IN 1988 THERE WERE 350,000 CASES OF POLIO WORLDWIDE. LAST YEAR THERE WERE 223. BUT GETTING ALL THE WAY TO ZERO WILL MEAN SPENDING BILLIONS OF DOLLARS, PENETRATING THE MOST REMOTE REGIONS OF THE GLOBE, AND FACING DOWN TALIBAN MILITANTS TO GET TO THE LAST UNPROTECTED CHILDREN ON EARTH.
SYRI-ARTS: 101 WORKS OF ART
Syri-Arts, organized by the NGO Kayany, a Lebanese non-profit organization, which is inviting artists to donate a work of art which will be exhibited and auctioned to raise funds for the Syrian children who are the first victims of the unbearable tragedy of the war in Syria. The response has been great, from the Middle East and beyond. Artists and galleries have responded with great enthusiasm to Syri-Arts’ invitation with an exquisite array of works.
(Image Credit: “Dreamland II, Upekkha series” by Nermine Hammam)
Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia’s Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane by S. Frederick Starr
In this sweeping and richly illustrated history, S. Frederick Starr tells the fascinating but largely unknown story of Central Asia’s medieval enlightenment through the eventful lives and astonishing accomplishments of its greatest minds—remarkable figures who built a bridge to the modern world. Because nearly all of these figures wrote in Arabic, they were long assumed to have been Arabs. In fact, they were from Central Asia—drawn from the Persianate and Turkic peoples of a region that today extends from Kazakhstan southward through Afghanistan, and from the easternmost province of Iran through Xinjiang, China.
Lost Enlightenment recounts how, between the years 800 and 1200, Central Asia led the world in trade and economic development, the size and sophistication of its cities, the refinement of its arts, and, above all, in the advancement of knowledge in many fields. Central Asians achieved signal breakthroughs in astronomy, mathematics, geology, medicine, chemistry, music, social science, philosophy, and theology, among other subjects. They gave algebra its name, calculated the earth’s diameter with unprecedented precision, wrote the books that later defined European medicine, and penned some of the world’s greatest poetry. One scholar, working in Afghanistan, even predicted the existence of North and South America—five centuries before Columbus. Rarely in history has a more impressive group of polymaths appeared at one place and time. No wonder that their writings influenced European culture from the time of St. Thomas Aquinas down to the scientific revolution, and had a similarly deep impact in India and much of Asia.
OUT OF ARABIA: LANDSCAPE THROUGHOUT THE ARABIAN PENINSULA
25 November - 29 November 2013
After a year of exciting events at The Arab British Centre, we are proud to be working with the British Council on our final exhibition of 2013, Out of Arabia: Landscape throughout the Arabian Peninsula. This showcase will bring together nine artists, seven born in Saudi Arabia, one in Egypt and one in the USA, all of whom had participated in the Out of Arabia online art competition organised by the British Council in 2012.
Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World
Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World, spanning more than ten centuries and including ancient artworks and objects from throughout the Islamic world. The exhibition will be on display in Seville from October before travelling to the Dallas Museum of Art (USA) in Spring 2014.
Featuring 150 objects from public and private collections in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and the United States, Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World explores the use and meaning of light in Islamic art and science, and demonstrates how light is a unifying motif in Islamic civilizations worldwide. The exhibition, directed and curated by Islamic art and culture expert Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir, includes numerous unprecedented objects that have never been displayed in public, from gold and silver inlaid metalwork through to anatomical illustrations.
The Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World exhibition will be housed at the Focus-Abengoa Foundation’s headquarters in the historic 17th century building, the Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes, from 25 October 2013 to 9 February 2014. It will subsequently travel to the United States and be on view at the Dallas Museum of Art in Texas, from 30 March 2014 to 29 June 2014. Deriving its title from the Arabic word for light in both the physical and metaphysical sense,
HORSES OF GOD
In Sidi Moumen, a slum district of Casablanca, two brothers grow up in a golden world of football, close friendship and hard knocks. But as they approach adulthood, the dreams of youth give way to the realities of poverty and violence. With an energy and realism that surpasses Fernando Meirelles’ City Of God, this provocative and dazzlingly-shot film casts a compassionate eye over the sources of extremism that fuelled the 2003 terrorist attacks in Morocco.
MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRIES SENT TWO ALL-FEMALE TEAMS TO MICROSOFT’S IMAGINE CUP THIS YEAR. THAT’S NOT AS SURPRISING AS IT SOUNDS.
Asya AlJabri’s first steps toward app building started with dyslexia: not her own, but her 9-year-old cousin’s. AlJabri was trying to teach him the alphabet, but he wasn’t learning, and she kept scolding him for not paying attention. “I won’t forget what he said,” recalls the 22-year-old computer science student from Muscat, Oman. He really was trying, her cousin pleaded. He just couldn’t understand why everything felt so hard to grasp. His speech moved her to tears—and to action. She took her cousin to get tested for dyslexia and then started thinking about how she herself could help.
THE GULF STATES ARE “THE ONLY PLACE IN THE WORLD I KNOW OF WHERE WOMEN OUTPERFORM MEN” IN SCIENCE AND TECH, SAYS COLEMAN, AUTHOR OF AN UPCOMING BOOK ON THE MIDDLE EAST.
AlJabri rounded up two of her fellow students and together they created an app called ReadX, which helps dyslexic children learn and lets parents keep track of their progress. The app was good enough to win a national Imagine Cup, a Microsoft-sponsored student competition; that earned AlJabri and her friends—Marwa AlHabsi and Safa Almukhaini, both 22—a spot representing Oman in the international Imagine Cup, July 8 to July 11 in St. Petersburg, Russia.
BY: GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON
(Source: Fast Company)
Meet Saudi Arabia’s leading artist, soldier, and ‘rock star’
Imagine a lieutenant-colonel in the Saudi Arabian army. Now imagine a conceptual artist from the same country. Put them together and you get Abdulnasser Gharem, who has his first big show in London.
Described by Rolling Stone magazine as the “rock star” of Saudi art, Abdulnasser Gharem has his first major solo show, perhaps not surprisingly, not in the Gulf state but in London at the Edge of Arabia gallery.
(Image: IN TRANSIT (I-II) From the Series Restored Behaviour Industrial lacquer paint on rubber stamps on 9mm plywood H160 x W200cm 2010)
Infiltrators Directed by Khaled Jarrar
Shot hand-held, often covertly and at some personal risk, Infiltrators draws audiences into a high stakes “game” of cat and mouse, chronicling the travails of Palestinians seeking routes through, under, around and over a bewildering matrix of barriers in the West Bank. Jarrar’s doc swept the board at last year’s Dubai International Film Festival, winning the Muhr Arab Documentary Prize, the Special Jury Prize, and the International Critics Prize.
A very personal project started when artist Amani Alsaad began having a neurological problem. By viewing her personal MRI brain scans, she began to feel optimistic about her neurological problem, which disturbed her studies private life sometimes. She started planting roses inside her head and welcoming butterflies and adding quotes from the Holy Quran, about faith In predestination, being thankful, faithful and patient about things because they are predestined, and quoted from the holy Quran because in Islam we have (AlRuq’ya) Quran medication.
Her work is being shown as part of the Nour Festival at the Chelsea Theatre, 1 October to 30 November.
(Image: Taking care of the Roses by Amani Alsaad)
Entrepreneurship is thriving in the Middle East, but not the means to finance it. To explore and promote different vehicles for startup acceleration from angel investing, to venture capital, to crowdfunding - we are teaming with Silatech, UC Berkeley and Shekra in two days of intense brainstorming and knowledge transfer. Our panelists and thoughts leaders include some of the world’s top experts in Middle Eastern Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
Hosted by the Fung Inst. & Silatech, this conference is the first chance for top thought leaders from the Middle East, Silicon Valley, the Venture Capital community & the academic community to spur innovation, create jobs & encourage entrepreneurship throughout the middle east. The conference is being generously supported by a donation from Silatech, a Qatar based foundation focused on expanding economic opportunity and jobs in the Middle East.
This leading institution is partnering with UC Berkeley to bring in some of the world’s top experts in Middle Eastern Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Islamic Finance, Crowdfunding and Accelerators, to discuss the opportunities in the region to develop a thriving culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. This conference will bring together top experts from the region, scholars and venture capitalists and innovators from Silicon Valley to explore how we can work together to create economic opportunity through entrepreneurship in the Middle East.
Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East
A quiet revolution has begun to emerge in the Middle East, one that might ultimately do more to change the face of the region:
Christopher M. Schroeder, a seasoned U.S. internet executive and venture investor travelled to Dubai, Cairo, Amman, Beirut, Istanbul and Damascus and met thousands of talented, successful, and intrepid young entrepreneurs willing to take on political, cultural, legal and societal challenges.
Equally important, Schroeder saw major regional and international private equity firms, venture capitalists and global tech players like Google, Intel, Cisco, Yahoo, LinkedIn and PayPal making significant investments, despite the uncertainty in the region. He marries his own observations with the predictions of these giants to offer a surprising and timely look at the second stealth revolution in the Middle East — one that promises to reinvent it as a center of innovation and economic opportunity.