MELC Photo Exhibit
On Sunday the Middle Eastern Leadership Council (MELC) hosted a photo exhibit featuring shots taken from around the Middle East. Students contributed photos from their travels, and event attendees voted on the winning images. The winners were Jacob Kohn, Karla Kreidie, and and Melanie Snail.
The Muslim Students Association (MSA) hosted college students from surrounding areas for a weekend of fun, bonding, and faith. Students attended Islamic lectures and discussions, enjoyed a barbeque picnic and field day, and a hike at Humpback Rock. Friday night ended with basketball and a girls’ night out party.
Passing of the Pita Bread
At 4 pm Friday April 13 the Middle Eastern Leadership Council (MELC) “passed the pita bread” to the upcoming leaders of the organization. The group celebrated the achievements of the Middle Eastern Community this year, accompanied with good food and a capella music by the Harmonious Hoos.
On 4 pm Sunday April 8 the Afghan Students Association (ASA) hosted Afghan Day in the Kaleidoscope Room in Newcomb Hall. The event started off with a presentation on Afghan history, as well as poetry readings in Farsi and Pashto, and a brief presentation on the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and their work in the country. Attendees enjoyed traditional Afghan food and dance, and had an opportunity to learn about and celebrate Afghan culture.
On Wednesday April 4 the Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine (SPJP) screened the film Budrus as part of the Human Rights Film Festival. The film highlighted the non-violent resistance efforts carried out by a small village in the West Bank, Palestine, to protest the building of a separation wall on their land. Israelis cited the need for a barrier to prevent terrorist activity entering Israel, but at various points the wall meant the separation of Palestinians from some of their farmland. The film was followed by presentations on Palestinian non-violent resistance, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and a dialogue on the benefits and setbacks of various types of resistance.
The Persian Cultural Society and the Middle Eastern Leadership Council came together on March 31 to sponsor Persian Cultural Night at Newcomb Ballroom. The night was full of poetry readings, dances, skits, and music. The goal of the event was to end the misrepresented picture of Iranian culture that has been made due to modern-day political, economic, and religious ideologies. Persian Cultural Night brought about 170 people from the University Community and taught them how beautiful the Iranian culture really is. At the end of the night all guests were offered free food catered by Kabob Palace and were asked to help donate money to the worthy nonprofit organization “Children of Persia.” Over $100 was raised for the organization.
Sudan Info Session
On Thursday, March 29th the African Studies Initiative (ASI) hosted an information session and panel about Sudan. The idea was originally proposed by two students to the ASI organization, Anfal Adam (third year) and Reem Hashim (first year), in hopes to raise awareness about the recently divided country into two separate countries. Along with the genocide in Darfur, with which many people seem to be familiar, this event sought to inform people on Sudan and South Sudan’s much deeper, social, political, and economic issues–crucial issues that are often ignored.The guest speaker was Elnour Adam, who is the president of Darfur Rehabilitation Project. Adam is knowledgeable on various aspects of the country and has worked in and traveled to every region of Sudan. The information started with Anfal Adam giving a timeline of events that took place in the country dating back to its colonization. Mr. Elnour Adam presented the social and political conflicts of all the regions/states of Sudan, and what lead to the official divide between the north and south. Reem Hashim closed the presentation with the economic implications of Sudan and South Sudan’s post-secession situation. At the end of the presentations, the speakers took questions from the audience in which many great questions were brought to the floor. Overall, they have received great feedback and the attendees felt that they gained a great amount of knowledge that they would have otherwise never known.
Thursday Mar 22 at 7 pm in Maury 209 the Muslim Students Association (MSA) invited members of the University community to a documentary on Islam Awareness as part of the series of events on Islam Awareness month (see ODOS calendar). The documentary featured the experience of a Christian man from West Virginia who spent thirty days as a Muslim in Dearborn, Michigan, the largest American Muslim community. The documentary was followed by a brief discussion.
On Thursday, March 15 at 7:30pm members of the University community convened in Nau Auditorium for a special lecture and discussion on the Syrian uprisings. Professor William Quandt, Syrian American Council-DC/VA Chapter President Mazen Ayoubi, Syrian activist Dr. Essam Tellawi, MESALC Adjunct Instructor Roy Hange, and Syrian student Samia Sekkarie discussed the current situation and possible solutions, as well as American and foreign policy implications.
Habibi Rasak Kharban
Students gathered at 6 pm Monday evening in Maury 209 for a film screening of “Habibi Rasak Kharban” (Darling, There’s Something Wrong with Your Head) written and directed by U.Va. alumna Susan Youssef. The film presents a modern version of the 7th century story “Layla and Majnun” through the experience of two young Palestinian lovers in Gaza. The director was also present to provide information about the film and take questions after the screening.
On Friday, Feb. 24 the Middle Eastern Leadership Council (MELC) hosted a MELC Friday event in Lawn Room 24 dedicated toward honoring the first-years from the Middle Eastern community. Attendees enjoyed Afghan curries, bread, and hummus and pita, along with tea and good company. Congratulations to the first-years for your achievements!
On Sunday, Feb. 19 the Middle Eastern Mentorship Program (MEMP) convened in the Newcomb Lounge to discuss recruitment for the coming academic year. Students who had been a part of MEMP this year were encouraged to re-apply to be mentors and executive members. Julie Roa, Coordinator for Multicultural Student Services in the Office of the Dean of Students (ODOS), also encouraged MEMP members to consider applying for the ODOS student internship.
On Monday, Feb. 13 Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine (SPJP) held a fundraiser in the form of a bazaar to raise money for children’s education in Palestine. SPJP and supporters gathered in Newcomb Lounge to sell traditional scarves, jewelry, embroidery, and other cultural items. $2,000 were raised by the end of the evening; enough to support three children in Palestine through a year of school. The bazaar included a henna station, a dabke (step dance) workshop, and featured pictures drawn by Palestinian children from Gaza. The theme of the evening was “Make the Children of Palestine Your Valentine.”
PCS Featured at MELC Fridays
On Friday Feb 10, 2012 the Persian Cultural Society (PCS) was the organization specially featured for the Middle Eastern Leadership Council (MELC) Friday event in Lawn Room 24. Students celebrated the end of the week with tea, hummus, chips, and Persian music, and announcements were made concerning PCS events for the semester. The room was packed full, but that only added to a warm feeling of community.
Ali Abu Nimah
On Monday evening at 8 pm in Wilson 402 Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine (SPJP) hosted guest speaker Ali Abu Nimah, founder of the Electronic Intifada. Mr. Abu Nimah presented data that shed light on the political, demographic, and social problems linked to the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict. He then posited that the solution to the conflict is one single state that comprehensively incorporates all the inhabitants of the region. The presentation was followed by time allotted for questions from the audience.
The potluck was the Persian Cultural Society’s (PCS) first social of the semester that brought everyone together for food, fun, and community. Attendants brought their favorite Persian dishes to share with the group in order to showcase Persian cuisine. It was a very successful night and everyone enjoyed the food as well as the music and dancing.
Not In Our Town
The Latino Student Alliance (LSA) along with the Middle Eastern Leadership Council (MELC), American Indian Student Union (AISU), University & Community Action for Racial Equity (UCARE), the Office of the Dean of Students (ODOS), and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities co-sponsored an event titled Not In Our Town Sunday January 29 at 4 pm in Nau 101. The documentary film by the same title was screened, which chronicled events in the town of Patchogue, New York, following a hate crime committed against Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorian immigrant. The film followed the mayor of Patchogue and the local community as they sought to find healing and reconciliation after the murder. In light of the University’s celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s fight against discrimination, students, staff, faculty, and community members gathered to learn lessons from the documentary and use them to create an environment more welcoming to diversity.