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New Year, New Calendar


Welcome to the new year! 2013 is shaping up to be an exciting one for CAC and we are very happy to announce several programs.

If you haven't already, don't forget to register for our Winter cultural classes. (Just a note - we have changed the day of our "Inta wa Ana" classes from Thursday to Friday. See details below.) Also, if you are looking for an enriching after-school activity for your teenager, don't miss out on our Youth Theater Project. More details below.

We are also happy to host Dr. Amahl Bishara. She will be reading and signing her book, Back Stories, a study of journalism and its influence on the Palestinian issue. More details here.

Finally, our monthly movie nights are back! Make sure to check out our schedule for the next few months. This series is co-sponsored by the Joiner Center at the UMass Boston.

Around town, the Arab American National Museum is looking for a Director.  Job details posted below.  And you still have time to apply to the White House Internship program.

As always, if you have any questions, comments, and/or ideas, please email us at info@cacboston.org.

Center for Arabic Culture

 classesWinter Cultural Classes
CAC is very excited to announce our new schedule for our winter cultural classes.  Online registration is now open. You can see a complete schedule and related details by clicking here.

We will be offering the following classes during the Winter session (January - March):

1. Ana wa Inta - You and Me - parent/child classes

2. Calligraphy classSession I & Session II

3. Colloquial Arabic
Beginners Levantine: Sat. at 10-11:30 - Session I & Session II
Intermediate Levantine: Sat. at 12-1:30- Session I & Session II
Moroccan Colloquial: Sat. at 1:40-3 - Session I & Session II  
youthYouth Theater Project

In Mahmoud Darwish's poem, Tibaaq, he, imagined a conversation with Edward Said about identity,  Sa'id said:

I come from that place. I come from here, and I am neither here nor there. I have two names that come together but pull apart....It is we who fashion our identity, it is not hereditary...

Recently, Arab-Americans have been in the spotlight of American media and thought.  Reduced to faceless stereotypes, they are often treated as an "other" that is separate from the American experience. CAC's mission is to put a face to these faceless stereotypes and celebrate the rich diversity of Arab culture by actively promoting Arab and Arab-American artists and programs in the New England region.

Now is an especially dramatic time. Upheaval in the Middle East is challenging entrenched stereotypes and assumptions. At the second anniversary of 9/11, suspicion and mistrust of Arab-Americans still exists.  In a world of conflicting messages, it can be especially difficult for our youth to explore their identity in a safe place.

At CAC, we believe that art can be an effective means of bringing attention to society's important issues.  This winter, we will offer a youth program that will focus on Arab-identity in the US through the use of theater.  This program will include several artistic and academic activities that our children can use to approach a better understanding of their own chosen identity. They will learn how to physically express their own ideas using traditional drama methods. Before starting rehearsals, we will have focused workshops and discussions around the theme of Arab-American identity which will be supplemented with short video clips, poems and other literary works. At the end of the program, the youth will participate in a play that will be open to the public.

The emphasis of this program is not on the final production but rather on the benefit to our youth.  Without expressing any political or religious preferences, participants will be encouraged to define their identity at home and in public on their terms. Emphasis is put on allowing participants to express their own thoughts and ideas with no outside influence.  No matter the conclusion a participant reaches about their identity, it will be honored and respected.

How to Join:
The workshop is open to high school students, but limited to a maximum of 12 participants and is on a first-come, first-serve basis. It will be led by Nidal al-Azraq.

If you're interested, please email us at: info@cacboston.org, subject title "Youth Theater Project."  All meetings will be held at CAC in Somerville, 191 Highland Avenue, 02143. 
movieMonthly Movie Nights - "A New Look at the Middle East" through Cinema
Join us every month for a compelling film featuring the Middle East. Listings and dates below. Free and open to the public. $5 suggested donation.

All films co-sponsored by the Joiner Center at UMass Boston.


"Dunia Kiss Me Not on the Eyes"
Friday, January 25 @ 7 pm

A young student of the arts, Dunia aspires to be a professional dancer and poet. Her artistic expression is inhibited, however, by her inability to experience and express desire. Dunia's reasoning that women should not move their bodies to evoke an act of love is challenged by the ardent public intellectual Dr. Beshir-played by Egyptian superstar singer Mohammed Mounir.


With his help, Dunia begins an all-consuming search for ecstasy in poetry, dance and music-taking us into the world of women in a society that both fetishizes and oppresses female sexuality. Ultimately, Dunia learns that she must confront the traditions that have destroyed her capacity for pleasure before she will be able to experience it.




A New Day in Old Sana'a
Friday, February 22 @ 7pm 

In this achingly romantic tale, handsome young Tariq is about to marry Bilquis, eldest daughter of a prominent and powerful judge. But as he wanders the ancient city of Sana'a late one night, he spots a beautiful young woman dancing in the street and falls madly in love with her. Before long, the young groom must choose between following his heart and protecting his family's honor. Filmed entirely on location in the ancient city of Sana'a, this exquisite film is the first feature ever to come out of Yemen.





Veiled Voices
Friday, March 22 @ 7pm

Women across the Arab world are redefining their role as leaders in Islam. In director Brigid Maher's insightful documentary film, Veiled Voices , three influential women Islamic leaders are profiled-along with their families and the communities in which they serve:  Ghina Hammoud in Lebanon, Dr. Du'ad Saleh in Egypt and Huda al-Habash in Syria.


Filmed over the course of two years, Veiled Voices reveals a world rarely documented, exploring both the public and private lives of these women. As a divorced woman, Ghina Hammoud faces a personal challenge in gaining legitimacy as a leader, since divorce is controversial in communities throughout Lebanon. In Egypt, Dr. Su'ad Saleh must continually fight for public recognition by the Egyptian religious authority at al-Azhar-the famous Cairo mosque and university founded in the 10th century. Huda al-Habash in Damascus enjoys both institutional support and the support of her husband as she teaches women in Syria and lectures all over the Middle East, helping others "move...from ignorance to knowledge."


The three personal stories featured in Veiled Voices give insight into how Muslim women are increasingly willing to challenge the status quo from within their religion, promoting Islam as a powerful force for positive transformation in the world.



My Home: Your War
Friday, April 26 @ 7pm 

MY HOME - YOUR WAR offers an extraordinary look at the effect of the Iraq war through the eyes of an ordinary Iraqi woman. Shot in Baghdad over three years that span the time before, during and after the invasion of Iraq, this profoundly moving film brings a perspective that - until now - has rarely been available to U.S. audiences. 

This film combines insightful interviews with Layla Hassan and her family, vibrant scenes of Baghdad and intimate footage shot by Layla herself to paint a compelling picture of how the war has affected average Iraqis. As Islamic fundamentalism takes hold in the chaos of Baghdad, her shy teenage son turns to militancy, her once-progressive sister dons the veil, and whatever freedom Layla once had under Saddam Hussein's secular rule is steadily being eroded. While facts about the Iraq war garner much U.S. media attention, My Home - Your War is a deeply compelling account of something seldom discussed: how the Iraq war has created a situation where the rise of fundamentalism is putting women's rights increasingly at risk.

bookBack Stories, a book reading and signing by Dr. Amahl Bishara
Book Reading and Signing
by Dr. Amahl Bishara
February 2, 2013
(Free and open to the public) 
Few topics in the news are more hotly contested than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict-and news coverage itself is always a subject of debate. But rarely do these debates incorporate an on-the-ground perspective of what and who newsmaking entails. Studying how journalists work in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ramallah, and Nablus, and on the tense roads that connect these cities, Amahl Bishara demonstrates how the production of U.S. news about Palestinians depends on multifaceted collaborations, typically invisible to Western readers. She focuses on the work that Palestinian journalists do behind the scenes and below the bylines-as fixers, photojournalists, camerapeople, reporters, and producers-to provide the news that Americans read, see, and hear every day.

Ultimately, this book demonstrates how Palestinians play integral roles in producing U.S. news and how U.S. journalism in turn shapes Palestinian politics. U.S. objectivity is in Palestinian journalists' hands, and Palestinian self-determination cannot be fully understood without attention to the journalist standing off to the side, quietly taking notes. Back Stories examines news stories big and small-Yassir Arafat's funeral, female suicide bombers, protests against the separation barrier, an all-but-unnoticed killing of a mentally disabled man-to investigate urgent questions about objectivity, violence, the state, and the production of knowledge in today's news. This book reaches beyond the headlines into the lives of Palestinians during the second intifada to give readers a new vantage point on both Palestinians and journalism. 
AANMJob Posting: Arab American National Museum - Director

Job Summary: Under general direction with a high level of autonomy, uses extensive knowledge of Arab American history and skills obtained through education and experience, to visualize and develop the future of the Arab American National Museum (AANM). Creates strategic direction and oversees the development of tactical plans. Responsible for the financial growth and sustainability of the museum and provides high level direction for educational and programming events. End results are evaluated for achieving goals and objectives. Extensive contact with senior leadership of the organization, ACCESS Board of Directors, AANM National Advisory Board, donors, foundations, corporations, government agencies, individual benefactors and other philanthropic sources is required to meet goals and objectives.

To apply and for more detail, please visit the ACCESS website
  whitehouseDeadline 1/27: Summer 2013 White House Internship Program Application Now Open
White House Interns dedicate their time, talents, energy, and service to better the White House, the community, and the nation. They become a part of the White House team, and the assignments given to an intern on any given day could include conducting research, managing incoming inquiries, attending meetings, writing memos, and staffing events. They also participate in a weekly speaker series with senior staff members and small group meetings exploring different policy aspects of the Executive Office of the President through speakers, discussion, off-site field trips, and service projects.
Please visit www.whitehouse.gov/internships for more information about the program, the application process, a timeline with deadlines, and the departments that participate in the program.  A complete application includes: short answers, two essay questions, a one-page resume, and two letters of recommendation. The deadline to apply for the spring program is January 27, 2013.
Don't wait - apply today.  
The Center for Arabic Culture [CAC] is a non-profit organization dedicated to celebrating Arabic language, culture, art, history, and Arab-American cultural experience. We promote Arabic culture in all of its regional and historic varieties and links to other cultures in an open, democratic, and humanistic way with no affiliation to religion or ethnic identification.