December 2, 2016

Today I was able to both attend and be a part of the annual Arabic Talent Show put on by the Arabic Flagship Program. The event started out as a get together over a classic Mediterranean dinner (Greek salad, white rice, chicken, beef, dinner rolls, etc.), during which time I was able to meet students and faculty of the Arabic Flagship Program. Learning of their diverse backgrounds really pointed out the ability of language to bring together people of varying interests. Following dinner, the talent show portion of the event had begun. From skits to short films to poems to belly dancing, there really was something there for everyone to experience about Arab culture. The event highlighted many artistic forms, both modern and classic, and was a very good representation of the ever-evolving cultural dynamic of the middle east. In many of the modern songs, for example, the influence of American Pop culture was clear in the electronic music style, as well as the use of English words to rap. In addition, I was able to perform a fairly popular song with my beginning Arabic class. Although nerve-racking to perform in front of many people, in addition to being slightly underprepared, it was obvious that we had a lot of fun and the audience, clapping along, loved it. The night ended with a traditional Middle-Eastern dessert, baklava. The super sweet pastry with warm mint tea was the perfect ending to a cool December night. I really hope to be able to attend and be a part of this event for many years to come, and I highly encourage everyone else to do so whether they are looking for a fun event on campus, wanting to learn more of Arab culture, or simply craving tasteful Middle-Eastern food.

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