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02/04/2017 - 07:00hs

Arab identity in discussion in São Paulo

A debate cycle at Sesc will tackle Arab-related subjects including revolutions, the Western Sahara conflict, refugees, the Alawites and literature. Specialists, most of them academicians, will give lectures.

São Paulo – Arab culture and identity will be the subjects of a lecture cycle from April 25 to May 18 at the Research and Training Center of the Social Service for Commerce (Sesc) in São Paulo’s Bela Vista neighborhood. The debate will be led by Brazilian specialists and academicians who will address questions such as societal and political revolutions, law, literature, music, culture, cuisine, and asylum in Arab countries.

Sesc said the cycle is intended to provide novel perspectives on the Arab world by approaching the culture, history, and identity of Arab peoples, with an emphasis on current issues and on how Arabs are portrayed in the Western imaginary. Lectures will happen on Tuesday and Thursday from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm.

The first debate will be on Arab identity, with Murilo Sebe Bon Meihy, a Contemporary History professor with the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). He is the author of books on Middle East history and culture. Meihy holds master’s degrees in social history from Pontifícia Universidade Católica in Rio (PUC-RJ) and in Arab and Islamic studies from Universidad Autónoma in Madrid, and a doctorate degree in Arab studies from the University of São Paulo (USP).

Salem Nasser, an International Law professor with Fundação Getulio Vargas in São Paulo, will speak on “permanence and revolutions” in the Middle East. Rodrigo Duque Estrada and Renatho Costa, who codirected “Um fio de esperança,” a documentary on the Western Sahara conflict, will discuss the issue. Estrada holds a degree in International Relations, and Costa, a master’s and a doctorate degree in Social History from USP. At another meeting, Costa will speak on refugees’ lives far from home.

The right to asylum under Islamic sharia law and the international rights of refugees will be covered by Luiz Fernando Godinho, the spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Brazil. Godinho is a journalist with a master’s in Globalization and Development from the University of Westminster, in the United Kingdom. Muna Omran, the academic director of the Brazil-Lebanon Culture Institute (ICBL) will expound on the Alawites in Lebanon and Syria.

Other debates will include narrative and fiction in Arabic literature, with Arabic Language and Literature professor at USP Mamede Jarouche, Arab music with Sami Bordokan, and cuisine with Lebanon’s Sheila Mann. Sheila, a native of Lebanon, lived in Israel and graduated in Fine Arts in Brazil. She is the founder of the Peace on the Table project, whose goal is to gather Arabs and Jews, Christians and Muslims around the dining table.

The cycle is part of “Perspectivas,” Sesc’s umbrella initiative for culture-related meetings. Admission costs BRl 18 to BRL 60, with different prices for students, Sesc members and the general public.

Quick facts:

Culture and Identity in the Arab World
April 25 to May 18
Tuesday and Thursday, 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Sesc-SP - Research and Training Center
Rua Dr. Plínio Barreto, 285 – 4ºandar - Bela Vista – São Paulo – SP
Prices: BRL 18 (Sesc members), BRL 30 (student) BRL 60 (general public)
Registration: http://centrodepesquisaeformacao.sescsp.org.br/atividade/cultura-e-identidade-no-mundo-arabe (or at Sesc-SP units)

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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