Come experience a slice of Arab culture at Olympia’s first ever Arab Festival on October 6, 2012. You will meet Arabs and Arab-Americans living in our community and have a day to experience music, dancing, food, and stories from the diverse countries and cultures of the Middle East.
For years, Palestinian-American and Olympian Farihan Bushnaq attended and enjoyed the biennial Arab Festival at Seattle Center. She loved the entertainment, information, and food from the various Middle Eastern countries and, also, the chance to socialize with others who shared her Arab background. After retiring from her nursing job, Farihan asked herself, “Why not bring this experience to my community in Olympia?” She approached us at the Rachel Corrie Foundation for help, knowing our history of working for peace and human rights in the Middle East. We were enthusiastic and decided to make our 2012 annual Peace Works event a launch of Olympia’s first Arab Festival.
Past Peace Works have largely focused on political activism for human rights for all people in the Middle East, emphasizing the Palestine-Israel conflict. The Olympia Arab Festival will be primarily a social, cultural and educational event and will coincide with the city’s fall Arts Walk. With so many misunderstandings about Arab culture and history, we see the festival as a way to foster connections in the community and to build understanding, respect, and appreciation for all we share, as well as for our differences.
The festival planning committee is meeting regularly and has begun outreach to students, teachers, and those in the greater community who will find creative ways to participate in this inaugural Olympia event. Mark your calendar for October 6, 2012, and join us at the Olympia Community Center for this Olympia Arab Festival – an opportunity to explore new worlds with your friends and neighbors!
By Donna Schumann