My “Peace, Islam and the Arts in Dubai” was recently published in Hawliyat, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Journal at the University of Balamand, Lebanon. Issue 18, 2017-2018, p. 111-134.
Right as the first half of the semester approached its conclusion, and students of the American University in Dubai were preparing for their Spring Break, Professors Pamela Chrabieh and Nadia Wardeh gave the university’s students something to contemplate and to cherish as they hosted a Women’s Day event.
The constant strive for a progressive future encourages us all to battle for equality. One of the daily battles we must involve ourselves in is of course, to fight for women’s right and equality. The never ending dispute is personal to us all, and on Women’s Day we all had a chance for us to reflect and empathize with each other.
From a live play where the traditional gender norms were reversed in order to put certain issues in perspective, to poetry recitals where students addressed and shared their personal struggles, the university event successfully made its students witnesses on the daily issues that women go through.
Besides the live performances, students from Professor Chrabieh and Wardeh’s classes brought in home made dishes and shared their own stories about how those foods had feminist connotations, be it on a societal or personal level. The food included; Vine Leaves, Kunafa, Cupcakes, hummus among other things.
While the food could have been the main attraction that motivated the students to partake in the event, the Arabic music playing in the background accompanied by several relevant activities and the artwork on display created a vibe that encouraged the students to stick around for the entire hour. Other than students, professors and faculty members also joined in on the annual event.
While the event was meant to be enjoyable to those in attendance, Professor Pamela Chrabieh also wanted there to be an educational factor. “As I see it, the engagement of governments in Southwestern Asia and North Africa is important for gender inclusiveness and equality progress, but certainly not enough; any top down change initiative needs to be communicated appropriately through official and non-official channels such as education (in schools and universities), knowledge production and dissemination (research centers, independent scholars), media campaigns and continuous awareness programs (traditional media, social media), along within the private sphere” she said.
Equality, or lack thereof has created an ubiquitous problem in this particular region, and while there are a plethora of men who refuse to even address this issue, it was uplifting to see so many men from the younger generation show interest in having a progressive future where equality is expected and common.
The success of this year’s event leaves us all hopeful to what the Professors and their students have in stored for next year.
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.
In a celebration of feminist ideals and accomplishments amongst Middle Eastern women, American University in Dubai professors Pamela Chrabieh and Nadia Wardeh will be hosting an event at the AUD campus on Thursday, the 8th of March.
Women’s Day, an internationally celebrated and recognized holiday, made to appreciate and commemorate female rights and empowerment, is a particularly special time of year for many feminists on a global scale.
Professor Chrabieh, a feminist and activist, who teaches a course on the topic of Women and Gender in the Middle East is organizing the event.
“This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #PressforProgress, following the alarming World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report that showed gender parity will only be attainable 200 years from now” said professor Pamela Chrabieh.
“The cultural event at AUD is a local contribution to this year’s theme. We will gather to motivate the AUD community to think, act and be gender inclusive, and call-to-action for further positive gains for women in Southwestern Asia and North Africa,” she added.
Still, despite being led by professor Chrabieh, the main contributors are none other than her students. They will be cooking food relevant to the event, initiating activities and creating performances including a short play, poetry recital, and live paintings. The food will include traditional Arabic food such as vine leaves and hummus and also dessert such as cupcakes. Preparations for the even began back in early February so expectations are rather high.
“I’m excited to see what the students bring forth because they’re all very passionate feminists,” said Noor Kandil, a student involved with the preparations. “This event celebrates the cultural background, we honor our ancestors by sharing their food recipes and stories” she added.
This event is not just a celebration of women’s accomplishments and feminists’ achievements, but to also engage and educate AUD students on Middle Eastern feminism, what it stands for and its impact of modern society.
To take part in the event, visit the E-Lawn from 1-2pm on the 8th of March.
Photo Credit: Nelly Mahrous
Join us on March 8, enjoy the live visual, performative and culinary productions and initiatives, and let us collectively #PressforProgress. We will gather to motivate the local community to think, act and be gender inclusive, and call-to-action for further positive gains for women in Southwestern Asia and North Africa.
READ THE ARTICLE HERE: http://www.darelmachreq.com/ar/desc-almachreq-cat/262
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