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Saint Xavier celebrates Arab Heritage Month

Cultural events slated

Chicago (Oct. 24, 2005) – Movies, music and discussion are among the activities slated as part of Saint Xavier University’s celebration of Arab Heritage Month in November.

“It is part of our ongoing mission to celebrate different cultures and embrace diversity,” said Iman Saca, assistant professor of Sociology and Anthropology. “We want to encourage understanding and appreciation for other cultures.”

This is the second year that Saint Xavier University has hosted activities as part of Arab Heritage Month, after last year’s events were well-received by the community, Saca said. The events are free and open to the public and will be held at the Chicago campus at 3700 W. 103rd Street.

Events include:

• Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 6:00 pm.: Arab Christians and Interfaith Dialogue in the Holy Land: Giries Khoury, Butler Reception Room. Khoury is director of Al-Liqa’ Center for Religious and Heritage Studies in Bethlehem-Palestine, and dean of the Theological Department at Mar Elias Educational Institutions in Ibillin, Israel. Reception will follow.

• Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 7:00 p.m.: Screening of the film, Planet of the Arabs: Challenging the Stereotypes, followed by discussion, McGuire Hall. Palestinian-American filmmaker Jackie Salloum will lead the discussion. Reception will follow.

• Monday, Nov. 28, at 7:30 p.m. Women in the Arab World panel discussion. Discussion will include the current state of women’s rights and rules in the Arab world with clarification on religious, political and cultural influences that have defined the status of women in the Arab world, McGuire Hall. Reception will follow.

• Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 7:00 p.m.: Al-Sharq Ensemble Arab music performance, McGuire Hall. The Al-Sharq Ensemble is a group of Chicago-based musicians who focus on studying and performing Arabic music. The group takes music to its highest artistic potential while incorporating ethno-musicological approaches in its interpretation. The ensemble was established by Issa Boulous in 2001 and has performed at universities, colleges, community events and various other venues throughout the nation. Reception will follow.

The events are sponsored by the City of Chicago’s Commission on Human Relations’ Advisory Council on Arab Affairs. For more information on the city’s events planned for this month, visit http://www.arabheritagechicago.com.

Saint Xavier University’s commitment to growth in diversity is one of the university’s eight strategic directives. U.S. News & World Report has recognized Saint Xavier University for its campus diversity among Midwest universities granting master’s degrees.

This fall, the university launched a Middle Eastern Studies program and minor. The program provides coursework, study abroad and community partnerships and events that promote learning about and understanding of the Middle East, its various peoples, geographies, religions, languages and cultures. Students from a variety of disciplines will find the program of interest, including those in business, nursing and education whose future clients, patients and students may be of Middle Eastern descent.

For more information on Saint Xavier University’s Arab Heritage Month events, contact Saca at 773-298-3554 or saca@sxu.edu. For more information about the university’s Middle Eastern Studies program, contact the Office of Admission at 773-298-3050 or admission@sxu.edu.

Founded in 1846 by the Sisters of Mercy, Saint Xavier University is a Catholic, coeducational, comprehensive university grounded in the tradition of the liberal arts and offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 5,700 students from across the country at campuses in Chicago and Orland Park.