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The Blue & Gray Press | July 20, 2019

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UMW set to hold 7th annual Arab Culture Night

UMW set to hold 7th annual Arab Culture Night


It is almost time for the University of Mary Washington’s seventh annual Arab Culture Night. The Arab Culture Club sponsors this event yearly and offers a buffet hosted by Aladin’s Restaurant, a Middle Eastern fashion show, traditional dabka dance, a wide array of cultural showcases, henna, live music by Mohammed Amir, a live camel and more.

Arab Culture Night spreads awareness about Middle Eastern culture, and many students have shown excitement in anticipation for the event.

I’m excited that this has become a part of the UMW community, and the UMW community can benefit from this advocacy and awareness on campus,” said freshman religion major Mackenzie Poust.

Arabic professor, Maysoon Al-Sayed Ahmad said, “I am most excited about lots of people coming to the event and seeing the real image of Arab Culture, and also getting the chance to meet new people, with everything that is happening globally.” 

According to Amal Hajjami, sophomore chemistry major, president-elect of the Arab Culture Club, and Zila Huma Javaid, senior sociology major, former historian for the Arab Culture Club, preparation for the event begins about one month prior to the event. Hajjami said that the event does take a lot of planning, but is “very organized [because the club divides up responsibilities] before the event.”

The two agreed that the event is well worth all the planning that goes into it, and Hajjami said, “[the event is important because] it introduces people who aren’t usually familiar with [Arab] people/culture to new things, and really broadens people’s perspectives of multicultural backgrounds.”

Javaid also helped plan the event last year, making a video showcasing the campus climate surrounding Arab culture, and assisting with the fashion show. The fashion show this year will feature a Palestinian designer’s clothes, as well as clothing from Jordan, Oman, Morocco and other Middle Eastern countries. In addition to clothing from each country, each country also has a culture spotlight.

Rebecca Goforth, sophomore international affairs major, has been working on the poster for Syria, and will also be performing in the fashion show. Goforth chose to work on the poster from Syria, “because [her] father is from Syria, so [she] feels connected to the culture.”

A huge part of Arab culture and Arab Culture Night is the food. Arab Culture Night always features a buffet from Aladin’s Restaurant, and students seem to love it. Senior international affairs major, Seble Girmay said food is one of the elements of Arab Culture Night she is most excited about.

The newest addition to Arab Culture Night is the live camel. According to Hajjami, “[Arab Culture Club] was unsure about the camel at first due to cost and logistic reasons but SAE saw the clear benefits of the camel and approved it.” The wait for the camel to be approved reportedly took a long time, but the club agrees it was worth the wait. The camel comes from Bar C Ranch, and students will be able to interact with the camel up close at Arab Culture Night.

Arab Culture Night will be Thursday, Nov. 23 from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Chandler Ballroom. Admission for the event is $1 for students, and $3 for non-students. All children under the age of three are admitted free of charge.