Nov. 4: Iraq and the Iraqi Diaspora with Deborah Al-Najjar, Ella Habiba Shohat and friends, an evening of discussion and book signing.
Nov. 5: On the Side of the Road, a new documentary presented by director Lia Tarachansky that examines the 1948 Nakba—the expulsion of Palestinians from the emerging state of Israel—from the perspective of Israelis.
Nov. 6: Gaza and the Arab Jewish Divide, a talk by anthropologist-author and Professor Smadar Lavie, author of Wrapped In the Flag of Israel, who finds that there is a direct correlation between social protest movements in Israel, Ashkenazi-Mizrahi relations, and attacks on Gaza.
Nov. 7: Sarah Shourd on A Sliver of Light, a book talk discussing Shourd's experience with Josh Fatal and Shane Bauer, the three American hikers who were picked up on the border with Iraq and held in Iran's notorious Evin prison for two years. (A lunchtime lecture.)
Nov. 7-9: The Arab Film Festival presents multiple features and documentaries at the Harmony Gold, with support from the Levantine Cultural Center.
Nov. 15: Muslims Who Combat Fundamentalism Around the World, a talk by the Algerian American professor at Stanford, Karima Bennoune, author of Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here. (An afternoon salon in a private home in Orange County, by reservation only.)
Nov. 25: Ramy Essam Live in Los Angeles, concert & public conversation with the Egyptian revolutionary rocker whose song "Erhal" help drive Hosni Mubarak from power, and who is featured in Jehane Noujaim's acclaimed documentary, The Square.
The Syrian American Council and the Levantine Cultural Center with support from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association present a special screening of Return to Homs, by director Talal Derki. Notes the New York Times of the film, ""Like its heroes, we are pulled into the conflict with frenzied immediacy as we experience one city, the dreaded rites of passage of two friends, and ultimately an entire nation torn apart by the fog of war." And The Hollywood Reporter comments: "Scenes in which the rebels run from house to house, firing on their opponents through holes knocked into the walls, tap veins of adrenalin which Hollywood blockbusters can only dream of finding. A sober, sobering bulletin of unambiguous intention and undeniable power." Following the screening a discussion will ensue among Syrian Americans and Syrian refugees.
Don't miss this special screening of Return to Homs, on Thursday, Oct. 23, 7:30 pm, brought to you thanks to support from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (visit http://goldenglobes.org) and presented by the Syrian American Council, the largest Syrian-American community organization in the United States. The SAC serves to amplify the voice of the Syrian-American Community and is a multi-ethnic, multi-confessional, non-partisan organization that includes members from all segments of Syrian society, with over 22 chapters nationwide. It is an organization devoted to community organizing, awareness-raising, youth empowerment, media outreach, advocacy, and support for Syrians seeking to build a free and democratic Syria.
Chapman University, Wilkinson College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dept. of Political Science, History and Peace Studies and the Levantine Cultural Center present present a rare evening with celebrated author and blogger Juan Cole (The New Arabs; Engaging the Muslim World), introduced by political science associate professor Nubar Hovsepian. The talk is on "How the Arab Millennial Generation is changing the Middle East." There will be Q & A and a book signing, along with a light reception. All welcome, free to the public. Copies of Juan Cole's books will be available for purchase and signing.
Friends of the Levantine Cultural Center present a rare evening with celebrated author and blogger Juan Cole (The New Arabs; Engaging the Muslim World), introduced by historian Mark LeVine (Why They Don't Hate Us; One Land, Two States). A delicious sit-down dinner and dessert will be followed by conversation with Professors Cole and LeVine on "the New Arabs," the thesis of Cole's latest book, in relation to the Israel/Palestine question, and the future of the Middle East/North Africa, notably the debate about the supposed demise of Arab civilization, debated recently by Hisham Melham in Politico and Juan Cole with respect to the rise of the Islamic State.
The conversation, followed by a public dialogue engaging the audience, will conclude with a concert of Arab/Egyptian music performed live on kanun by Jim Grippo and on 'oud by Ziyad Marcus. Dinner tickets are $75 per person Patron of the Arts ($40 is tax-deductible) benefitting the new Levantine Cultural Center. Seating is limited to just 40 persons, so advance reservations are strongly advised. Seats are not guaranteed without RSVPs. Call 323.413.2001 or reserve here online.
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 Pulitzer Prize-winning author Kai Bird and public Q & A. 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 13th, 2014, the Levantine Cultural Center will hold its year-end comedy benefit show with the New Sultans of Satire at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center, in Long Beach. With a special tribute to Robin Williams, this evening brings together the top young Middle Eastern comedians at work together, including Aron Kader (Comedy Central's "Axis of Evil"), Tehran, Sammy Obeid, Marie-Thérèse Abou-Daoud, Sherwin Arae and Melissa Shoshahi. The Levantine Cultural will donate a portion of the proceeds to Kinder USA (Kids in Need of Development, Education, and Relief) to help deserving children in Gaza with medical needs following the summer war. The Levantine Cultural Center works to bridge political and religious divides that may exist between Americans and the Middle East/North Africa, by presenting arts and education programs in the spirit of exploration, discovery and unity.
Proceeds 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