In line with the Levantine Cultural Center's exploration of American foreign policy, this forum asks, How does the C.I.A. play a role in the Middle East and North Africa? Was Robert Ames, the subject of Kai Bird's bestselling biography, The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames, actually an ambassador for peace, particularly with respect to the Israelis and Palestinians? The book offers a "compelling portrait of the remarkable life and death of one of the most important operatives in CIA history— a man who, had he lived, might have helped heal the rift between Arabs and the West." The forum includes a book signing with biographer Kai Bird and former C.I.A. case officer and author Robert Baer. This forum picks up where our previous forum in March 2014, America's Great Game: The C.I.A. and U.S. Middle East Foreign Policy, left off.
Read a Washington Post review of The Good Spy.
On Saturday, December 6th, 2014, the Levantine Cultural Center will hold its East-West Awards Gala, once again at the Beverly Hill's Women's Club. The East-West Awards recognize the sustained efforts of outstanding individuals working in the United States to bridge political and religious divides that may exist between Americans and the Middle East/North Africa, whether through media, peace activism or interfaith unity.
The full program includes a red-carpet reception and silent auction, live music, comedy, dinner and the awards ceremony. Distinguished honorees will be honored for significant contributions in cultural diplomacy, relationship-building, interfaith alliances, and peace activism. Previous honorees include Ms. Zainab Al-Suweij, Dr. Reza Aslan, Rabbi Leonard Beerman, Ms. Bana Hilal, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Ms. Jodie Evans and Ms. Roxana Saberi.
All proceeds will benefit the Levantine Cultural Center, a 501(c)3 founded 13 years ago as a grassroots nonprofit organization that champions a greater understanding of the Middle East/North Africa and our communities in diaspora.
Fast Forward, Arabic & Iranian Typography: A New Visual Vocabulary in the Making
With Nahla Kayali, Anthony Saidy, Nagwa Ibrahim, Cheryl Faris and Bassam Marjya, moderator Don Bustany. A panel on refugees, exiles and immigrants from the Arab world discusses integration and assimilation.
This two-part program features a discussion with an early generation of Arab Americans, Anthony Saidy and Cheryl Faris, talking about their parents and grandparents arrival in the United States, and the history of social and cultural contributions that Arab Americans have made, particularly in California (Cousins Club, ADC, KPFK, etc). The second half of the discussion will be with a newer generation of Arab immigrants to California. Nahla Kayali, Nagwa Ibrahim and others will talk about how they reinvented their lives in Southern California. This exploration of history, culture and identity intends to demystify Arab and Arab American society, defuse Islamophobia, and build new bridges among all our communities. The event is free and open to the public. Donations are welcome. Refreshments will be served.
RSVPs welcome, 323.413.2001. "The New Americans: Arabs in California," Levantine Cultural Center, 5998 W. Pico Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90035.
"Like two chemicals that flare upon touching, the music is a remarkable hybrid of two cul
[LOS ANGELES-May 29, 2014] From a design perspective, what do we really know about the Arab world, or Iraq's neighbor, Iran? A window into these cultures, which use the Arabic script for writing and design, will open here in Los Angeles on June 26, 2014, when LOCAL NOT LOCAL, a modern collection of contemporary expression, brings Arabic and Iranian typography and calligraphy to the Inside/Outside Gallery at the Levantine Cultural Center. These days it seems like everyone's got a favorite font and a philosophy of typography. But it's not just our Roman alphabet that gets translated into different shapes - all over the world, designers pick and choose scripts to suit the occasion. In LOCAL NOT LOCAL, co-curators Maece Seirafi and Pouya Jahanshahi present a collection of award-winning Arab and Iranian designers who demonstrate the creative possibilities and expressions that lurk in their native alphabets.
A beautiful night of inspired music awaits you when the Levantine Cultural Center presents the fourth edition of Café Arabesque with Al-Fareed of Radio Al-Fareed and his band Bedouin-X.
Two American filmmakers/artists talk about the challenges and rewards of making films about women living their daily lives in Cairo and Damascus. Each of the films, made in very different styles, chronicle a period right before Egypt and Syria were gripped by revolutionary turmoil. Short clips from each film will be shown in advance of the discussion. The participants include artist Judith Barry on Cairo Stories (Egypt) (info-duration) and director Julia Meltzer on The Light in Her Eyes (Syria, Info-duration, co-directed with Laura Nix), with moderator Sarah Gualtieri, author of Between Arab and White: Race and Ethnicity in the Early Syrian American Diaspora and Director of the Middle East Studies Program at USC. Seating is limited, tickets are $15, $10 students/members. Watch The Light in Her Eyes trailer here.