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UNL Hosts Annual ‘Big Arabic Day’ to Celebrate Arabic Language, Culture

posted on: Mar 7, 2019

UNL Hosts Annual ‘Big Arabic Day’ to Celebrate Arabic Language, Culture

SOURCE: THE DAILY NEBRASKAN

BY: FAITH IDACHABA

Students and faculty at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln can learn about Arabic culture through music and art at the sixth annual Big Arabic Day on Thursday, March 7.

The UNL Arabic Studies Program is organizing the event, which will feature two workshops and a panel discussion, according to Arabic language and culture professor Abla Hasan.

Hasan started the event when she came to UNL in 2013. She said she felt it was an excellent opportunity to do community outreach and promote the Arabic Studies program.

The event will kick off with an Arabic singing and music workshop from 1:30 to 2:20 p.m in Avery Hall 112.

Hassan Almokhreq, a graduate student in the political science department, said he believes music is an excellent representation of the Arabic culture.

“Even though you may not speak the [Arabic] language, you can still enjoy the music,” he said.

The event will continue with an Arabic calligraphy workshop from 3:30 to 4:20 p.m. at Oldfather Hall 205. Hasan said calligraphy is also an essential part of Arabic culture.

“[Calligraphy] can be found on the side of mosques,” she said. “It’s a part of Arabic history.”

Hasan said Arabic calligraphists have taught in various classes in the department and felt she should extend the opportunity to learn Arabic calligraphy to the public.

“We need to get out of the walls of UNL, and I thought, ‘Why not open it up to the public?’” she said.

The event will conclude with an Arabic dinner and panel discussion on Arabic language and guidance on active learning from 5 to 7 p.m. at Burnett Hall 115.

The panel features UNL students and faculty, as well as the CEO of MELCC Inc., a Middle East cultural and learning center.

Hasan said she plans the event during the year and researches the Arabic community to decide what to include in the celebration.

“I try to figure out what’s relevant in the Arabic community,” she said.

Patty Simpson, the chair of the UNL Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, said she thinks Big Arabic Day’s events bring fresh perspectives on the world of Arabic and Islamic cultures to Lincoln.

“These become part of the way we understand ourselves and our communities,” she said in an email. “I cannot thank Dr. Hasan enough for her tireless efforts to organize this celebration of knowledge, on a global and local scale.”

Hasan said the Arabic culture is unlike other cultures and the awareness the event brings can benefit the entire UNL community.

“We’re open to global teaching and learning,” she said. “We prepare all students to be global citizens, regardless of major.”

Almokhreq said he hopes the event will give students and faculty the opportunity to learn about another culture from an academic perspective.

“UNL is a home for students from 133 different countries,” he said. “I believe students and community members have a great opportunity to explore the world without leaving campus.”