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
By one of my talented students, Diana Hammoud.
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.
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.
With the American University in Dubai as one of its strategic partners, this motivational event took place on November 17, 2016 in the Zabeel Ladies Club and gathered 200 local and expat women, CEOs, managers, entrepreneurs, artists and activists. Women shared valuable insights and narratives about career progression enhancement, success in a highly competitive market and leadership potential consolidation.
Dr. Chrabieh started her speech by mentioning the diversity of definitions of “standing out from the crowd”, from knowing the rules of the game to doing things – not just dreaming or talking -, and from trying new paths rather than traveling the worn paths of accepted success to copying the successful others.
According to Dr. Chrabieh, there is no single recipe and every individual is called to search for their own combination of specific ingredients. She then introduced the audience to her war and peace experiences that have contributed to shaping her identity, as well as to personal stories illustrating the position and authenticity of being a postmodern nomad, a hybrid and a hyphen. She also used the metaphor of a coffee bean that transforms its environment when facing adversity, and that of a tightrope walker who is often out of balance, who even falls, but who is capable of standing up every time and even walking tall against the current.
When asked about her writing style, Dr. Chrabieh stated: “I have one foot in the academic sphere, and another in the larger society as an artist, an activist and a blogger. Depending on the audience/the readers’ contexts, I write in different styles. I care about access to information. Many academics believe that the more opaque one’s writing is, the more one is successful. It is part of an elitist game that has its advantages but confines academics to one type of audience, that of their peers, and perpetuates a hierarchy in terms of knowledge production – ‘the experts versus the ignorant mass’. It also reinforces the curse of knowledge – when one becomes unable to unpack complicated ideas in a coherent and simple manner. I hope that in the not so distant future, academic work will become more open, collaborative, holistic, caring and experiential. I hope for education to be co-created, based on shared understanding that is developed through multiple processes of being, and that brings about personal and social transformations. Beyond books and exams, education means engaging in public debates and learning/producing knowledge with others”.
P.M. Justin Trudeau gives Canada a first cabinet with ethnically diverse ministers and an equal number of men and women, and in my home country, Lebanon, women can’t even confer their nationality to their husbands or children.
As a naturalized Canadian citizen, I am proud of the gender equality under the law in the land of maple, poutine and hockey, and as a native Lebanese, I am more than ashamed of the discriminatory laws that deny women their basic rights in the land of the alphabet, the cedars and the thousands of years of rich history.
I am ashamed of the mountains and rivers of trash, of the abysmal State, of the wasted opportunities for change, and more, of the non-recognition of women as full nationals and citizens.
“Because it’s 2015″, Trudeau said, when asked about why parity was important to him, but in Lebanon 2015, the denial of basic rights places women in a subordinate second class position, and leads to marginalization and social exclusion.
Citizenship “is both a status (or an identity) and a practice or process of relating to the social world through the exercise of rights/protections and the fulfillment of obligations” (Meer and Sever, 2004). Citizenship should be inclusive, incorporating the interests and needs of all citizens, and an active concept, a relationship that promotes participation and agency, such as in Canada. But in Lebanon, the identity ascribed to women is in relation to men – passive, eternally immature and dependent – even if there are/were women who are/were able to re-shape their identities .
As long as most women are not able to make claims as citizens in their own rights nor to fully exercise political, economic, social and cultural rights, a Lebanese half-female cabinet is just a mirage in an expanding desert of ignorance.