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Middle East Month

April: Middle East Month

Illustration by Christian Derr

Lectures, films, workshops and more celebrate Middle East, North Africa

During April, the University of Delaware’s Newark Campus will transform to celebrate some of the many countries, cultures and contributions of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Coordinated by the Institute for Global Studies, the month will feature more than 15 lectures, programs and events on contemporary and ancient topics ranging from U.S.-Middle East foreign relations to Middle Eastern traditions of hospitality, Egyptian archaeology and more. Leading the events are over a dozen campus partners, resident faculty experts and members of UD’s international student community. All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.

The month kicks off with four events in the very first week. On Wednesday, April 5, Morris Library will host a showing of the Golden Globe- and Academy Award-nominated film The Kite Runner. On Thursday evening, April 6, the community is invited to attend the first installment of this spring’s Fulbright Lecture Series, with Daniel Green, associate professor of political science and international relations, who will discuss shifting relations with the U.S. and the Middle East. The event begins at 5 p.m. in the Harker Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Laboratory (ISE Lab) Atrium. Attendees are encouraged to stay and enjoy UDairy’s limited edition Baklava ice cream before heading over to the Roselle Center for the Arts for a 7:30 p.m. free concert of Arabic music performed by the acclaimed group, Layaali. The week culminates with an Israel Shabbat, sponsored by UD Hillel, at 5:30 p.m., Friday, April 7.

In the following week, highlights include a DIY Hummus event on April 11, Peace Corps information session on April 12, Arabian Nights belly dance performance on April 13 and an Afghani Kite Festival on the afternoon of April 14.

The Kite Festival begins at 1 p.m. on the Little Bob Recreation Field 1, where members of the UD community are invited to enjoy a snack, pick up prizes and decorate and fly their own kites as they learn about the traditional pastime from two of UD’s Fulbright Foreign Students. At 4 p.m. the event continues with the Office for International Students and Scholars weekly International Coffee Hour, in which Baklava ice cream will be served. Open to the public, the Coffee Hour takes place every Friday at Old College Hall.

Academic lectures, presentations and symposia begin late the following week and continue through April 28. On April 20, Ada Yonath, the first Israeli woman to receive a Nobel Prize, will present the Edward G. Jefferson Life Sciences Lecture on next-generation antibiotics.  Registration is required. Midday on April 21, the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures’ “Ecce Homo” Human Rights & Antiquities Symposium will feature a panel on “A Middle East in Crisis and the Failure of Ethics.” And, in tandem with Earth Month celebrations, select graduate students from the Middle East will present their current research on environmental topics on April 27.

On the evening of April 24, audiences are invited to “Travel the High Seas and Bleak Deserts in Antiquity” with Steven SIdebotham, professor of history. Focusing on ports such as Berenike in Egypt, where he has conducted archaeological excavations since 1994, Sidebotham will recount the dangers of “months-long travel between India and Egypt” that was a common practice in centuries of the Common Era, and “why so many were willing to take enormous personal and financial risks to undertake them.”

Additional events include a women’s-only event on April 24 entitled, “Voices of Middle Eastern Women,” a Middle Eastern “Hospitali-Tea” panel and tasting on April 26, and a month-long exhibit in Morris Library focusing on “19th Century Western Travels in the Middle East,” featuring items from UD’s Special Collections.

Middle East Month will come to a close on Friday, April 28, with a special presentation of the film “Destruction of Memory,” featuring refreshments and a guided discussion by Vicki Cassman, professor of art conservation; Reyhane Mirabootalebi, preservation studies Ph.D. student; and a representative from the University of Pennsylvania’s Heritage Center. The film delves into the “war against culture, and the battle to save it.”

Middle East Month has been generously cosponsored by Campus Recreation, the Center for Global & Area Studies, Development and Alumni Relations, the English Language Institute, Hillel, International Caucus, Islamic Studies, Morris Library, Office for International Students and Scholars, Residence Life and Housing, UD Sustainability Taskforce, and Departments of Art Conservation, History, Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and Political Science and International Relations.

For a complete schedule of Middle East Month events, visit the official website and follow along @UDGlobal on Instagram and Twitter. Engage using the hashtag #UDMENA.

Those with questions are encouraged to contact the Institute for Global Studies.

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