by NURA SMADI for ISLAMiCommentary on NOVEMBER 16, 2012:
Open to Duke students, faculty, and the local community, the event was a celebration of Arabic and Hebrew art and literature, diversity, and cultural coexistence and understanding.
Duke students from the Arabic and Hebrew departments presented videos and traditional poems, songs, and short stories, and even took a look at pop-culture in the Arab world. With more than thirty students from the Arabic and Hebrew departments on stage, the event was a powerful experience for students and community members in attendance.
In addition to student presentations, the audience had the opportunity to listen to and interact with a panel of professors from the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Department (AMES) that included Iraqi native Professor Abdul Sattar Al Mamouri (Professor of Comparative Literature and Middle East Studies) and Professor Shai Ginsburg (Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies specializing in Hebrew language and culture).
Al Mamouri and Ginsburg answered questions from moderator Nicholas Grace and the audience about some of the differences between Arabic and Hebrew cultures and languages.
“The Hebrew – Arabic Night was a cultural event that emphasized Duke’s students ability to work together in a manner that displays their commitment to coexistence and cooperation on academic and cultural levels,” said Al Mamouri.
The event was a great success and an invaluable experience for all – a tradition that the AMES Department hopes to continue next year.
Nura Smadi is a freshman at Duke University. photo of “Arabic/Hebrew Night” above courtesy of Nura Smadi