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Dr. Pamela Chrabieh and Dr. Nadia Wardeh

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Reeds from Red Lips – Dr. Pamela Chrabieh (American University in Dubai News)

AUD School of Arts and Sciences Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies Dr. Pamela Chrabieh has recently edited and published a book entitled Reeds from Red Lips on Arts and Gender in Southwestern Asia.

The book includes diverse stories told through poetry and prose in English, French, Modern Standard Arabic and Lebanese, and encompasses a selection of conceptual photography artworks, digital visuals, cartoons and paintings. It features established scholars, poets and authors, journalists, artists and students, from Southwestern Asia or living in the region: Dr. Pamela Chrabieh, Norah Al Nimer, Katia Aoun Hage, Malak El Gohary, Amal Chehayeb, Lana AlBeik, Dr. Frank Darwiche, Noor Husain, Joelle Sfeir, Maram El Hendy, Dr. Omar Sabbagh, Karma Bou Saab, Farah Nasser, Haeley Ahn, Masooma Rana, Sandra Malki, Maya Khadra and Nour Zahi Al-Hassanieh.

In her book foreword, Dr. Chrabieh explains that the diversity of Southwestern Asian voices is “so vast that it is unlikely to work on an exhaustive review, and this is definitely not the goal of the book; neither is it to obtain a fixed view of the gender and art relation (…).  The book gathers the visions, journeys, statements, biographies and artworks of some authors and artists who either self-define or reject the gender binary by emphasizing the fluidity of gender and subverting gender conformity. It also displays a mosaic of languages and local dialects, visual techniques and writing styles; reeds that vibrate and produce different sounds and pitch ranges out of empowered lips”.

According to Dr. Chrabieh, “most of those who contributed to this collective work are part of the Red Lips High Heels’ movement (http://www.redlipshighheels.com/), an online gathering project of writers and artists I launched in 2012 in Lebanon. This movement advocates peacebuilding, human rights and women’s rights in Southwestern Asia. (…) Southwestern Asia has unfortunately been too often stereotyped, viewed as homogeneous and demonized, but the authors and artists featured in this book deconstruct prejudices. They tell stories of the rich pasts and current diversities of this part of the world. They prove somehow that the local belongings, realities, memories and histories are quite complex, a mélange of grey zones and multiple shades”.

Dr. Chrabieh adds: “I would like to express my gratitude to the many peoples who have been providing support to the Red Lips High Heels’ movement since 2012 and to this book’s project. I would like to thank in particular the authors and artists who allowed me to publish their works and my assistant researcher Haeley Ahn for her dedication and valuable input in the editing, proofreading and design of the book. To my students and former students at the American University in Dubai: thank you for inspiring me with your life stories, talents, skills and knowledge”.

Reeds from Red Lips is available on amazon.com:
Kindle Edition ASIN: B0711D71C1
(https://www.amazon.com/Reeds-Red-Lips-Pamela-Chrabieh-ebook/dp/B0711D71C1/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8)

Pamela Chrabieh Author Interview on PRETTY-HOT.COM

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Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am a Lebanese and Canadian scholar, university professor, artist-painter, peace and feminist activist, and author of several academic and non-fiction publications in English, French and Modern Standard Arabic. I currently live in the United Arab Emirates.

What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is entitled ‘Reeds from Red Lips’. I founded an online movement for women’s rights in Southwestern Asia (i.e. Middle East) in 2012 that includes the works of more than 150 authors and artists from diverse identities and belongings, living in the region or in diaspora. My first inspiration was this movement per se and its valuable contributions to the advancement of women’s rights and peacebuilding and to highlighting unheard voices. My second inspiration came from questions I had to deal with in the last few years related to issues of gender and arts: What influence does gender have on art production in nowadays Southwestern Asia? Does gender embody everyday life experiences, including the artistic experience? Are gendered spaces of the region Orientalized, demystified, or both? Are bodies, especially women bodies, described asexualized, passive and silent? Do local authors and artists living in diaspora reproduce totalizing or essentialist tendencies? Are power relations between the former colonizers and colonized uncovered? Has the aftermath of the so-called Arab Spring given women a greater voice and are more individuals willing to talk about gender openly? Is the view that assumes that women in Southwestern Asia are oppressed and left out of cultural debates a misconception?

Southwestern Asia has unfortunately been too often stereotyped, viewed as homogeneous and demonized, but the authors and artists featured in this book deconstruct prejudices. They tell stories of the rich pasts and current diversities of this part of the world. They prove somehow that the local belongings, realities, memories and histories are not to be analyzed through a binary perspective – they are far too complex, a mélange of grey zones and multiple shades.

I would like to thank them all: Norah Al Nimer | Katia Aoun Hage | Malak El Gohary | Amal Chehayeb | Lana AlBeik | Dr. Frank Darwiche | Noor Husain | Joelle Sfeir | Maram El Hendy | Dr. Omar Sabbagh | Karma Bou Saab | Farah Nasser | Haeley Ahn | Masooma Rana | Sandra Malki | Maya Khadra | Nour Zahi Al-Hassanieh

Do you have any unusual writing habits?
None that I could think of. I usually write when I am inspired, and with a cup of coffee 🙂

What authors, or books have influenced you?
I have read many authors’ works, especially authors from Southwestern Asia: Amin Maalouf, Gebran Khalil Gebran, Etel Adnan, Rumi, etc.

What are you working on now?
Promoting this book, teaching, and preparing for my next art exhibition.

What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I use social media platforms and websites such as this one. Colleagues and friends help too.

Do you have any advice for new authors?
Passion, inspiration, creativity, courage, patience, humbleness, and an open mind.

What is the best advice you have ever heard?
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls” (Gebran Khalil Gebran)

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it” (Rumi)

What are you reading now?
I am re-reading some of the best women authors’ books in Southwestern Asia and North Africa such as Nawal El Saadawi, Assia Djebar and Fatema Mernissi but also poetry, prose and articles by new authors and students.

What’s next for you as a writer?
Learning from my mistakes, continuing on telling and sharing stories and building bridges.

What is your favorite book of all time?
Not one, but many… Every book I read threw lights on me.

http://pretty-hot.com/pamela-chrabieh/

Women who Inspire Us – Videos – International Women’s Event 2017

By one of my talented students, Diana Hammoud.

Published on Feb 28, 2017

This short video was made for our International Women’s Day event at the American University in Dubai. This was an event organized by the Women and Gender in The Middle East class with Dr. Pamela Chrabieh.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHVn8aJwZz0

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Published on Mar 12, 2017

About the International Women’s Day event “Women who Inspire us”, organized by my MEST 353 Women and Gender in the Middle East students and I at the American University in Dubai on February 26, 2017.

Video by Diana Hammoud.

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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Voices of Peace from Dubai to Odense. Dr. Pamela Chrabieh presents at Nordic Society for Middle Eastern Studies conference

img_20160922_104818AUD School of Arts and Sciences Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies Dr. Pamela Chrabieh attended the 10th Nordic Society for Middle Eastern Studies ‘Formation of Middle Eastern Subjectivities, Cultural Heritage, Global Structures and Local Practices’ conference at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense from September 21-24, 2016.

The Nordic Society is an independent and non-profit association for researchers in the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway) working on the Middle East and covering subjects in the humanities and social sciences, from antiquity to the present day. The associational conference takes place every third year in one of the four Nordic countries.

In September 2016, the Centre for Contemporary Middle East Studies at the University of Southern Denmark hosted the conference in Odense. “In the past decades, the exploration of the formation of modern subjectivities has developed into a core field of the humanities and social sciences. This strand of research is asking for social practices and codes; it investigates competing bodies of knowledge, social performances and emotions; interprets textual and visual forms of discourse; analyzes the interrelations of social practices with material artifacts and means of communication; observes individual forms of subjectivity as well as the interaction in social fields and classes.”[1]

Dr. Chrabieh presented a paper on the Gulf panel entitled “Voices of Peace through Arts in the UAE: Middle Eastern Studies’ students perceptions of Islam. She introduced the audience to the preliminary results of her ongoing qualitative research at the crossroads of Peace Education, Sciences of Religions and Art History on perceptions of Islam as it relates to Peace by 160 university students enrolled in Middle Eastern Studies courses at the American University in Dubai. The results of this research were compared to those of a previous academic inquiry Dr. Chrabieh conducted from 2007 to 2014 in three Lebanese universities with 3000 students.

According to Dr. Chrabieh, Art has an important role to play in the pursuit of peace, and is an amazing way to channel a sense of collective urgency such as through the Peace Art in Dubai project she implemented at the American University in Dubai. “As a result of various activities – art workshops and events, online exhibition, outdoor agoras -, students have been able to create individual and shared spaces and expressions through various media and art techniques that helped them debunk stereotypes of Islam, better understand each other’s beliefs and practices, and become active agents of peace.”

The Peace Art in Dubai project is an application of Dr. Chrabieh’s Peace Education approach which aims to cultivate the knowledge and practices of a culture of peace. So far, her Peace Art in Dubai blog features more than 160 artworks. She adds, “Students’ positive feedbacks at the end of every semester encouraged me to pursue this project, as well as the recent changes to the federal government ministries in the United Arab Emirates, including the establishment of a Ministry of Tolerance with a clear message calling citizens and expatriates to be agents of peace and to help the government in its task, first internally, and second, in exporting the model outside of the Emirati boundaries. Hopefully these new measures will contribute to call attention to the importance of peace education initiatives already taking place and open the door to the establishment and officialization of peace education programs in schools and universities.

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