<![CDATA[The Georgetown Gazette]]>https://www.georgetowngazette.com/articlesRSS for NodeSun, 04 Dec 2022 01:28:14 GMT<![CDATA[Double Standards of Dialogue: Hate Speech Against Arabs with the Onset of the 2022 World Cup ]]>https://www.georgetowngazette.com/post/double-standards-of-dialogue-hate-speech-against-arabs-with-the-onset-of-the-2022-world-cup637748b60fe9325b35a75ff6Fri, 18 Nov 2022 10:35:02 GMTSalma DarwicheArabs are no strangers to being the point of discrimination, ostracization, and hate speech. Whether we turn to how they have collectively been viewed as inferior or exotic by colonizers earlier in history or the current stereotypes that continue to associate them with terrorism, Arabs have long been on the receiving end of such prejudice. This manifests in a number of ways such as misleading headlines, selective news coverage, and inflammatory commentary. With the upcoming FIFA 2022 World Cup that is to be hosted by Qatar, this reality has become more emphasized than ever.

Qatar has become a point of controversy, particularly in Western media, with many citing its human rights record as a point of concern. However, it would be false to claim that such coverage has not been riddled with political agendas and ulterior motives to disparage Qatar as a state and nation beyond its human rights record. That is not to say that the dialogue on progressing human rights and the treatment of migrant workers is not a valid or necessary one, on the contrary, it is one that cannot afford to be weaponized by certain groups so they may capitalize on the hate. Qatar has been working on improving its record for years and recognizes that its effort must continue beyond the World Cup.

Major news outlets have led with the vague and misleading claim that 6,500 workers died building the World Cup Stadiums which originates from a 2021 article by Pete Pattisson for The Guardian. The article has since undergone several title and content edits changing many of its initial claims that sparked controversy. Disinformation that manifests through articles such as these has been at the forefront of the campaign against Qatar, much of which has been outlined by Marc Owen Jones, an Associate Professor at Hamad Bin Khalifa University. The latest example of an attempt to condemn Qatar through disinformation comes from a false claim that Qatar has bribed Ecuador to lose the opening game sourced back to a single tweet by an uncredited Twitter user by major sports news outlets such as A24 and BeFootball. It is not unsurprising to see how quickly false information travels when the subject at hand fits into the global trend of defaming Qatar as it prepares to host the World Cup. We are reminded just how easily the importance of authenticity and legitimacy is disregarded in journalism when doing so fits a certain group's agenda.

It is important to recognize, as well, that the campaign against Qatar hosting the World Cup is one fuelled by arguments targeting a wider subject, the Arab world. Several stereotypes have formed over the years concerning Arabs and the Middle East, particularly their culture and one of the many religions the region pertains to, Islam. These false conclusions have come to include arguments that Muslim Arabs promote a religion of violence and an inherent culture of oppression. The World Cup has been held across countries on five different continents and where cultural differences were once a source of exchange and excitement, they have become weaponized as a justification for criticism and harsh judgment. Many of the arguments against Qatar hosting the World Cup depart from the concern over human rights entirely and instead target features of Arab culture and life that are largely misunderstood and painfully generalized. As Palestinian scholar, Edward Said wrote in his work, Orientalism, “In newsreels or news photos, the Arab is always shown in large numbers. No individuality, no personal characteristics or experiences. Most of the pictures represent mass rage and misery, or irrational (hence hopelessly eccentric) gestures. Lurking behind all of these images is the menace of jihad. Consequence: a fear that the Muslims (or Arabs) will take over the world.”.

In October 2022, French newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné published the following cartoon which depicts the Qatari football team in an offensive matter.

This has not been the first time, nor will it be the last, that Western media has drawn on discriminatory ideals to portray Arabs or their faith in such a light. This has been the case with the Charlie Hebdo cartoons in 2012, the Israeli Regime's Foreign Ministry Cartoon in 2017, a New York Post cartoon published that same year and many more. What lessons on progressive values and morality is the Arab world thus expected to draw from the voices eagerly waiting to discipline it in such vile ways?

Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup reminds us of a truth the world must confront; dialogue for development cannot and should not be polarized. Dialogue is not a form of communication moving bidirectionally between two sides nor is it an argument to be won. For Arabs, every headline counts. They are a people who remain perceived, unfairly by many, as being unable to represent themselves and whose words carry half the value of those around them. Football may be a unifying force helping to clear the false stereotypes and beliefs the world maintains about Arabs. However, Arabs should not have to be associated with an intermediary so they may be respected and met with understanding. They should not have to rely on being perceived strictly through the lens and on the terms of others to be told they are progressive or moral. The world needs to reconsider its approach to representation, cultural differences, and dialogue and the 2022 World Cup being hosted by Qatar has served, and will continue to, as a great testament to this necessity.

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<![CDATA[Hoya Meetups: Fostering A Sense of Community]]>https://www.georgetowngazette.com/post/hoya-meetups-fostering-a-sense-of-community6376b945da6aa867051392e7Fri, 18 Nov 2022 09:01:10 GMTSalma Darwiche For many, Georgetown University in Qatar (GUQ) goes beyond being an educational institution. Instead, it is a place of belonging with a sense of community that would not be present without the contribution of Georgetown’s service providers. The Hoya Meetup program recently organized by Facilities Management (FM) succeeded in reinforcing this principle as it paired students, staff, and faculty with the GU-Q service providers for meet-ups across the semester.

The Hoya Meetup program was first launched in the Spring semester of 2022 with faculty and staff but has since been expanded to include students. After signing up, individually or with a fellow peer, students are paired with either one or two service providers from the many that work at Georgetown. Thus, students receive the opportunity to learn from the service providers, over breakfast or lunch paid for by the student, about the varying jobs they take on from being security guards to chefs at the O’Cafe and event technicians. Students that partook in the program have shared details about their experiences where they exchanged stories regarding their time at Georgetown, life in Qatar, and their native countries.

Rokaiah Al-Dobashi ‘25, who took part in the Hoya Meetup program on two different occasions described her experience in the following statement, “Each meetup was truly memorable because of how much we learned about each other’s lives and how they intersect here at GU-Q. It’s really important that more students and staff take part in this program because developing that sense of community by engaging with some of our most valuable members is what truly embodies Hoya spirit.”

These meetups are also a great opportunity for students to introduce the service providers to a number of resources and events they could benefit from. An example of this includes the Hoya Empowerment and Learning Program (HELP) which runs several student-taught classes for service providers each semester. These classes have included English and Arabic across multiple levels, Financial Literacy, Microsoft Skills, and more. HELP has served as a fun yet engaging means for both students and service providers to develop their skills and outreach. Moreover, students can utilize these meetups as an opportunity to inform the service providers of events such as the Service Providers Bazaar and receive suggestions for how to further develop it.

Fariha Iqbal '23, added on her experience, "All the service providers I met came from such diverse backgrounds and it was very interesting to hear their experiences. This engagement is extremely important because we have to realize that we as students don’t just live in a bubble and that there are so many others who contribute to our experience at GU-Q."

The Hoya Meetup program is ultimately a wonderful opportunity to bring the GU-Q community together as connections are built beyond standard groups. FM is open to receiving suggestions and ideas on how to further develop and improve the program. If you have a relevant suggestion or inquiry regarding the program, contact Amanda Look, the Assistant Director of Auxiliary Services, through email at al1352@georgetown.edu or pay a visit to FM which can be found in the GU-Q basement.

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<![CDATA[The Left's Foreign Policy Views Will Serve to Destroy its Ideals]]>https://www.georgetowngazette.com/post/the-left-s-foreign-policy-views-will-serve-to-destroy-its-ideals63755dce5cfd2a3b414ab19eFri, 18 Nov 2022 09:01:07 GMTJohn Carlos Burog In February 2022, Russia ,invaded Ukraine and permanently changed the geopolitical landscape of Europe. The reaction among Western governments has been overwhelming support for Ukraine and a ,broad condemnation of Russian aggression. However, certain political personalities of the left were much more forgiving. For instance, when Germany was debating on sending military aid to Ukraine in April 2022, the leftist party Die Linke ,voted against the proposal, arguing that it would lead to “further escalation.” Similarly, in the United States, four Republicans and four Democrats ,countered legislation that would seize the assets of Russian oligarchs in America; chief among them were Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who is ,associated with the American far-right, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, ,a progressive politician and member of the Democratic Socialists of America. The fact that the members of the left are willing to cooperate with the reactionaries over Moscow illustrates a problem of leftist views on foreign policy

The indifference of Europe and America’s political left to Moscow’s hostility can be attributed to its history of political struggle. The left’s present-day disregard for the Kremlin’s horrific actions in Ukraine is due to the faulty association that Russia, the successor state to the Soviet Union, still carries the torch of the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movement against the capitalist West. In 1919, the manifesto of the Communist International was ,published after having been drafted by communists across Europe. In it, there is an acknowledgement of the global exploitation of the proletariat and calls for the masses of the world to overthrow national oppression “under the banner of the workers’ Soviets.” This document has made it clear that it was from Moscow that the struggle against capitalism and imperialism would be spearheaded owing to it being the setting of ,the first successful revolution against the capitalist machine. Despite this, there was always the sense that leftism was an internationalist struggle that transcends national interests, as written in the manifesto itself: “We summon the working men and women of all countries to unite under the communist banner under which the first great victories have already been won.” One could even go as far back as Karl Marx’s Manifesto of the Communist Party when he famously ,proclaimed: “Workingmen of all countries Unite!.” This transnational aspect of the socialist and communist movements was slowly replaced by the statist and internally-focused doctrine of Joseph Stalin’s ,“Socialism in One Country.”

Indeed, the internationalist spirit of the Left has eroded at a time when it is more needed by the movement than ever amidst the spread of neoliberal globalization. Rather than standing in solidarity with persecuted left-wing political movements across the world, so-called “leftists” are taking a stand with their oppressors and jailers. Prominent “leftists,” such as author Noam Chomsky, are quick to ,defend Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by stating that Kyiv is merely a geopolitical pawn in the greater power politics strategy of the United States. All the while President Vladimir Putin’s ,crackdown on Sergei Udaltsov and other members of the Left Front, a coalition of Russian left-wing political parties, gathered no such attention. There are other “left-wing” personalities in commentary and activist circles who have, in the same spirit as Chomsky’s, ,affirmed the position that Ukraine is a mere vessel for the imperialist power that is the United States.

This, however, is a fundamental error in reading the situation. If the current state of political affairs in Ukraine is a Western imperialist project, then what goals would it further achieve in its supposed “threat” or further “subjugation” of Russia? Would it entail the positioning of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) military bases and perhaps nuclear weapons in Ukraine? This is unlikely considering that NATO had ,denied that it would position nuclear weapons in Finland, which, along with Sweden, will be the newest member of the alliance after the War in Ukraine convinced national political leaders of the importance of NATO membership. The alliance had also positioned its nuclear arsenal ,away from NATO members that bordered Russia. Apart from this, Ukraine joining either NATO or the European Union (EU) would not affect Russia’s military capability to launch a nuclear strike; Moscow could authorize ,launches either from Russian land or through nuclear submarines without any hindrances and, should NATO use Ukraine as a staging point to invade Russia, there would be ,no doubt that such actions would result in the proliferation of nuclear weapons; an event that both sides would not want due to ,mutual annihilation.

So what then is the point of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that Chomsky and other “leftists” would like to erroneously justify? The answer is the very phenomenon that the political left has strived to go against - imperialism. In a speech just before the invasion, Putin had claimed that Ukraine was a ,creation of the Bolsheviks that intended to divide Russia; that Ukraine and its people were really Russians. Things could not be farther from the truth, considering that the people who had initially inhabited modern-day Ukraine had ,no desire to integrate with Muscovite Russia in the 16th through the 18th centuries. Even if it were true, this outright historical revisionism of Ukrainian identity is reminiscent of Nazi Germany’s ,justification for the invasion of Poland, Austria, and parts of Czechoslovakia due to these countries having German-speaking populations. Perhaps the ,ambassador of Kenya to the United Nations puts it well in stating that, even if a people were to be divided by borders, it does not justify war. How these so-called “leftists” have refused to learn from history is a failure of their comprehension and an illustration of the pro-Moscow bias among “leftist” circles that, unfortunately, remains a legacy of the Cold War.

In recognition of Marx’s internationalist outlook for the left-wing movement, one cannot simply justify imperialism, regardless of the color of the flag, while also remaining a leftist. To be a leftist is to renounce imperialism in all its forms and recognize that it is a product of the economic processes that continue to ,influence society and politics. Thankfully, the left still has figures, such as ,Slavoj Zizek, who is keen on recognizing that the left has strayed away from its internationalist foundations and is turning towards a fascistic vision of global society, run by the world’s autocrats and oligarchs. To save leftism from decaying into fascism and justifying imperialist autocracies, it must stray away from it; move away from the socialist grandeur that was the Soviet Union, and learn to recognize that, as long as national interests remain front and center of foreign policy without the consideration of the interests of the wider proletariat, leftists must resist foreign policies that aim to subjugate entire peoples to an imperial core.

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<![CDATA[A Seat At the Table: TGG's Editorial Board Interviews SGA President]]>https://www.georgetowngazette.com/post/a-seat-at-the-table-tgg-s-editorial-board-interviews-sga-president6376d0dad6065d0b0500f42cFri, 18 Nov 2022 09:01:04 GMTThe Editorial Board GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY IN QATAR (Oct. 24, 2022) Near the end of the Fall ‘22 semester, The Georgetown Gazette had a chance to sit down with Student Government Association (SGA) President Benjamin Kurian ‘23, in an interview regarding all that there is to know about the SGA— particularly their roles and responsibilities within the GU-Q community. In this interview, The Gazette asked questions on the organization's internal structure, processes, projects it handled in the past, as well as future plans for the community. Pres. Kurian starts the interview with a brief description of the organization by stating “It's basically the elected representatives for the student body in Georgetown University in Qatar”. He also noted that one feature that sets the GU-Q SGA apart from other student government organizations is that they are able to implement changes and possess a significant voice within the administration. He further highlights this by sharing that the SGA works closely with the university departments for the betterment of student life and that the SGA works to serve as the voice of the student body while also overseeing student concerns. These, along with the implementation of new policies is what the organization revolves around— as Pres. Kurian says, “Everything for the betterment of student life.”

As for the general structure of the SGA, he mentions that the organization currently has 11 members, which are divided into class representatives (composed of two students per class) and an executive board (composed of the president, vice-president, and public relations officer). As per the SGA’s constitution, the president is the sole position that possesses decision-making powers and is responsible for running the organization as a whole. However, with regards to voting on these decisions, he explains that the SGA is presently working on being able to implement this constitutionally— hopefully, once the next semester rolls around, “We would like everyone to have a say in matters [that concern the GU-Q student body]”. As such, for the time being, Pres. Kurian notes that during their weekly Tuesday meetings, the SGA conducts their discussions democratically, opening decision-making to all members of the organization. He also shares that it’s during these meetings that they discuss concerns that may have been raised by each class via their respective representatives and talk about the set agenda. The president also expressed, “Usually, the class representative who raised the issue will be the one to investigate the matter”. Nevertheless, he mentioned that it is still under the discretion of the president to assign members for specific cases if they see fit. As an example of the procedure for developing solutions, he mentioned concerns regarding women’s gym hours, where senior representatives were required to look into the issue since they were the ones to raise it. After their research and findings, the representatives brought it up with the rest of the members and were then referred to Human Resources in order to meet up and collaborate on a policy for the issue. He adds that, regarding decision-making, until the new constitution has taken effect, they do not have a set voting procedure however they rely on what the majority of the organization members stand with— specifically if a concern should be further investigated or what solutions are most efficient.

Besides the division of the executive board and the representatives, Pres. Kurian mentions that the SGA is also separated into the Student Activities Commission (SAC) and the Student Liaison Committee (SLC), the SLC being recently added under the SGA— where SGA members are often asked which organization they wish to participate in.

He continues to explain SLC by stating, “It’s a meeting with all the GU-Q departments, [with the members being] the Dean’s office, Academic Affairs, Office of Academic Services (OAS), the Registrar’s Office, Finance Office, Admissions Office, Office of Student Life, Facilities Management, Office of Information Technology (IT), [and] the Library … that is when we raise concerns.” The president continues by explaining that during meetings of the SLC, students' concerns are directed to the appropriate department, while other members also join the conversation to form solutions. A recent issue that was dealt with in the SLC was parking spaces for students and concerns over the Qatar Foundation (QF) tram. Through the SLC, they are able to reach staff and departments who can directly contact organizations outside of GU-Q (e.g., QF) in order to give solutions or the needed advisory. He adds that the SLC meets every bi-weekly, on Thursdays, and is also chaired by the SGA president while the public relations officer (PRO), Areesha Fatima ‘25, serves as the deputy chair. Pres. Benjamin Kurian and Fatima are the ones who set the agenda and topics to be discussed.

Parallel to the SLC is SAC, which is presently chaired by the SGA vice president, Mohammad Jaski ‘25. Pres. Kurian explains, “there are currently 5 representatives from the SGA in SAC … the SAC receives SAC proposals from clubs if [they] want to fund an event because every [GU-Q] student pays the student activities fee along with the tuition … [and] SAC monitors those fundings to ensure that they’re used in a proper manner”. Every member has a specific task to complete and the organization meets every Monday. There are approximately 50 clubs at present and most of them propose events— all of which go through SAC. In order to accept an event, SAC consults a rubric that asks if it follows the club’s goals and values, or if the event details are acceptable. SAC currently runs under the voting procedure and, under the decision of the SGA vice president, events can either be accepted or tabled for revisions. Pres. Kurian also notes, “At the end of the day, we are catering for the students … and they have the right to host events. If everything is perfect, they should go for it”. Speaking on the gravity of the work, he adds, “Everyone does their very best for the students. We try to get as [many] things done so we don’t fall behind or fall short of expectations”.

In response to a question regarding how the SGA functions as a whole, Pres. Kurian explains that the SGA offers careful consideration of the relevance of what is discussed in meetings while noting that SAC members are expected to sign confidentiality agreements. The President goes on to state that some of the questions which frame the SGA’s objectives include, “How can we move forward? How can we bring the community together? How can we reach out to the wider EC community?”.

Pres. Kurian further emphasized the role of GU-Q Deans such as Dean Brendan Hill and Dean Safwan M. Masri in developing the SGA’s goals and efforts. He states, “Dean Masri, Dean Vicky Kynourgiopoulou, Dean Hill, Dr. John Wright— all these people, they are here for the students … and as the SGA President if I have been able to do anything —till this point, it is because of them.”

In regards to whether the SGA receives external advisory or if it is entirely student-run, Pres. Kurian responds by explaining that the SGA does have a Student Development Officer (SDO), currently Uday Rosario, whom they may consult on certain matters from time to time. An example of a matter on which the SGA recently turned to the SDO for consultation included policies concerning Red Square.

In the final weeks of the Fall ‘22 semester, representatives from the SGA, including those of SAC and SLC, sat outside Red Square to receive complaints and concerns raised by the students. This particular initiative was attributed by Pres. Kurian to Rep. Rodolfo Munoz Carnedas and Rep. Ilgar Gapagov who represent the Class of 2023 and Class of 2024 respectively. The initiative was successful, claims the President, as multiple students and even professors came forth to share their concerns and openly communicate with the SGA about how it may help improve student life.

SGA Pres. Kurian proceeds to acknowledge GUQ SGA’s initiative in hosting the Education City (EC) SGA Meeting at the GU-Q campus, inviting student government leaders from across all of the EC universities to discuss cross-university student concerns. Pres. Kurian acknowledges the contribution of the meeting in resulting in productive plans on the events-side and the changes on the policy-side. Besides the EC-wide collaboration, Pres. Kurian also mentioned connecting with the Georgetown University Student Association (GUSA), the student government in GU Main Campus, saying that “Bridging the gap between Main Campus and Qatar Campus [contributes to] bringing the community together.” Adding onto the ‘One Georgetown’ collaboration, the president also mentions connecting with the GU-Q-based graduate students, who are currently continuing their studies at Main Campus, about assisting GU-Q students in preparing and applying for graduate school. “We’ve established a base over here. We’ve established the connections, we just have to build on it,” the president adds.

In addition to the projects in progress and the significance of such plans to the student body, the importance of incorporating the student body in such discussions was emphasized. To this, Pres. Kurian says that if there are concerns that students might have about the SGA, “Students have the ultimate power if you feel like you are not being represented or you are not being heard.” He says that if a concern extends to a majority of the students in a certain batch, then they can send an email communicating the issue with him. The concerns will be shared during the SGA meeting, where the individual-in-question will be placed in a “trial” where they can have the ability to speak on the issue before proceeding into a vote on whether the member will be removed from the SGA or not. On the other hand, if there are issues with the SGA president, then the issue must be resolved through the SGA adviser. Consequently, if the gravity of the complaint is serious, then the board will not go into a voting process and the member will immediately be impeached.

This information reflects the sentiments of the SGA to be more transparent about its decisions and actions to the student body. Pres. Kurian says that in order to promote constant communication with the student body on updates on certain SGA projects and student-raised issues, the SGA is currently working on making a website where all the minutes of SGA meetings will be published for accessibility to the student body.

In addition to all of these initiatives, the SGA is also working alongside the GU-Q Sustainability Committee on a focus group aiming to create more sustainability-focused projects around campus.

“One thing that differentiates Georgetown students from other university students is the way we behave with each other –the way we treat the service providers and other members in a kind manner… helps us grow as a community,” says Pres. Kurian. He reminds the student body of the role of the SGA stating, “We are here to listen to you. We are here to represent you. What I need the students to do is to come to us freely,” he adds, “...We are not solely based on academics –academics is a part of it– but there’s something else that Georgetown students gain by the time they graduate, the Georgetown values… all these values are incorporated into us with or without us knowing it. If there is one way we can improve campus life or cut down the barriers that we have, it is simply to talk.”

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<![CDATA[Beauty in Strength: FIF and MSA Organizes Lecture on Women in Islamic History]]>https://www.georgetowngazette.com/post/beauty-in-strength-fif-and-msa-organizes-lecture-on-women-in-islamic-history637675f5fc81f8dff3988f52Fri, 18 Nov 2022 09:01:03 GMTFrances Balani GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY IN QATAR (Oct. 5, 2022) The "FIF/MSA Lecture: Women in Islamic History" was an event hosted by Future is Female (FIF) in collaboration with the Muslim Students Association (MSA), in which they invited Sozan Zaghmout to speak on the prominent female figures in Islam.

The guest host, Sozhan Zaghmout, is a graduate of the University of British Columbia with a degree in Family Science and Psychology and is currently completing her education at the College of Islamic Studies. Her knowledge, experience, and expertise all contributed to the liveliness of the lecture and there was not a second of silence as the guests expressed their enthusiasm in engaging with such a knowledgeable individual.

“The event was another opportunity for students of GU-Q to get together, build upon their community values and get closer to their religion, or simply learn more about another religion,” FIF Pres. Anam Fatima says, “It also acted as a platform for all students and organizers alike to learn from our wonderful speaker on a topic which is often sidelined in religious studies, values to derive from prominent female figures who contributed to Islam.”

Indeed, as Zaghmout led the discussion, the audience was given the opportunity to expand their knowledge about Islam’s contribution to women’s rights as well as important women and their contributions to their community. Significant women such as Maryam, who has a surah dedicated to how her dedication to worshiping God contributed to her esteemed status at the beginning of the story of Islamic history; Asiya, who was able to convince her husband, an Egyptian king, to venerate God due to her unwavering demeanor to her beliefs; Hajar, who survived in the blistering heat of the desert while caring for her son, Ismail – even running in between two mountains seven times in order to collect water for her child; Khadija, who was a wealthy trader chosen by God to marry Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) because of her wisdom; Aisha, the daughter of Abu Bakr, who was a scholar that memorized around 2,200 hadiths and would share her knowledge with her students; and Fatema, who succeeded her father, the Prophet (PBUB), after his death.

“It’s beautiful to be strong,” Zaghmout says about the examples that these revered women have embossed in Islamic history. She also expands on the contributions that Islam made to the advancement of women’s rights in the scopes of financial independence and inheritance, education ( Zaghmout noted that a woman built the first university), divorce, and the right to choose who to marry. Zaghmout also points out the gap between religious and cultural practice especially highlighting the difference between the religious basis of protection compared to the cultural practice – which a number of guests agreed with her on, even sharing their personal experiences and observations in their own communities.

FIF Pres. Fatima adds, “The lecture expanded on important female figures in Islam thus furthering our main focus of empowering women through the lives, actions, and ideologies of prominent female figures who have contributed to the religion, literature, and culture.” Truly, the conversation brought so much to the table in the recognition of female contributions throughout history in the development of society. Besides this, the lecture granted an opportunity to the student community to expand their knowledge on the minimized parts of history and incited a dialogue that facilitated and nurtured this knowledge, integrated into the GU-Q student values.

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<![CDATA[Celebrating Lebanon and Its Culture: Lebanese Dabke and Karaoke Night]]>https://www.georgetowngazette.com/post/celebrating-lebanon-and-its-culture-lebanese-dabke-and-karaoke-night637628f0aa447c24e62eca08Fri, 18 Nov 2022 09:00:45 GMTSamantha Facun GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY IN QATAR (Oct. 13, 2022) In celebration of Lebanese culture, traditions, and music, the Lebanese Club hosted an event that welcomed the entire GU-Q community to a night of fun activities and great performances from both students and faculty members alike. The event was held in Oxygen Park, decorated with strings of flashing fairy lights and a stage that donned the Lebanese flag and mini cedar trees. Meanwhile, situated throughout the place were a handful of booths that students and faculty could visit to appreciate and immerse themselves in the culture. Among these booths was: the picture booth, where everyone could take photographs with their friends wearing traditional headdresses such as the Tantour and the Tarboosh or Fez; the henna booth; and the beautifully crafted heritage and artifacts table. The latter showed various paintings and artworks by Lebanese artists— namely those that represented the cedar tree and Lebanese art. There was also a wonderful painting depicting a group of men performing the traditional Dabke dance, which was donated by Prof. Jeremy Koons for the event.

Along with these paintings were the traditional carpentry or wooden boards— cedar wood with the names of different cities in Lebanon— as well as the tawleh, the traditional wooden board game. In addition to these art pieces, there was also a display of glass and ceramic vases which are traditionally used to serve water for guests, traditional Arabic qahwa cups, and a traditional bread basket. Meanwhile, behind these artifacts and miniatures was a board displaying Gibran Khalil Gibran’s quotes and letters. As such, the heritage and artifacts table not only showcased cultural but also historical pieces, and together they told fragments of the stories of the country.

However, the heritage and artifacts table was not the only one that shared stories of Lebanon. The program and first performances of the night, as introduced by Salma Darwiche '25, were shared with us by faculty members— each one of them detailing their personal stories and experiences within Lebanon and what the country means to them. These included stellar performances from Prof. Jeremy Koons, Prof. Danyel Reiche, and Dean Rodoldph Boughaba of GU-Q's Executive Education. In addition to these wonderful, heartwarming stories and entertaining anecdotes, there was also a presentation by Fatima Hamady, one of GU-Q's Economics Specialists and Teaching Assistants, about life in Lebanon— the different seasons, the delicious food, and on the country's pop culture icons. Concluding the night's performances was a presentation by Prof. Firat Oruc on the parallels between Lebanese and Turkish culture. As the performances went on, Anna Cequeña '25, shared that they thought the speeches from people of the culture, those that detailed personal experiences and stories were unlike any other program they had attended during the many cultural celebrations held in GU-Q.

Although the end of the performances hardly meant that the celebration was over. The night continued with a thought-provoking poetry recital by Darwiche of a selection of poems by Nadia Tueni in English and another one in Arabic by Nizar Qabbani entitled “Beirut Sitt El Dounia”. Though, the event would not be complete without a Dabke performance from the Al Kofia team with famous guest performer Tamer Akil— during which, students and faculty clapped and cheered along with the music and performance. As the event came to an end, students and faculty once again came together and took to the stage; where they sang songs that ranged from traditional to contemporary, like those by Fayrouz and Wael Kfoury. The said karaoke session was led by Fatema Hubail, one of the GU-Q Teaching Assistants, Zain Fanik '25, Zain Assaf '23, and Mirna Yamut '24.

Indeed, the night was one that truly highlighted Lebanese culture and brought the GU-Q community together in a fun and enriching event— one that recognized inclusivity in diversity and welcomed people from different walks of life. From the stories and performances to the dances, music, and pieces of tradition and history, this memorable occasion undoubtedly invited the whole community into a piece of Lebanon and left attendees with a strong sense of appreciation for its culture.

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<![CDATA[Shabe Khosh]]>https://www.georgetowngazette.com/post/shabe-khosh637735aaf4e4f3bc86664e72Fri, 18 Nov 2022 09:00:43 GMTSalma Darwiche

GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY IN QATAR (Oct. 5th, 2022) The Iranian Society and Iraqi Cultural Association recently came together to bring the Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) community an unforgettable night of celebration. Shabe Khosh began around 6:30 p.m. and lasted well into the night at the GU-Q Oxygen Park where decorations were hard to miss. Described as a night where Saadi and Al-Mutannabi meet, the event beautifully highlighted different themes of the two cultures and histories.

The night had a number of booths and activities to offer including a professional photo booth, a calligraphy station, a heritage display, and most notably— a carpets exhibition. As students, faculty, staff, and visitors arrived, they had the chance to examine the intricate details of the carpets and tapestries as well as learn about them from guides in-person. Each piece on display had designs unique to different regions across Iran and Iraq as well as different points in time that contributed to its allure. Such carpets can traditionally be found in the homes of Iraqi and Irani families alike with certain rugs used specifically to seat guests.

Attendees also had the opportunity to have their names or quotes written in Arabic calligraphy style on papers bordered by classic Islamic patterns. As they explored the booths, attendees were entertained by a charming musical performance on the Qanun, an instrument of great historical significance to both Iranian and Iraqi culture. Following brief speeches by the hosts of the event, Zahra Saboorzadeh and Kaltham Al-Subaey, the poetry reciting segment was introduced. Having compiled together a series of poems and verses written by Iraqi and Irani writers, the leading clubs encouraged participants to take to the stage and recite select pieces. The famous Rumi, Bint al-Bukhariya, and Hafiz Shirazi were just some of the many poets whose works were included in the collection that students and professors recited.

A diverse selection of traditional drinks such as Karak, Iraqi Cardamom Tea, and Sharbat-e Khakshir, as well as Tokhm Sharbati, was offered to the guests throughout the night. Moreover, savory dishes such as Kashk Bademjan, Chicken and Lamb Kebab along with sweet dishes such as Luqaimat were served. The food complemented the spirit of the night which offered many a memorable cultural experience.

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<![CDATA[Embodying ‘Cura Personalis’: Georgetown Students Participate in Random Acts of Kindness Week]]>https://www.georgetowngazette.com/post/embodying-cura-personalis-georgetown-students-participate-in-random-acts-of-kindness-week637671546d40155c81a9751bFri, 18 Nov 2022 09:00:31 GMTJustin Pacer GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY IN QATAR (Oct. 9, 2022) Organized by the Office of Student Life, “Random Acts of Kindness Week” was a four-day, week-long event from October 9 to October 12 held in the Atrium. According to Ms. Angela Marongiu, Student Support Manager of Student Life, the purpose of this event was simply “to celebrate and spread some kindness throughout the campus by fostering Georgetown values such as ‘Cura Personalis’ and ‘Women and Men for Others’ so that students, service providers, faculty, and staff could get together for the whole community.”

Along with Ms. Marongiu, other student representatives of Student Life have contributed their efforts to make this event possible. Divided into four, each day had its unique segment to fulfill the goal of spreading kindness. On October 9, Dr. John Wright, Director of Student Life, along with Ms. Marongiu, formally opened the program in the Atrium followed by a few remarks. On October 10, students had the opportunity of making appreciation bracelets and kindness cards for one another. The following day, students gathered as they waited in line to participate in packing a study bag for a friend. On the final day, October 12, a mystery box displayed in the Atrium was filled with names of the faculty and was given to students, from which they received free ice cream coupons that they could redeem at the cafeteria.

Natali Fanik, ‘25, emphasized the importance of this kind of event within our campus. “Even if we’re all busy with our homework, it’s nice to stop and help each other out because we’re human beings and we have to be kind to each other,” she says. Furthermore, she expressed her gratitude to the unsung heroes of this initiative. “It’s nice because, despite the realities of life, our campus and the different offices here do not forget about the well-being of everyone,” she added.

The “Random Acts of Kindness” is an annual event that Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) holds to celebrate Georgetown values, explains Ms. Angela. “It was initially targeted for students, but we do plan a more broad community event in the near future including faculty and staff hopefully next year,” she added. As small as it may be, she believes that this will leave an impact on everybody: “It’s an opportunity for us to show kindness, to make each other happy, and to make them feel good. You know, just happy vibes.”

Indeed, having “Random Acts of Kindness Week” is just as important as all the other social functions that are marked in the GU-Q calendar yearly. It allows the whole community to take a short pause and realize that they can, after all, humanize their university experience. Beyond the academic excellence that GU-Q upholds, personifying their core values is also of importance, hence, why initiatives like this take place. Though the celebration may seem short, a little goes a long way; and a little kindness, no matter how small, is never wasted.

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<![CDATA[Upholding Integrity through Transparency: The Honor Council Hosts Mock Trial Event]]>https://www.georgetowngazette.com/post/upholding-integrity-through-transparency-the-honor-council-hosts-mock-trial-event6376756d6d40155c81a977eaWed, 16 Nov 2022 21:00:00 GMTFrances Balani GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY IN QATAR (Oct. 23, 2022) The Honor Council (HC) hosted a Mock Trial to provide an opportunity for GU-Q students to learn more about HC processes and connect with the organization, with experienced faculty and student members composing the board.

The GU-Q HC is an organization composed of GU-Q decanal, faculty, and student members all tasked with maintaining the Honor System, which establishes the standard of academic integrity in the university. The HC hosts several outreach projects throughout the academic year in order to educate the student body in preventing academic violations as well as informing them of its role and the actions that it takes in order to uphold its responsibility. One such action takes place in the form of a Hearing Board, the trial that takes place when a student has been accused of violating the GU-Q Honor System. A Chairing Dean will assign an Investigating Officer to prepare the necessary information and documentation prior to the trial. A pair of student members as well as one or two faculty members make up the rest of the Hearing Board panel. In accordance with its duties, the HC held the Mock Trial event in order to show a simulation of an ordinary HC adjudication process.

The event detailed the entirety of the process beginning with an accusing professor’s report, the investigation of the case conducted by an Investigating Officer, the adjudication by trial through a hearing board, and the aftermath of the trial. The event was held in order to promote transparency between the GU-Q HC and the student body as well as to establish a connection between the HC and the freshmen class, who are in most need of resources in academic integrity. Among the panelists were Dean Brendan Hill (who served as the Hearing Board Chairperson), Prof. Gerd Nonneman (who served as the Investigating Officer), Prof. Karine Walther and Prof. Santiago Garcia-Couto (both serving as HC faculty adjudicators), Levan Baidashvili and Muhammad Carter (both serving as HC student adjudicators), Prof. Anne-Sophie Pratte (who served as the accusing professor), and Jaelene Iyman (who served as the accused student).

After the Mock Trial, the floor was open for any questions coming from the audience. Questions such as the kinds of sanctions and the gravity of each, the kinds of violations that violate the GU-Q Honor System that necessitate the involvement of the HC, and what HC student members learn by being a part of the HC, all contributed to a fruitful discussion at the end of the event. Members of the HC all welcomed the students in reaching out for further information on the Council, the Honor System, and the Hearing Board process.

Events such as these serve to symbolize the efforts that the university exerts in instilling Georgetown values into its students—values that are illustrative of both the personal growth and the academic excellence that characterizes the GU-Q community.

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<![CDATA[Reframing the Abortion Debate: A Call for the Adoption of Philosophical Inquiry into the Mainstream]]>https://www.georgetowngazette.com/post/reframing-the-abortion-debate-a-call-for-the-adoption-of-philosophical-inquiry-into-the-mainstream6339f039e454b8ae60bc655eMon, 03 Oct 2022 05:03:59 GMTJohn Carlos BurogThere has been an overthrow of legal precedence in the United States. In particular, ,the overturning of Roe v. Wade under the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision by the conservative-appointed-majority Supreme Court has ignited debates that have generally been divided into two: ,Pro-Choice and Pro-life.

However, both sides continue to miss a crucial point in addressing the real issue at hand, and that is the issue of personhood - a debate that has largely remained hidden from the public eye. This is essential because the mainstream arguments fundamentally boil down to whether morally justifiable ends matter more than the means. For example, the life of the mother matters more than that of the fetus because the mother is capable of producing more human life and should therefore be protected from the possibility of death when facing ectopic pregnancies (the ends are justified regardless of the means); or it is inherently wrong to take the life of any being regardless of the circumstances because it is a universal law that the taking away of human life is immoral (the means should be morally justified). While there is substance in these debates, they often obstruct the essentialities of what it means to be human.

Firstly, what exactly is a person? Those in medicine and in biology can provide an accurate definition for terms such as ‘Homo sapiens’ or ‘human being,’ but I have noticed that the term ‘human person’ never enters into their lexicon when writing about a textbook on the human species, human anatomy, or fundamentals of human biology. In a rare few cases, medicine papers use the term ‘person’, albeit in meeting the biopsychosocial needs of a patient rather than a comprehensive definition of what it means to be a person. This is because the term ‘human person’ transcends that of the ‘hard’ biological sciences to that of philosophy, illustrating that the question of personhood is not a mere scientific matter but a philosophical one. Philosophical literature utilizing the term ‘person’ or ‘human person’ is more common than in scientific papers. In ethics, a person is a being that is ,capable of making moral judgments, while in Metaphysics, a person possesses self-consciousness and reasoning. Ultimately, however, those pondering abortion should consider where personhood starts and ends.

One should ask about the importance of personhood in this debate. Those who characterize themselves as pro-life would equivocate the human person with that of human life. However, human life is manifested in different forms. Red blood cells, for instance, are ‘alive’ in the sense that these cells are capable of performing ,processes independent of our control. While red blood cells are considered a form of ,human life, they do not exactly constitute a human person because they lack qualities that we associate with the term ‘person’ even in common parlance. One may argue that these cells are not ‘alive’ due to bodily reliance. Generally speaking (and I know the pro-life camp would very much agree), these are indeed alive and to deny so on the basis of the bodily reliance on the human being is to deny their living existence, as equivalent to a fetus being physically reliant on a mother. One may then ask that even if they are a form of human life, are not all forms of human life valuable and thus worth saving from all harm, including an abortion?

Consider a hospital that has caught on fire. You, the reader, are a nurse who happens to stumble upon a room with two living objects: a man (the living being) in a hospital bed and some blood packs (the living non-being) adjacent to him. The fire has made the situation precarious to the point that you would have to choose which to save, for you do not have the time to save both. I anticipate that the common response (hopefully) would be to save the human person. This ethical test demonstrates that the value of human life is relative and that there are different moral considerations that we afford to each form of human life. This assertion refutes the pro-choice argument (although not all in this camp will make such a statement) that fetuses are not a form of human life and, at the same time, poses a question to the pro-life camp to clarify that which they are protecting.

In addition, a person is more than a mere living being. Consider a man who has a family driving on his way home at night. While on a dark road, his car’s headlights come across a deer that has abruptly crossed the road in front of him. Too late to hit the brakes, he swerves away from the road and hits a tree. After being taken to a hospital, the doctor consults his family that the accident has left the man in a coma. The man is put on life support, and machines replace his bodily functions. Months pass, the man suffers a stroke, and brain activity stops. The family is then consulted on his condition, and the hospital offers to pull the man's life support at their discretion. Would one want to cut the life support system? A common response would affirm, for the individual does not have the ability to regain consciousness; ceased to be a person, literally deceased. We should therefore define where personhood starts at consciousness rather than using the imprecise metric of life (beginning at conception or otherwise) because one can be a living being, but is not necessarily a conscious being; the beings we value above all else. One can replace all the organs of a human body with better mechanical versions of themselves, but without the conscious experience of the brain, the human being does not constitute a human person.

It is not a debate about whether or not the fetus is human life but rather if it constitutes a conscious being. So far, scientific research has shown that fetuses can only exhibit consciousness in the ,third trimester or roughly 22-24 weeks of the gestational period. Many countries have already set their abortion regulations taking this limitation into account. It is here where the mainstream pro-choice discourse fails, often failing to consider when personhood begins. This blatant disregard for conscious life may translate into policies that are inherently immoral from this point of view.

A common counterargument is a situation wherein a person has a horrible accident that renders them in a coma. Due to the loss of consciousness, they then argue that the individual is not a person and thus justifies the immoral act of not putting life support systems on them. This is then related to abortion: while consciousness is yet to be developed in the fetus, this does not justify performing an abortion. However, this is a false equivalency. It fails to differentiate between persons-in-existence from persons-yet-to-be. Persons-in-existence are human beings that have already asserted their consciousness and maintain the capabilities to assert that consciousness, while persons-yet-to-be, are human beings that have not asserted and developed the capability of consciousness before. While in a coma, the human being may have lost consciousness, but still retains the capabilities to be conscious once again in the future. There is a higher level of moral consideration afforded to the persons-in-existence compared to persons-yet-to-be for the simple fact that persons-in-existence has already made an impact, whether big or small, on this world. The man put into a comatose state was probably a father, a husband, or a brother. In contrast, a fetus (a person yet-to-be) has not asserted themselves as conscious beings in this world. It also does not have the capabilities to display a conscious experience until about the third trimester.

Overall, the mainstream abortion debate needs to be transformed to debates on personhood. On one hand, the pro-life camp overemphasizes the value of human life even though the nuanced forms of human life have relative moral considerations. On the other hand, the pro-choice camp ignores the issue of personhood altogether, at least in the mainstream narrative. This debate on abortion must go beyond its current state, consider the implications of the arguments raised in this work, and use these subsequent responses to further popularize ethical and philosophical debates on personhood that have remained an esoteric topic in the mainstream.

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<![CDATA[Building Bridges: Georgetown Students Talk with Ambassadors from Latin America]]>https://www.georgetowngazette.com/post/building-bridges-georgetown-students-talk-with-ambassadors-from-latin-america6339f204c35bd303b06675e2Mon, 03 Oct 2022 05:00:22 GMTFrances BalaniGEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY IN QATAR (Sept. 8, 2022) Seven Latin American diplomats were invited by Georgetown University in Qatar’s (GU-Q) Latin American and Caribbean Society (LACAS) to an event called “A Coffee Chat with the Ambassadors: Reflections on Diplomacy and Foreign Service,” providing an opportunity for Georgetown students to direct their questions about diplomatic affairs and receive answers directly from professionals in the field.

Seat reservation was open to the GU-Q student and faculty and on the day of the event, the registration table was busy with people in a hurry to get the best available seats in the room. In fact, the room was abuzz with both excitement and anticipation for the rare opportunity of meeting with and hearing from such distinguished individuals. The event promptly began at 1 p.m. where it was set in the Faculty Conference room. Interim Dean Clyde Wilcox was present to recognize the efforts that the LACAS put into organizing the event as well as to welcome the honorable guests and thank them for their enthusiasm in taking the time to be a part of such a unique and significant event –especially for students aiming for future careers in diplomacy. LACAS club leaders and Masters of the Ceremony (MCs), Emilia Pacheco De Larrea and Santiago Rubio Henao introduced H.E. Luis Alberto Figueiredo (Brazil), H.E. Mariano Segura Ávila (Costa Rica), H.E. Oscar León Gonzales (Cuba), Consul Jaime Pacheco (Colombia), H.E. Pascual Del Cioppo (Ecuador), H.E. Musa Asvat (Panama), and Consul Juan Martín Benavides (Uruguay) before proceeding to the most awaited part of the event: the coffee chat.

The MCs began with a series of pre-prepared questions for the ambassadors before handing the microphone to other GU-Q students who all expressed their gratitude towards the honorable guests. Answers to questions such as which major can best lead to the diplomatic pathway, the place, and future of women in the diplomatic space, and the role of language in diplomatic conversations all gave the audience an insight into the nuances of international politics. The final question that came from a student was given by Benjamin Kurian, ‘23, Student Government Association (SGA) President. Kurian asked whether the ambassadors would be open to GU-Q students shadowing them so that the former may engage in experiential learning opportunities. Fortunately, all the ambassadors happily gave a unanimous “yes.” The event ended with an enjoyable fast-talk interview session where the ambassadors were given signs that had “Yes” written on one side and “No” on the other. There had been some amusing answers that resulted in laughter erupting in the room.

During the chat, H.E. Gonzales mentioned that “diversity in opinions is beautiful.” Indeed, participating in a platform of open and honest discourse is the best way to learn from the perspectives of other people and as H.E. Figueiredo said, diplomats are the “builders of bridges.” In the end, the event had been successful in serving as a bridge between GU-Q students to hear the perspectives of seasoned ambassadors. LACAS managed to build that bridge between the two parties. GU-Q students will regard “A Coffee Chat with Ambassadors” as a platform that helped pave the way to realizing the uniqueness of the experiences of being a diplomatic professional and the nuances behind the nature and current state of diplomatic affairs. Many of them await more occasions such as this and are greatly appreciative of the efforts of the LACAS in working to materialize one of the most significant events contributing to the GU-Q student experience.

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<![CDATA[Transitioning to a New home: Qatar]]>https://www.georgetowngazette.com/post/transitioning-to-a-new-home-qatar63354e4661e4ab5e1e583fcbMon, 03 Oct 2022 05:00:14 GMTAnupa KhanalNEPAL (July 14, 2022) It had been the first time in ages when I woke up neither through an alarm nor my mother shouting at the top of her lungs. My room was filled with my luggage waiting patiently for our flight. I always look forward to traveling, but this time, I felt a number of mixed emotions–how could I not be? I was moving to an entirely new country for the next four years. I bid adieu to my friends, my cat, and my family; then went on the very first flight of my life. This was the start of many “firsts” and the beginning of my four-year journey at Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q).

When the captain announced that we were taking off from Nepal, it was only at that point that reality truly struck me. I was leaving my home, the place that meant everything to me. The thought evoked a strange feeling. I asked myself, “Will I be able to adjust in Qatar? Will I be even able to call it home?”. Even though these thoughts kept my head reeling, I was still looking forward to everything.

The four hours in the air went by quickly, I was now in Qatar. As I came out of the airport at 12:30 p.m., the heat waves instantly struck me. I had never experienced such wind before – it was as though it had a different feel and scent to it. Perhaps it was just another “first” in my list of “firsts.”

Our classes began promptly on the 24th of July after the lively and engaging New Student Orientation (NSO) week. While I felt anxious about taking subjects such as economics for the first time, my fears were resolved the moment I witnessed the excitement my professor shared. It was reassuring to note how the professor tried to cater to all the students' different backgrounds in economics.

In addition, not only the classrooms but also the clubs and events manage to embody the Hoya spirit. I recently became part of the Desert Hoya crew and it already feels as though I have my own little family as we had the opportunity to tour museums at Msheireb together. One of the projects we had also worked on as the Desert Hoya team included an Open House event to familiarize prospective Georgetown students with the university. Every time I attend classes and participate in these events, I realize what being a “Hoya” truly means. For me, being a Hoya means getting to celebrate Palestinian night with students from all over the world and being there for my friend when she misses her family. Being a Hoya also means bringing different ideologies and perspectives to the table while discussing topics such as the history of Mesopotamia or the Persian Empire.

While the transition was initially a bit harder than I expected, there are several encounters that have made me perceive Qatar as though it is home. From the day I arrived up until now, the greatest part of my experience has been the people themselves. From the staff at the airport who helped me with simple concerns such as buying a sim card to a friend who took the time to receive me in the lobby, I have been showered with love from the very start.

Through my time here, I have also realized that there are habits that may never change whether I am in Nepal or Qatar. I still run late for classes no matter how early I wake up. I still love sipping chiya, traditional tea in Nepal, that is now just in the Qatar version of karak. After spending more than two months here, I feel as though I can finally call it home. After all, “home” is not a place, it is a feeling.

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<![CDATA[Open Mic Night: A Celebration of Talents and Cultures ]]>https://www.georgetowngazette.com/post/open-mic-night-a-celebration-of-talents-and-cultures6339f15818298b1f911f3bc3Mon, 03 Oct 2022 05:00:11 GMTSalma DarwicheGEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY IN QATAR (Aug. 31, 2022) Lit up with fairy lights hung across its walls and a stage placed conveniently at the center, the atrium at Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) was hard to overlook. Open Mic Night, a yearly tradition that last graced the GU-Q campus prior to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, had finally returned.

This Georgetown tradition has served as an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to showcase their talents and skills as well as celebrate their cultures in a fun and open setting. With around 20 acts, this year’s celebration of Open Mic Night witnessed a great deal of diversity with performances including singing, poetry and instrument recitals, dancing, and more from both students and professors. These performances were not limited to those officially from Georgetown but included students hailing from other Education City universities, such as Texas A&M.

The night was opened with a lively rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” that animated the audience and set the standard for following acts quite high. Yet despite this standard, the performance that came next did not fall short of being unforgettable. Having introduced themselves as “The Spice Boys”, this act included a number of faculty and staff that had gathered to perform a remarkable cover of “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys. This particular act, while undeniably unique in its own ways, had not been the first of its kind as previous celebrations of Open Mic Night saw the presence of another Backstreet Boys tribute, the Class of 2014’s The Halal Boys. The following acts included a flawless violin recital and a series of songs, some even having been originals, performed by students and professors. Between the acts, attendees were given the opportunity to grab a bite and socialize with one another outside the usual classroom setting.

For some students, this year’s celebration of Open Mic Night would prove to be a one-time experience. Zain Assaf, a student from GU-Q’s Class of 2023 remarked, “As a senior, this Open Mic Night is both my first and last. I’ve been looking forward to it since my freshman year,”.

As the night carried on, performers brought to the stage various acts of poetry, dance, and more singing. The diversity of the GU-Q was manifested through the number of languages different songs were delivered in besides English, such as Spanish and Turkish. The stage was open to anyone who felt it in themselves to showcase their talents and skills or simply partake in the vibrant spirit of the crowd.

Benjamin Kurian, a senior at GU-Q serving as the current Student Government Association President added, “The turnout exceeded my expectations and it’s a hopeful sign that we’re returning to campus life as it was before the pandemic,”.

The night came to an end after a number of impromptu acts and group dances that left everyone fairing in good spirits and anticipating the next Open Mic Night.

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<![CDATA[Iranian Politics Brief with Dr. Kamrava]]>https://www.georgetowngazette.com/post/iranian-politics-brief-with-dr-kamrava6339f194a658b53eadc3125aMon, 03 Oct 2022 05:00:10 GMTSamantha FacunGEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY IN QATAR (September 26, 2022) Hosted by the GU-Q Iranian Society and in collaboration with Dr. Mehran Kamrava, one of the university’s esteemed government professors and the director of the Iranian Studies Unit at the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, the Iranian Politics Brief was indeed an engaging and enriching dialogue on Iran’s current state of affairs—both within the country and in relationship with the rest of the globe.

Open to all GU-Q students, the Iranian Society’s first event of the semester started off with Dr. Kamrava giving a short introduction focusing on the country’s current string of protests, describing, “the episodes last 7-10 days” and during the latter duration of the episodes remarking, “government repression is so pervasive and so harsh that they eventually tend to die down”. As for the reasons for these ongoing protests, the distinguished professor emphasized the effect that the modern political system which was born from the 1978-79 revolution has on influencing how people choose to mobilize. He goes on to describe the system as one that implores its citizens to participate in “political processes as the state itself dictates”. He further adds that this system “enables them to take part in these government choreographed episodes of uprising … against enemies far and near.” According to Dr. Kamrava, the state had been sponsoring these mass demonstrations and uprisings which indicates that people, particularly those that are “amenable to government or mass organizations” or those that are dependent on the state, are “requested to come out onto the streets” and protest against the said enemies (external forces beyond the state’s borders). Such sentiments have led to the conclusion that the country is no stranger to these demonstrations of mass mobilization.

However, it is also acknowledged that most of the time, the government cannot control the messages being put forth, thus resulting in instances of anti-government or “non-government sponsored protests”. As stated during his talk, Iran has seen the occurrence of both episodes in its history: pro-government and anti-government, with the latter becoming more frequent and more violent, eliciting a “much more violent response from the government”. These anti-government mass demonstrations are, of course, the movements that we are witnessing from the streets of Iran today.

He also emphasizes that Iran employs a “hybrid authoritarian political system,”

highlighting that it is an “authoritarian political system with authoritarian impulses and can be highly repressive if push comes to shove, but it

also has certain features for people to vent their anger through institutional means” (e.g., presidential, parliamentary elections). Nevertheless, this political system is still dubbed highly repressive due to the existence of Iran’s security forces that “will not stop at any level of repression,” as stated by the professor. Such information on Iran's political system is vital when it comes to understanding the country holistically and how the state might act in light of civil movements, just as in any other nation— a concept that is not foreign to many of the SFS-Q students.

Meanwhile, in light of recent events within the country, the protests as a result of the death of Mahsa Amini while in the custody of morality police, he also stresses the central role of Iranian women in leading these protests, stating they’ve been at the forefronts of the demonstrations. However, Dr. Kamrava also explains that this has not been the only time where women have been known to participate in these episodes: citing the 2009 Green Movement and the 1978-79 revolution. Circling back to the current protests, women across the country are burning their hijabs, using this as a symbol of a social movement and to underscore the current issue of compulsory hijabs.

After answering some short queries from the attending students— ranging from issues of education and protests to questions regarding western media— Dr. Kamrava concluded the session by stating that he hopes the casualties brought about by the protests gradually decrease in the days following.

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<![CDATA[ What Does it Mean to Love a Place?]]>https://www.georgetowngazette.com/post/what-does-it-mean-to-love-a-place6339926f77cd9d36b05bda0fMon, 03 Oct 2022 05:00:10 GMTMinahil MahmudI took one sip of the tea and couldn’t help but smile; it tasted exactly like home.

“Cardamom, right?” I asked. The man's face broke into a smile; he nodded fervently, rubbing nervous circles on his knees.

When we first walked into the living room, I was struck by the contrast between the vibrant purple pattern of the carpet and the empty white walls; it was the astronomical difference between belonging and beginning anew. I felt a glowing admiration in my chest: they had brought a piece of home with them. Even the steaming cup I cradled in my hands was made of heavy glass. I felt a restatement of dignity in its weight, anchored in these symbols of grounded familiarity in the otherwise all but bare apartment.

It was my first day of work at the resettlement agency and my first visit to an Afghan family’s home. Over the rim of my tea cup, I caught the child stealing furtive, wide-eyed glances at me from her father's lap and I noticed her evident physical disability. How did they manage with the three flights of stairs we had climbed on our way up? I couldn’t help but think of my sister. What had this child seen that she had not? Despite the opposite trajectory of their short lives—one marked by forced displacement and the other by relative stability—maybe they still saw the world more similar than I realized. They were unaffected by the mutual mistrust that had diffused across the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan for decades.

From behind her husband, who translated her Dari to English, the mother of the children asked where I was from. I hesitated. That very morning I had comforted a grown man at the office through his racking sobs. He played me harrowing footage of failed civilian evacuations at Kabul airport, blaming neighboring countries for the fate of his country.

Sure enough, I watched as a thin sheet of realization glazed over their faces once I answered the question. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed by desperation to communicate how acutely I understood them. It's a sinking, inexplicable feeling to learn that the only place you've ever called home is synonymous with concerning headlines, crude numbers, and preconceived notions in another part of the world. On this carpet, I wanted to be their bridge between home and unchartered territory. So I leaned forward and asked them their story.

Nothing could have prepared me for their generosity in sharing. They recounted how they were given a day to drop everything and be loaded onto a departing military plane. Here they were, the expendable factors in a cataclysmic event triggered by decisions made between governments. There is a critical intersection between global politics and the individual stories that preserve its impact—that is the part that matters to me.

As they described their life in Kabul, I felt admiration growing inside me a second time—they didn’t disavow their home, even when they were forced to leave it. You can’t—you shouldn’t—teach yourself to fall out of love with a home. I am frustrated, for example, by the imperfect, violence-prone democracy in Pakistan; the patriarchal norms that govern society and justify the exclusion of women. But I viscerally understand that to disavow your home is to fail to appreciate a very fruitful tension between love and freedom.

We talked about everything from Pakistani television, Eid, and halal restaurants to my mother’s Pashto heritage, their children's schooling, and my college plans. With each sip of my tea, I felt the tension in the room easing away.

When we exited the apartment, the pavement was glistening wet. Our love for rain and dark skies in South Asia, like our cardamom-flavored hospitality, is our own. It’s finding new life in something that sends others rushing for cover. It settles the dust and recharges the soul—it makes me come alive.

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<![CDATA[Iran: Culture, Traditions, and Celebrations]]>https://www.georgetowngazette.com/post/iran-culture-traditions-and-celebrations6339f0eda7baf7ad8e7b1737Mon, 03 Oct 2022 05:00:07 GMTZahra SaboorzadehIran, formerly known as Persia, is one of the oldest nations in the world, and its history dates to tens of thousands of years. It is one of the cradles of civilizations, with a rich culture stemming from the heart of the Persian empire. Similarly, traditions and celebrations dating from ages ago have been passed down generations and made their way to the modern lives of Iranians. All these celebrations have been brought to the GU-Q campus by the Iranian Society and we hope that everyone will champion the opportunity to pass by and celebrate our culture and traditions with us.

There are several cultural festivals with Zoroastrian roots that are still widely celebrated today by Iranians, but there are four significant events that any Iranian around the world celebrates no matter their background: Nowruz, Sizdeh Bedar, Yalda, and Chahrshanbe Soori. It is important to mention that Iranians follow the solar calendar – meaning their dates, months, and even year are different. To elaborate, the new year in Iran, Nowruz, begins on March 21 or March 22 of every year, however, the timing varies and is quite specific because it depends on the spring equinox.

Nowruz

Nowruz means “new day” and it’s the first day of the Iranian new year marked by the night of the sun’s birth because the days gradually grow longer, and the nights fall shorter. The celebration period lasts for up to thirteen days. The first thing to do before the new year is khoone takoni which literally translates to “shaking the house” but can be understood as intense house cleaning. On the day of Nowruz, families, and friends gather to eat herbed rice served with fish, sabzi polo ba mahi. This dish is important as it shows the freshness of the food that was caught on the first day of spring. People also gather around to read poetry and perform fal giri which is fortune telling where they read passages from the book of Hafez and see what the year holds for them. An important fictional character in Nowruz is Haji Firouz who is a serf that wears red clothes, a felt hat, and has a soot-covered face. He dances throughout the streets, sings, and plays the tambourine while announcing that Nowruz is nearby.

The center of Nowruz is preparing the “haft-sin” (seven s - س) table, the 15th letter in the Farsi alphabet. The main seven item symbolizes something which is why they are put on the table: sprouts (sabzeh) - rebirth & growth, pudding (samanu) - power & strength, oleaster (senjed) - love, vinegar (serkeh) - patience, apple (seeb) beauty, garlic (seer) - health & medicine, and sumac - sunrise.

There are other symbolic items included on the table: hyacinth (sonbol) - spring’s arrival, coin (sekkeh) - wealth & prosperity, clock (saat) - time, colored eggs (tokhme morg rangi) - fertility, mirror (ayina) - self-reflection, candle (shaam) - enlightenment, goldfish (maahi ye qirmiz) - progress, and a divan/book (ketab) - wisdom.

Sizdeh Bedar

Sizdeh Bedar translates to “getting rid of the 13” and is celebrated on the 13th day of the Iranian year, April 1 or April 2, and signifies the end of the Nowruz celebrations. After 12 days of celebrating at one another’s homes to appreciate the haftsin tables, the 13th day is spent outdoors in nature where the goldfish from the haftsin table are returned to the rivers and the sabzeh is thrown in any form of moving water to go back to nature. Touching someone else’s sprouts is bad luck, and the custom is for single people to tie a knot on the stems of the greens before tossing them into the water as a form of wishing to find a partner. The reason why it is celebrated on the 13th day is that the first 12 days of Nowruz each represent one month of the year, and 13 is believed to be an ominous number hence the name and outdoor location. Additionally, there is the tradition of pranking one another called “lie of the 13”, dorugha sizdah. The foods consumed are typically picnicked food and grilled kebabs outdoors but an important drink that everyone consumes is sekanjabin, made with vinegar, honey, mint and lettuce as a form of a promise to stay healthy during the new year.

Shabe Yalda

Yalda means “birth or light” and is a winter solstice festival celebrated on the night of December 20 or December 21 which is the last day of the ninth month in the solar calendar and the first day of the tenth month. It is called the longest and darkest night of the year which marks the night opening the 40-day period of the three-month winter before Nowruz. Shabe Chelleh is another name for the festival, meaning the 40th night. In the solar calendar, there are three 40-day periods, one in summer and two in winter, and the two winter periods are called the great chelleh period with Yalda Night opening the big chelleh period. Lights and candles are used throughout the long night while family and friends gather to eat, drink, and read poetry, specifically the Shahnameh, from dusk till dawn. The red color is especially significant on Yalda because it symbolizes the crimson hues of dawn and the glow of life. Similar to Nowruz, there is a Yalda table decorated with red foods and it is customary to consume 40 forms of edibles throughout the night, especially red fruits such as pomegranates and watermelons; beets, red tea, wine, and nuts are also quite common. Poetry is divined throughout until the sunrise because historically people tended to believe that the long night was dark and full of terrors, so it was a form of staying together and keeping occupied until morning.

Chahrshanbe Soori

The final celebration of the solar year known as the Scarlet Wednesday is celebrated on the eve of the last Wednesday of the year and is the first festivity of the Nowruz celebrations. The center of the festival is jumping over a fire while chanting “sorkhi ye to az man, zardi ye man az to” which means “let your redness be mine, and my paleness yours” and is seen as a purification practice before the new year. Back then, it was seen as “day of the dead” where people believed spirits walk among them. During the Qajar period, Iranians would seek the intercession of the Pearl Cannon during Chahrshanbe Soori. There are a lot of traditions that are celebrated on this night, such as qashoq zani where people would wear disguises and go door to door hitting spoons against plates and bowls in exchange for snacks. Another tradition, kuza sekani is when pots are smashed after a person jumps over the fire to remove misfortunes. Families would put coins, charcoal, and salt into the pot and stir it around a person’s head to transfer the misfortune from them before throwing it off from the top of the roof. Fortune telling is also common where people would place a personal item and slips of paper with auguries into a jug, a child would then be asked to remove an item followed by the most knowledgeable person being asked to remove a piece of paper, and a person’s fate is revealed. There is also the custom of eating ajeel chaharshanbe soori, nuts, sweets, and raisins, to make a person’s wishes come true. Moreover, men would often drop a basket tied to a rope through the chimney or any other opening through a girl’s house, and if the gift in the basket is received by the family of the girl and an item is returned, it potentially indicates that their courtship is accepted. Lastly, it is important to burn rue, esfand, to ward off evil eyes and demons. It is also the time when families gather together to plant and grow the sabze for Nowruz, cook the samanu which takes 2 days and prepare the Nowruz snacks such as deep-fried rice known as berenjak.

These four celebrations are the core of holding the Iranian culture together. They are essential in keeping the people in touch with their Persian roots, which is why every year, Persians around the world gather to celebrate these historical traditions to keep them grounded in their heritage and culture, despite where they are or what beliefs they might practice.

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<![CDATA[Students for Justice in Palestine: A Series of Exceptional Events]]>https://www.georgetowngazette.com/post/students-for-justice-in-palestine-a-series-of-exceptional-events6339946ce7458211329fb8bcMon, 03 Oct 2022 05:00:04 GMTSalma DarwicheGEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY IN QATAR (Sept. 15, 2022) The past two months have been nothing short of eventful for the Students for Justice in Palestine Club (SJP) at Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q). SJP, currently led by Zaina K. ‘24, Zain A. ‘23, along with Hala H. ‘25 and Mahrukh B. ‘23, has been present on campus since 2020. Throughout the years, the importance of SJP’s mission has been consistently reinforced by the need to serve as a voice for the Palestinian cause as the occupied state continues to undergo oppression.

Beginning in late August, SJP introduced its Intersectionality Series, consisting of several events hosted in collaboration with other clubs including the Black Student Association, Muslim Student Association, and the Lebanese Club. These events highlighted many themes such as shared struggles experienced by Palestinians and other groups along with discourse concerning the Palestinian cause’s place in the Muslim world. Led by accomplished professors in their respective fields, the talks contributed largely to the education of the GU-Q community while facilitating informed debate and discussion on the topics. As of September, the Intersectionality Series remains ongoing as SJP searches for more clubs to collaborate with on other relevant topics.

The SJP’s efforts do not stop there as the early hours of the 15th of September were marked by subtle signs around the atrium foreshadowing an intriguing event, Palestinian Night, scheduled to take place later that day. “Resistance Through Art” were the words plastered visibly against the atrium’s prominent brown wall, surrounded by multiple posters displaying original Palestinian poetry, art, and symbolism that reflected that country’s rich history as well as expressions of resistance. As the day progressed, so did the preparations that left the atrium gracefully adorned with traditional artifacts and ornaments depicting Palestinian heritage and culture.

The evening had finally arrived and the official event had begun as students and staff from all over Education City made their way into GU-Q where the Palestinian flag could be spot hung clearly at the center of the stage. SJP had introduced its leading organizers as each one took turns briefly delivering remarkable speeches that highlighted the importance of Palestinian Night and its theme, Resistance Through Art.

The opening act of the night included a mellifluous Oud rendition that was followed by an impeccable recital of poetry by a professor and student. Mahmoud Darwish’s “Why Did You Leave the Horse Alone?” made up a part of the recital that was delivered in both Arabic and English and captured the essence of the Palestinian struggle. A number of acts followed that were complemented by traditional music that was played throughout the night.

Attendees had been encouraged beforehand to arrive in Palestinian attire, traditional clothing from their own cultures, or colors representing the Palestinian flag to enhance the night’s atmosphere. SJP’s request had proven to be well-received as many of the students and staff arrived in colorful and eye-catching attire. A fashion show had been delivered during which the regional history of the intricate designs on several dresses and thobes was explained.

Despite the remarkable nature of all the acts, it was the Dabke performance that truly stood out and heightened the people’s spirits. Having invited a professional group of traditional Palestinian dancers to perform the Dabke, SJP offered all its attendees the unforgettable experience of witnessing and even partaking in the festive Arabic celebration.

The night culminated with guests being served traditional and classic Palestinian dishes that ranged from savory to sweet. As attendees revisited many of the unique displays of heritage, they had the opportunity to take pictures at a booth set up to capture a fragment of the country’s vast beauty. Palestinian Night ultimately proved to need no photograph to make it unforgettable as it introduced and highlighted the beauty and vitality of Palestinian culture.

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<![CDATA[The Parallels of Filipino Culture and The World]]>https://www.georgetowngazette.com/post/the-parallels-of-filipino-culture-and-the-world633981c2c34ce8e8ff0c4330Mon, 03 Oct 2022 05:00:04 GMTJustin PacerThe Parallels of Filipino Culture and The World

The Georgetown community is so diverse that not one culture stands out alone. Filled with students, faculty, and staff from different backgrounds and ethnicities, you do not only get the best of both worlds – but the best of all worlds. However, if you want to explore the rendezvous spot where all these worlds meet, then you’ve come to the right place: The Philippines! I know, it might sound anticlimactic; but trust me because we are everywhere!

Filipinos are spread across 100 countries and have experienced different societies and cultures. Because of this, you’ve probably interacted with a Filipino – even better, you probably already have a Filipino friend! With all the ways of life that have existed within our country, embodied by each citizen, and have spread all over the world, it’s an understatement to say that we’re just a community with many influences; we too can influence other cultures. Now, let me tell you how a few aspects of Philippine culture are similar to so many other cultures of the world.

Wait, We Eat the Same Food?

If you’re from Latin America, you might have heard of the good ol’ adobo. A classic Filipino viand, this dish does not find its origins in our land – it was brought to us by the Spaniards. Now, this dish is not only exclusive to us as it can also be seen on other dining tables in China, the United States, Japan, and South Korea, with just a little variation. Soy sauce, vinegar, peppercorns, and bay leaves… it doesn’t matter! As long as it tastes good, adobo is food on a plate that unites us all!

Christmas and Winter, What’s the Difference?

Filipinos are known for being very religious – that is, we begin to celebrate Christmas as early as September. This is evident because, from this point, Christmas trees and lanterns begin to show up in households and public places, and Christmas songs are blasted everywhere. This is rooted in our idea that once a month with the suffix -ber hits our calendars, it is officially Christmas time! In parallel, because ber sounds like brr, our Christmas is everybody else’s wintertime. Who would’ve thought that a silly time frame, despite us having different beliefs, can give us something in common?

“You’re a Filipino – You Must Sing So Well!”

Believe it or not, this is one of the most interesting and repetitive phrases I’ve heard being said to myself and other Filipinos. But I can’t blame them! International talent shows and singing competitions all have at least one Filipino in there who belts like there’s no tomorrow. However, we give credit where credit is due. Our Filipino music is influenced by many cultures and traditions as well: Spanish, Austronesian, Indo-Malayan, African, Chinese, and even Arabian. So, you see, not all Filipinos may sing so well, but we truly enjoy our OPM (Original Pilipino Music), and you’d be surprised how many of our modern songs originated from different beats of cultures.

We can spend the whole day discussing more comparisons with other countries in every aspect of our traditions. This just proves how interconnected people are and sometimes, it’s barely noticeable at all – but that won’t be a problem. The important thing is we recognize that we are all a little part of something bigger which helps us appreciate and understand our global influences. Whether it's food, traditional practices, or talents, Filipino culture is everywhere.

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<![CDATA[“Fight for Education for All”: Malala Yousafzai to Georgetown students]]>https://www.georgetowngazette.com/post/fight-for-education-for-all-malala-yousafzai-to-georgetown-students625b2e4648fa0519707fdcfcSat, 16 Apr 2022 21:01:58 GMTLe Dong Hai NguyenDuring a visit last week to the School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Q) on the side of the 2022 Doha Forum, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai called for continued advocacy for the rights to education for girls. “We should not let the Taliban or any extremist group misuse religion to keep girls and women out of school,” said the 24-year-old educational activist to an audience of students in Professor Leonard Williams’ introductory course on American politics (GOVT-020).

Ms. Yousafzai highlighted that 130 million girls between the ages of 6 and 17 are out of school, half of whom are from sub-Saharan Africa. She urged the global community to recognize this as “a global human rights issue” caused by many factors such as social norms, climate change, the lacking infrastructure, and conflict.

The Nobel laureate also expressed her satisfaction with the shared declaration of the Doha Forum panel, which stated that the Taliban’s banning of girls from school had no basis in religious belief or practice. The diverse panel, of which Ms. Yousafzai was a part, included leading Islamic scholars and analysts.

Malala receives a book from Dean Wilcox

Students in Professor Williams’ class appreciated the opportunity to not only hear about Ms. Yousafzai’s life and work but also to gain deep insights into educational advocacy. Kamilah Idris (SFS ’22), an educational advocate from Nigeria, was able to ask for Malala’s views on at-home training programs. Kamilah believes these programs provide benefits for girls but could reinforce social restrictions at the same time. “This is why I believe it’s important to have these conversations and discuss these topics because together we can provide solutions that can be adapted into our own contexts,” said Kamilah, who is also the president of the SFS-Q African Students Association.

“Students loved having the chance to hear from her. Malala spoke about her life and work, and her passion for promoting educational opportunity,” said Dr. Williams. “Her experiences certainly helped set the stage for further class discussions on the significance of the course topics on civil liberties and civil rights, and of individual freedom and fair treatment in the U.S.”

Dean Clyde Wilcox thanked the Pakistani activist for her visit and presented her with a scholarly biography of Fatima Jinnah, an activist and one of the leading founders of Pakistan. The book, titled “Fatima Jinnah: Mother of the Nation,” is the first scholarly biography to tackle her life in full and was written by Dr. M. Reza Pirbhai, Associate Professor of History at SFS-Q.

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<![CDATA[The Protagonist]]>https://www.georgetowngazette.com/post/the-protagonist6259df0f31450126816ace6bFri, 15 Apr 2022 21:10:21 GMTSamantha FacunThe pull of the tide—

The distant call of a siren’s song—

A torrential downpour—

A vehement thunder follows—

His eyes trained upon the manic waves; a silent storm brewing

His heart caught in between the shore and sea; a decision is made

He descends deeper and deeper and deeper

Until his breath could no longer compete with the voices that swam to and fro

He paid no mind to the stillness of those around him

Dull and vibrant shades of blue faded from in and out of view

In the distance, he heard the call of a siren’s song

But still;

He descends

Until he could no longer feel the pull of the tide

Nor could he hear the vehement thunder above the shore

And as his feet touched the sand, he saw it

His eyes settled on the stark white glow

Like a mother holding a child, he cradled what he had found

The descent was all for this moment

Nevermind the way the light left his eyes

Nevermind the way his heartbeat came to a staggering slow

Nevermind the way the voices in his head ceased after winding up and down so long—

It floated up to the surface, leaving him in icy depths

But the darkness wasn’t unbearable; it was welcomed

If he closed his eyes, he could almost hear the thunder disappear

He could almost hear their cheers— cries for joy

He could almost hear the waves stilling into serenity

He didn’t know he had been sinking for so long

Author's Note:

Inspired by the Myers-Briggs Personality type, ENFJ or “the Protagonist”, this poem explores both the strengths and weaknesses of this personality.

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