The fifth annual Arabic Culture Night took place in Mendoza’s Jordan Auditorium on March 23.  The event was a collaborative effort directed by Arabic Club President Joe Dufour, Arabic Professor Ghadha Bualuan, Ramzi Bualuan, professor of computer science and engineering, and Matthew Getze assistant director of the Center for the Study of Languages and Culture. Dufour commented, “The audience enjoyed all of our performances, but I don’t think anyone really had as much fun as the performers themselves.”

Performances included a duet to Fairouz’s “Give Me the Flute and Sing” by Sarah Kiningham and Tyler Harmsen, accompanied by Cat Samson on the flute, a reading from Nizar Aqbani’s “Oh my lord the Sultan” by Ian Montijo, and an impromptu dance by Saudi Arabian audience members.  It also included a student-written play and a short film production, “Friday Night Live,” which touched on Lebanese culture.

Professor Ghadha Bualuan spoke with THE IRISH ROVER about the evening.

What was the impetus for founding Arabic Culture Night?

With the Arabic club and mainly with the Arabic major students, I started this show with the idea of creating a wonderful opportunity to connect to Arab/Middle eastern beauty and history. Arabic Culture Night was a framework to enrich our students’ understanding of a long and rich Arab history, and a beautiful and vibrant cultural heritage, through music, dance and poetry, and to forge a deeper connection to Arab people.

How was the event received the first year?

Arabic Culture Night went fabulously even in its first year. The number of people attending was a bit lower than the following years, but the energy we got from the audience was overwhelming. Everyone who came and still comes to attend ACN shares a great passion to celebrate Arab culture.

What sort of feedback have you received?

I received tons of emails from students asking me to be included in next year’s performances and volunteering to help in the future; letters from faculty; and even [letters from] people in the community congratulating us on the quality of the show.

What was your favorite segment?

All acts are important, beautiful and fun, but for me, the Arabic language is the greatest of all arts, with poetry as its noblest expression. I have always marveled at how beautifully our students can recite poetry of any length with elegance and eloquence.

What types of community members come out for the event?

This event has enjoyed tremendous support from many people: faculty and students in the program of Arabic language and culture, and many other people who come every year to cheer and enjoy the show. Some are from Arabic/Middle Eastern heritage, but some are not – just members of the community who have a strong desire to understand and appreciate other cultures.

Contact whirling dervish Katie Petrik at