For decades or perhaps even centuries, disparate societies around the globe have been growing more and more intertwined. A single world culture is emerging; or at least the history of the world as told in different places is merging into the single history of us all.
Who has time to read during a revolution? Certainly nobody at Tahrir Square and nobody picking up the pieces in Tunisia or busy in Libya, or in Yemen trying to evaluate government statements of long-term support versus immediate need. I'd say we're the ones with time to read and maybe we should. This may be the best time ever to pull out writers both classic and new who address Middle Eastern history. We can peruse the messages they've left the people that we see rebounding now in terms of revolutionary change.
On Sunday, January 9, 2011, Basem Ra'ad will present his recent book Hidden Histories: Palestine and the Eastern Mediterranean (Pluto Books). For thousands of years, Palestine and the East Mediterranean have been subject to constant colonial interference which has denied the indigenous population an independent, authentic historical narrative. Basem L. Ra'ad, a professor at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, uncovers this history and begins the process of reconnecting it to contemporary peoples.
"A study in deep time, wide space . . . an anthropology of the present" is how Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Columbia) describes this book. Hilton Obenzinger (Stanford) calls it "a brilliant tour de force of recovery, decolonization, re-vision, and inclusivity," while Naseer Aruri (Massachusetts) considers it "the first corrective history of Palestine, its people, its region, and its culture."
[Los Angeles—November 19, 2010] On December 1st, 2010 the Levantine Cultural Center will host the East-West Awards gala to mark its 9th anniversary in Southern California. In celebration of the LCC's mission to bridge political and religious divides and champion a greater understanding of the Muslim world, the LCC will recognize the excellence of three individuals who have contributed to a positive dialogue between the Middle East and the US, including Iranian-American activist Roxana Saberi.
[Los Angeles- November 1, 2010] On December 1st, 2010 the Levantine Cultural Center will host the East-West Awards gala to mark its 9th anniversary in Southern California. In celebration of the LCC's mission to bridge political and religious divides and champion a greater understanding of the Arab/Muslim world, the LCC will recognize the excellence of three individuals who have contributed to a positive dialogue between the Middle East and the US.
On December 1st, 2010, the Levantine Cultural Center will celebrate its 9th anniversary in Southern California with the East-West Awards gala, during which we will recognize excellence in contributing to the dialogue between the Middle East and the United States.
The East-West Awards honor three of our favorite activists from the Arab, Iranian and American communities—Jodie Evans, Bana Hilal, and Roxana Saberi (see below bios). In addition to a sumptuous feast, we will be entertained by DJ Alsultany, comedian Maz Jobrani and special guest musical artists including Momo Loudiyi (performing with KC Porter, Rosa Rojas, Fella Oudane, Dahveed Haribol Das, and Rowan Storm). The evening is hosted by actress and activist Nazanin Boniadi.
Contact: Jordan Elgrably, Nile El Wardani, Elie Karam
Levantine Cultural Center
310.657.5511 or 310.402.8866
[Los Angeles, May 20, 2010] Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's top aide, Special Representative to Muslim Communities Farah Pandith, will speak in a public forum on cultural diplomacy organized by the Levantine Cultural Center on Thursday, May 27, 2010, at 7 pm at the Mark Taper Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles.
The "clash of civilization" dialectic and the "war on terror" discourse require Americans to broaden our international outreach, to improve understanding of the Arab/Muslim world. In fact, the alchemy of change requires that we empathize with narratives that may differ from our own; and sometimes these narratives are strikingly similar. Cultural diplomacy efforts use the arts to address communities in conflict-or groups that appear to have opposing interests whether because of different religious traditions, political beliefs or ethnic identification.