Right as the first half of the semester approached its conclusion, and students of the American University in Dubai were preparing for their Spring Break, Professors Pamela Chrabieh and Nadia Wardeh gave the university’s students something to contemplate and to cherish as they hosted a Women’s Day event.
The constant strive for a progressive future encourages us all to battle for equality. One of the daily battles we must involve ourselves in is of course, to fight for women’s right and equality. The never ending dispute is personal to us all, and on Women’s Day we all had a chance for us to reflect and empathise with each other.
From a live play where the traditional gender norms were reversed in order to put certain issues in perspective, to poetry recitals where students addressed and shared their personal struggles, the university event successfully made its students witnesses on the daily issues that women go through.
Besides the live performances, students from Professor Charbieh and Wardeh’s classes brought in home made dishes and shared their own stories about how those foods had feminist connotations, be it on a societal or personal level. The food included; Vine Leaves, Kunafa, Cupcakes, hummus among other things.
While the food could have been the main attraction that motivated the students to partake in the event, the Arabic music playing in the background accompanied by several relevant activities and the artwork on display created a vibe that encouraged the students to stick around for the entire hour. Other than students, professors and faculty members also joined in on the annual event.
While the event was meant to be enjoyable to those in attendance, Professor Pamela Chrabieh also wanted there to be an educational factor. “As I see it, the engagement of governments in Southwestern Asia and North Africa is important for gender inclusiveness and equality progress, but certainly not enough; any top down change initiative needs to be communicated appropriately through official and non-official channels such as education (in schools and universities), knowledge production and dissemination (research centers, independent scholars), media campaigns and continuous awareness programs (traditional media, social media), along within the private sphere” she said.
Equality, or lack thereof has created an ubiquitous problem in this particular region, and while there are a plethora of men who refuse to even address this issue, it was uplifting to see so many men from the younger generation show interest in having a progressive future where equality is expected and common.
The success of this year’s event leaves us all hopeful to what the Professors and their students have in stored for next year.
Photo by Rebal Abdul Rahim