2016 Arab Festival Detailed Program
Have you seen our line-up? Below, please find the groups, individual presenters, performers and other partners joining Shuruq Olympia Arab Festival on October 7th and 8th 2016 this year and the full schedule of events. See the summary here.
Mahrajan al-Arabi Stage DETAILS
11:00 AM Welcome to Shuruq III!—Sy Khan
11:15-12:00 PM Argan Band
Argan Band is made up of Aziz Marani (Vocals, Percussion), Khalid Tazarni (Vocals, Banjo, Sentir), Patrick Lenon (Drums, Percussion), and Joe Kinzer (Oud). Argan Band plays a fusion of traditional and modern Moroccan music with Funk, Reggae, and American roots music. Their set is made up of traditional Moroccan tunes as well as originals.
12:00-12:30 PM Khaldoun Ramzi
Khaldoun Ramzi is an Iraqi singer from Kent, Washington.
12:45 PM Welcome from City of Olympia—Mayor Pro Tem Nathaniel Jones
1:00-1:45 PM Fashions of the Arab World—Farihan Bushnaq
2:00-2:45 PM Al-Andalus Ensemble
This remarkable musical group out of Portland is internationally known for a “creative fusion which etches a fine line between the exquisite and raw, the passionate and powerful while treating the listener to a confluence of the best of the East and West.” With extraordinary breadth and creativity, these musicians soulfully merge classical, jazz and contemporary music with musical traditions from the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.
3:00-3:45 PM House of Tarab
This Seattle-based ensemble performs vintage Arabic Music with a heavy cabaret touch. “Tarab” is a state of ecstasy and surrender one enters while listening with body and soul to music – whether the dancing strings of the oud, the weeping melody of the violin, the mystical call of the nay, or the pulsating rhythm of the drums. Musicians and their instruments include: Stephen Elaimy-Oud, David McGrath-Nay, Michel Nageub-Keyboard, Sean Daly-Bass, Jane Hall-Riqq/Daff, Erik Brown-Tablah.
3:30-3:50 PM Henna
Henna is a teacher, student, traveler, and mother. In Henna’s words, “Over the last fifteen years, belly dance has been my passion, my best friend, and my path. It is the medium that I use to interpret my world and to celebrate all of the joys and sorrows of life. I have been fortunate to find teachers who have inspired and encouraged me along the way. With enormous gratitude, I strive to do the same for my students and continue to seek the mentorship of master dancers and teachers around the world.”
4:00-4:45 PM Jafra Dabke Dance Team
From “baby steps to stomps,” this Seattle dance troupe offers an energizing, interactive performance of Middle Eastern rhythms and the traditional Palestinian folk dance known as “Dabke.” Through their practice and performance, the group strives to preserve and promote original Arab culture.
4:45-5:00 PM Closing—Sy Khan
Shuruq (Sunrise) Stage DETAILS
11:00AM-2:00PM Global Days of Listening—Douglas Mackey
Global Days of Listening coordinator Douglas Mackey will provide an opportunity for people to participate in phone/Skype conversations with people living in conflict zones in Arab countries. Our goal is to build community of friendship and mutual respect around the world.
11:00AM-11:45 AM Arabic in 45 Minutes—Sally Brownfield & Saif Alsarhani
Sally Brownfield has degrees in French, Education and Linguistics. She has taught ESL in Morocco, Algeria and Kuwait and French in Tacoma for 20 years. Saif Alsarhani is a 22-year-old student at St. Martin’s University where he is currently the President of the Arabic Club. He’s from Saudi Arabia.
12:00-12:45 PM Children’s Story Time
1:00-1:15 PM Reading for All Ages—Nadia Reimer
Nadia has selected poems (in Arabic and English) and short stories of dramatic situations from each of her three novels; the selections are serious, humorous, and reflective. Reimer lives in Eastern Washington and is a retired high school teacher of English and Spanish. Her career began with translating documents for a USAID project in Amman, Jordan, and teaching writing skills at Eastern Washington University and Big Bend Community College. She holds an M.F.A. degree in Creative writing with special emphasis in Composition and Rhetoric. Nadia’s travels to several countries in Europe, Central and South America, and the Middle East enriched her involvement and interest in cultural diversity and the pursuit for peace and justice.
2:00-4:00 PM Coffee Readings & Spiritual Counseling—Haifa Sophia Erickson
Haifa is a teacher, translator and a counselor. She has conducted and provided spiritual counseling as both a hobby for entertainment and fundraising all over the world.
2:15-2:45 PM Palestinian Art—Huda Giddens
Huda Giddens was born to Palestinian parents and spent her childhood in Cairo, Jerusalem, and Lebanon. After earning a degree from Beirut College for Women, she came to the U.S. to pursue study in Early Childhood Education. Huda founded a school for young children in Seattle– now named the Giddens School in her honor. For twelve years, she served as an early childhood consultant and teacher trainer in Gaza, in Bedouin communities, and at Bethlehem University. She is active with The Palestinian Heritage Group and is a tireless advocate for Palestinian human rights.
3:00-3:45 PM Music—Tarik Bentlemsani
Tarik Bentlemsani is a guitarist, instructor, and composer based in Olympia, WA., and of Algerian heritage. He studied Jazz with Chris Bruya at Central Washington University and classical guitar with James Durkee. His current projects include playing with the Brown Edition—an 8 piece Funk band, Podunk Funk—a progressive acoustic string band, Climate Change—an Afro-Caribbean ensemble, Oly Jam Quartet—an instrumental jazz combo, and Tarik and Lizzy duo—performing swing era standards.
Montada (Forum) Stage DETAILS
11:00-11:45 AM Student Solidarities Panel—Lucas Ayenew, Shani Banai, Tessa Courtney, Grecia Ramirez Tapia
Current students and graduates from The Evergreen State College (TESC), with a wide array of activist and academic interests, draw links to scholarship on Israel-Palestine and Palestine Solidarity work.
Lucas Ayenew is in his second year at TESC and is an active student organizer for the Olympia Farmworker Justice Collective, Olympia Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS), and Students for Justice in Palestine. Lucas wrote the joint ballot initiative in 2016 that allowed for the student body to vote—overwhelmingly in favor of boycotting both Sabra Humus and Driscoll’s Berries, with one click.
Shani Banai is a TESC student and an organizer with the Olympia Farmworker Justice Collective.
Tessa Courtney is a senior at TESC studying political economy, with a special emphasis on the Middle East. This quarter she is interning at the Rachel Corrie Foundation, where she is exploring Approaches to Palestinian Independence. When she graduates, she hopes to conduct advocacy work on behalf of Middle Eastern refugee populations.
Grecia Ramirez Tapia is a 2016 graduate of TESC and co-founder of the Olympia Farmworker Justice Collective. Grecia was instrumental in leading the spring 2016 Driscoll-Sabra Boycott at TESC, and also worked on the Driscoll Boycott in the greater Olympia area.
12:00-12:45 PM Poetry Reading/Workshop—Maged Zaher, Mo Sati
Maged Zaher is the author of Thank You For The Window Office (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2012), The Revolution Happened and You Didn’t Call Me (Tinfish Press, 2012), and Potrait of the Poet as an Engineer (Pressed Wafer, 2009). His collaborative work with the Australian poet Pam Brown, Farout Library Software, was published by Tinfish Press in 2007. His translations of contemporary Egyptian poetry have appeared in Jacket Magazine, Banipal, and Denver Quarterly. He has performed his work at Subtext, Bumbershoot, the Kootenay School of Writing, St. Marks Project, The Evergreen State College, and The American University in Cairo. Maged is the recipient of the 2013 Genius Award in Literature from the Seattle weekly, The Stranger.
Mo Sati was born in Palestine. He grew up in a refugee camp in the north of Jordan and now lives in the Bay Area, where he participates in events by sharing his art work and poetry. He writes about being an uprooted refugee and tells stories of the people of Palestine living under occupation, invasion, oppression, and displacement.
1:00-1:45 PM Arab-American Artists Share their Work—Kay Taropoulsi, Amjad Faur & Irum Sheikh
Koloud ‘Kay’ Tarapolsi is a Libyan American who creates art and crafts to promote a positive image of Arab culture. She sells these items under her company, A Crafty Arab. Kay founded the international nonprofit Arab Artists Resources & Training, was an Arts Commissioner for the City of Redmond for six years, served on the Salaam Cultural Museum board and the African Council at SAM, and is the current Arabic storyteller for the King County Library System. Kay was the Board Director of the Arab Center of Washington from 2005 to 2007, and was a producer of the 2007 Seattle Arab Festival.
Amjad Faur received his M.F.A. in photography from the University of Oregon in 2005, where he first began researching and developing bodies of work addressing the social, historical, political and religious facets of the Middle East. His father’s family is Bedouin, geographically split between Jordan and Palestine. His mother’s family has deep roots in the American South, specifically Northwest Arkansas. He is currently represented by PDX Contemporary Art in Portland, Oregon. Amjad now resides in Olympia, Washington, where he teaches photography and visual culture at The Evergreen State College.
Dr. Irum Shiekh, a filmmaker, oral historian and a scholar, conducts research around issues of social justice, gender, immigration, civil liberties, political activism and labor. Her book, Detained Without Cause: Muslims’ Stories of Detention and Deportation in America after 9/11(Palgrave/Macmillan, 2011) has received excellent reviews. From 2009-2011, she was a Fulbright scholar in Palestine where she taught courses about Palestinian Cinema and the images of Arabs and Muslims in Hollywood films. Dr. Shiekh’s prior work includes the films On Strike Ethnic Studies and Hidden Internment: The Art Shibayama Story. Currently, she is working on a documentary about the 9th floor of the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, and a documentary about the Muslim matrilineal culture in West Sumatra, Indonesia.
2:00-2:45 PM Syria: War, Trauma & Resilience—Ayah Alhamdan & Aram Shahabian
10-year-old Ayah Alhamdan has lived in Seattle with her parents and five siblings since November of 2015. She is from a family of eight that spent the three previous years in a refugee camp in Jordan, after fleeing their home in Darayya, Syria, in 2012. After almost one year in America, all six kids are attending school and the parents are attending ESL classes at South Seattle Community College. In addition, Ayah’s eldest brother is working part-time as a busser at a Bellevue-based restaurant, and Ayah’s mother is working part-time as a school janitor near the family’s home. Ayah’s father, Bassam (a night watchman in Syria who also did some light farming on the family’s land), has not yet found work that aligns with his skill-set, English-capability and the family’s schedule. In addition to support provided by the State of Washington and the family’s sponsoring organization, World Relief, the Alhamdan family has received love and support from a diverse group of Northwest citizens hoping to ease the family’s resettlement process during their first year. This support has included provisions of clothing, gift cards, food, household furnishings, smart phones, tablets, laptops, driving lessons, a vehicle, bikes, private in-home English tutors, connections to neighborhood resources, cultural experiences and classes, and assistance to prepare for and find jobs. Muslim Housing Authority (MHA) has also provided the family with a heavily-subsidized Seattle-area apartment. The greatest need at this juncture is a good job for Ayah’s father, Bassam Alhamdan.
Aram Shabanian is currently enrolled at The Evergreen State College focusing on the modern history of the Middle East/North Africa and Eastern Europe. In his spare time, he does OSMINT (Open-Source Social Media Intelligence) and tracks conflicts around the globe. His goal is to work in the Foreign Service and eventually found a think tank with several other like-minded individuals.
3:00-3:45 PM Islamophobia, Anti-Arab Racism, and Political Discourse—Dr. Sarah Eltantawi & Dr. Karam Dana
Dr. Sarah Eltantawi and Dr. Karam Dana explore the steep rise in Islamophobia since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which has accelerated sharply in the course of the current 2016 presidential election season. This panel explores the different forms Islamophobia has taken over the past fifteen years and offers historical analogies to try to make sense of this form of xenophobia. We explore possible anti-racist solutions to this growing problem.
Dr. Sarah Eltantawi is a social and intellectual historian of contemporary Islam. She is a member of the faculty in Comparative Religion and Islamic Studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA (Asst. Prof), and a Research Scholar at the Middle East Center of the University of Washington, Seattle. Her forthcoming book, Sharia on Trial: Stoning and the Islamic Revolution in Northern Nigeria (University of California, 2017), examines why Northern Nigerians took to the streets starting in 1999 to demand the reimplementation of sharia law, using the stoning punishment and the trial of Amina Lawal as a lens. Eltantawi earned her Ph.D. in the Study of Religion in 2012 from Harvard University, and has held fellowships at Brandeis University, UC Berkeley, and at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin. She obtained an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University and a B.A. in Rhetoric and English literature from UC Berkeley.
Dr. Karam Dana is a Palestinian-American academic. He is Assistant Professor of Middle East and Islamic Studies at the University of Washington Bothell. He served previously on the faculty of Harvard University and Tufts University. His research explores how religious identity and religiosity inform political identities and participation in the Middle East context and transnationally. Dr. Dana is the co-principal investigator of the Muslim American Public Opinion Survey (MAPOS) and the Director of the American Muslim Research Institute (AMRI), which is housed at the University of Washington Bothell.
Moderators/Forum Coordinators: Dr. Sarah Eltantawi & Dr. Therese Saliba
Sarah Eltantawi—see bio above.
Therese Saliba is currently an academic dean and faculty of Third World feminist studies at The Evergreen State College, and a former Fulbright scholar in Palestine. She is co-editor of Gender, Politics and Islam and Intersections: Gender, Nation and Community in Arab Women’s Novels, and serves on the advisory boards for the Brill’s Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures online and the Gaza Mental Health Foundation.