From June 29 to July 17, 2015, with support from the Middle East Center of University of Pennsylvania, teenagers from all backgrounds came together to study Arabic language and culture. From the native Arabic speaker looking to enhance their writing and reading comprehension, to the total non-Arab beginner seeking to take on the challenge of learning a new language, everyone who participated in the Intensive Arabic Language with Arts Program worked very hard, improved their skills significantly, and made new friends.
For the first part of the day students delved into Arabic classes with Brahim El Guabli (intermediate level) or Farnaz Perry (beginner level) who used a variety of tools and activities that focused on reading, writing, listening, and speaking in Arabic. Many of the topics covered in Arabic class were reinforced in the songs taught by Music Director Hanna Khoury – for example, Ughniyyat Al-Alwan (“The Colors Songs”), which can be viewed below in video taken on the last day of the program, and another clip while practicing during the second week. In the afternoon, the students had a fun time learning a variety of Arab rhythms with master percussionist Hafez Kotain who reinforced counting in Arabic and introduced a variety of music vocabulary.
In addition to choir and percussion, students had an art session twice a week with Egyptian artist Mostafa Darwish who introduced students to Arabic script (khatt) and its incorporation into figurative drawing. Additionally, The Clay Studio brought master ceramist Ibrahim Said to demonstrate traditional Egyptian pottery (fukhaar) and introduce some Arabic vocabulary of the craft.
The program culminated in a performance and potluck on Friday July 17 with friends and family attending.
We are excited to see what the students will do with their new/enhanced Arabic skills and cultural knowledge!