School of Languages and Literatures presents | College of Arts

School of Languages and Literatures presents

arabian night 2019 title

Saturday, March 30, 2019 | 6:00pm | MacKinnon 107

Celebrating Arab art and culture
through theatre, poetry, dance and music,
Featuring artists from Syria, Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon.

dabkeh dancers

  • A creative space to learn and engage in artistic dialogue through poetry, music, dance and theatre.
  • Bridge differences and elevate human spirits through our common and shared language: poetry, theatre, music and dance.
  • Promote social connectedness through the arts and help create rich and diverse communities.
  • Build a bridge between the University and the community
  • Educate Canadians about Arabic language, literature, and arts
  • Foster community spirit and support the Arab Canadian community, especially the newcomers/refugees
  • Promote mutual understanding between the Arab community and the community at large
  • Engage students of Arabic in experiential learning experience


debkah dancers 3

Schedule of events

6:00-6:05    Welcome and Introduction

6:05-6:20    Poetry Readings

6:20 -6:30   Music (Oud)

6:35-6:55    Dabkeh Dance

6:55-7:05    Belly Dance

7:05-7:15    Intermission

7:15-8:00    The Mug (monologue)


dabkeh dancers 2


Sawsan Makhlouf:
Palestinian-Canadian poet, writer, and Canadian Early Childhood educator at Halton District School Board.

Younis Atari:
Palestinian-Canadian poet, among his works are Bow Back to Your Heart, and The Mountains That Loved My Shadow.

Kareem Shalan:
Iraqi-Canadian poet, short story writer, and novelist.

Tala Eneya:
Palestinian-Canadian grade 10 student at Bishop Reading Catholic Secondary School.


Radwan Al-Taleb:
Syrian soloist and orchestral oudist. He graduated from the National Syrian  Academy of Music. He played with Syrian national orchestras and Canadian Arab Orchestra.


Levant Dabkeh 
Community group started originally in January of 2013. Their mission is to aid in the sponsorship of refugees to Canada, and to help in their settlement once they arrive. They founded a traditional Dabkeh dance group in 2014 (Levant Dabkeh Group) in order to better introduce culture to the Canadian public, and at the same time help new families integrate into Canadian culture by welcoming everyone to be together at the dances, events and practices.

Dr. Anne Vermeyden
Professional belly dancer and academic based in Kitchener, Ontario. She received her PhD in History from the University of Guelph in 2017, and she completed postdoctoral work as a visiting scholar at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies in 2018. Her current academic work focuses on transnational Arab culture and dance in the Canadian context.

Theatre performance

Amir Al-Azraki (author of the play)

Assistant Professor of Arabic language, literature, and culture (Renison University College, University of Waterloo), lecturer of Arabic language (SOLAL, University of Guelph), Theatre of the Oppressed practitioner, and playwright who works seamlessly across cultures to highlight and facilitate discourse and interchange through his work. Among his plays are: Waiting for Gilgamesh: Scenes from Iraq, Stuck, and The Widow. Al-Azraki is the co-editor and co-translator of Contemporary Plays from Iraq.

Jobran Kanji
Syrian peace advocate and artist. He studied and worked in, Syria, Sudan, UAE, Egypt, France, UK, and most recently migrated to Canada in 2016. His multi-cultural background and focus on community building has led to a number of volunteer opportunities and community leadership roles. He was awarded Chevening scholarship in 2015 for his community leadership role, to finish his MA in Post-war Recovery studies in the UK.
welcome title


The University of Guelph resides on the land of the Between the Lakes Treaty No. 3, the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. This land is part of the Dish with One Spoon, a covenant between Indigenous nations to live peaceably on the territories of the Great Lakes region. We recognize that today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and acknowledging them reminds us of our collective responsibility to the land where we learn, live and work.