When arriving at ASU for the first time, it's hard to believe how much opportunity is really before you. We tend to get caught up in our own individual work and study circles. As we begin to make and develop friendships we start to forget how vast the world is. This University offers so much that there is something for everybody no matter what their interests might be; sometimes it's making art out of bookbinding, sometimes it's hosting DIY house shows, sometimes it's sports and sometimes it's something completely different.
What's important is that it's there and even if it's not, there is the potential to start it.
The ASU Council for Arabic and Islamic Studies is one of the great examples of the diversity of our campus.
The Council was founded by Arabic literature professor Souad Ali. Ali is one of the main people responsible for the success and growth of the Arabic program at ASU since 2004, when she was invited to ASU to help build the program.
As of right now, the major program is in the process of being built, but a minor program, a certificate and language courses are well established and are currently being offered.
Ali emphasized the Council's appreciation of art's role in cultural understanding.
"Literature opens up ways for understanding," she said. "The more we study other's literary arts the better we come to understanding and maybe work toward world peace."
For the second year in a row, the Council will host the Arabic Film and Poetry Series, which is a showcase of films and poetry in the Arabic language from each of the Arab countries. This year, four events were planned with two still upcoming.
The upcoming one is a screening of the "Fajr Al Islam" or translated into English, "The Dawn of Islam." This movie is the story of the birth of the Islamic religion during a tumultuous time in Arabic history in which many opposing factions engaged each other in war. Directed by Egyptian filmmaker Salah Abu Seif, the film is a unique interpretation of this pivotal moment in history. Subtitles will be screened so that no knowledge of Arabic is necessary for appreciation of this classic film.
Literature buffs may be interested in the other part of the series: poetry. The next poetry event being hosted will be Contemporary & Modern Arabic Poetry. This event takes on more of the form of a lecture, but is one of the only chances a student interested in hearing Arabic poetry and learning more about this vast area of study can have.