Syria’s Apex Generation
9 June - 28 August (Dubai) | 11 June - 28 August (Beirut)
Syria’s Apex Generation explores the myriad ways artists are responding to the current conflict in Syria through multifaceted works that reflect a new phase of the country’s contemporary art. Focusing on painters who launched their careers in the 2000s when the Damascus art scene experienced significant growth, the exhibition will demonstrate how these artists have contributed to the catapulting of Syrian art over the past decade, which reached a high point just before the onset of the war.
(Painting: Massacre (2012), Abdul Karim Majdal Al Beik. Image courtesy Ayyam Gallery)
For the first time, seasoned entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley and Iran will convene to explore and elucidate the opportunities and challenges of high tech entrepreneurship in Iran and its impact on the country’s ongoing economic development. The conference is predicated on the notion that the promotion of entrepreneurship and innovation is the indispensable key to sustainable growth.
In compliance with sanctions and corresponding laws, conference participants will educate each other on the issues impacting high tech entrepreneurship in Iran, the extent to which prevailing conditions in the country deviate from the “global innovation model,” and the steps that should be taken to reduce this gap. Some of the issues that will be explored in the conference include the status of civilian research and development spending, startup growth, protection of intellectual property rights, laws and regulations governing bankruptcy, attraction of venture capital, cultural attitudes towards entrepreneurs’ failure, existence of innovation clusters, ease of starting businesses, and the availability and accessibility of mentors and role models. Special attention will also be given to how Tehran can thrive by becoming a regional entrepreneurial hotspot, and the role that the city’s diverse and cosmopolitan nature can play in fostering creative tensions and intellectual exchanges that are paramount for unleashing innovation.
LOCAL / NOT LOCAL: Arabic & Iranian Typography is an exhibition in California, USA. The show is about showcasing foreign or Non-Latin typography, by designers living in the US paying homage to their cultural roots through their design practice. In this case Local Not Local is an exhibition that showcases the works of Arabic and Iranian designers based in California. This connection is reflected in their work in the form of on-going client work from the Middle East, self initiated projects, or locally based client work.
“The point of this exhibit is to break the notion that Arabic and Iranian typography is only practised in the Middle East. Locally based Middle Eastern designers reveal through their design practice that Arabic and Iranian typography has a place in California through community based projects, collaborations, and client work from abroad done locally,” says the co-curator of the exhibit Maece Seirafi.
A series of Arab and Iranian designers based in California will be participating in the show: Yusef Alahmad, Sam Anvari, Milka Broukhim, Kourosh Beigpour, Reem Hammad, Pouya Jahanshahi, Paymon Pojhan, Ebrahim Poustinchi, Maece Seirafi, and Shilla Shakoori.
June 26 – Aug 29, 2014
Opening Night Thursday June 26 | 6:00 P.M.
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 West Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, California
Women in Physics in the Palestinian Territories
Scenes from the life of women physicists in Palestine.
This is a study in observation, and looks at the multifaceted nature of the lives of women scientists in Palestine. Thoughts on academic opportunity and on career are presented alongside those relating to society, family and the realities of living under occupation.
In the Palestinian Territories, more women than men study physics, yet women faculty members remain a very small minority. At Birzeit University, outside Ramallah in the West Bank, Chair of the Physics Department Dr Wafaa Khater offers a unique example of success to her postgraduate students. The demands of social norms, of gender bias across the international scientific community, in addition to the challenges of pursuing science in the developing world and under occupation render a career in physics a difficult undertaking. Yet despite these obstacles, and in an ever changing landscape, more and more women are choosing to embark on a career in physics.
(-Photo-essay by Kate Shaw, ICTP, Trieste, Italy and Jack Owen, Freelance Photographer, London, England)
Behind the headlines is a series of events at the Museum exploring the cultural context behind news stories from across the world, looking closely at objects from the Museum’s collection.
Before 2011, the Syrian art scene was limited by the number of galleries and spaces for showing work, and the government control of cultural institutions. Since the uprising, an outpouring of creative expression from artists across all levels of Syrian society has formed a response to the violence. This panel discussion, chaired by Malu Halasa, co-editor of Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline, and including panellists Issam Kourbaj, Zaher Omareen, Khalil Younes and Venetia Porter, will consider the pre-revolution period through looking at British Museum objects, the change that revolution has bought to the country’s artists, and the new possibilities that lie ahead.
The British Museum
Friday 20 June
BP Lecture Theatre
Art and Culture from the Frontline
Edited by Malu Halasa, Zaher Omareen and Nawara Mahfoud
In Syria, culture has become a critical line of defence against tyranny.
Syria Speaks is a celebration of a people determined to reclaim their dignity, freedom and self-expression. It showcases the work of over fifty artists and writers who are challenging the culture of violence in Syria. Their literature, poems and songs, cartoons, political posters and photographs document and interpret the momentous changes that have shifted the frame of reality so drastically in Syria.
Moving and inspiring, Syria Speaks is testament to the courage, creativity and imagination of the Syrian people.
(Cover image: Poster by Alshaab alsori aref tarekh showing a character by Mohamed Tayeb. Zaytoun, the Little Refugee, from the Yarmouk Palestinian camp in Damascus, is a political, artistic and educational project, which contests the monopoly of power to write history)
Published: June 2014
Although she was ready to give
herself to me, I abstained
and did not accept the temptation Satan offered.
She came unveiled in the night,
illuminated by her face,
night put aside its shadowy
veils as well.
Each one of her glances
could cause hearts to turn over.
But I clung to the divine precept
that condemns lust and reined in
the capricious horses of my passion
so that my instinct would not rebel against chastity.
And so I passed the night with her
like a thirsty little camel
whose muzzle keeps it from nursing.
by Ibn Faraj (10th Century)
Poems of Arab Andalusia
Publisher: City Lights Publishers
"…you would be be squelching around with blood on the floor…"
The artist Bob and Roberta Smith was inspired to produce this art work after listening to Dr David Nott in an interview on BBC Radio 4’s PM show. In the interview Dr David Nott talks about his experience working as a surgeon in war torn Syria.
The art piece is on display at the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2014 from 9 June to 17 August.
You can listen to the inspiring interview here.
(Image Credit: BBCPM)
When I Saw You
1967. The world is alive and ripe with possibility—new music, style, hope. But in Jordan, thousands of refugees from Palestine are held waiting for their right to return to their homeland. Amidst this, a young boy yearns to be reunited with his father. Restlessly cooped up in the refugee camp, he secretly sets out on his own, and along the way, attaches himself to a group of young freedom fighters who take him under their wing. Together, they embark on a journey of adventure, driven by an unshakable resolve to be free.
Following on the acclaimed Salt of this Sea, writer and director Annemarie Jacir proves with When I Saw You that she has become a leader in Palestinian contemporary cinema. This heartfelt and moving film, Palestine’s entry for the 2013 Academy Awards, is suffused with a distinct sense of this revolutionary time and place.
Genes can reveal where we come from
Researchers have produced a biogeographical algorithm that uses genetic information to reliably infer a person’s country of origin. The international team of researchers, led by Eran Elhaik of the University of Shefﬁeld, United Kingdom, and including Pierre Zalloua from the Lebanese American University, Beirut, tested the Geographic Population Structure (GPS) algorithm on a sample of more than 1,650 individuals who had been previously genotyped.
The algorithm, which is presented in Nature Communications, accurately placed 83% of individuals within their country of origin, with some individuals pinpointed down to their cities.
(Image Credit: Small coloured circles with a matching colour to geographical regions represent the 54 reference points used for GPS predictions. © Eran Elhaik et al/ Nature Communications)
The entrepreneurship ecosystem in the Middle East has evolved beautifully in the last five years; so has the quality and impact of startups and entrepreneurs. Last year in particular was seminal. Incubators and accelerators tripled capacity, venture capital and angel funds quadrupled, and funds raised by high impact entrepreneurs exceeded $500 million – or 2.5 times the total pool of capital in 2012!
To celebrate this rising tide of entrepreneurship, our Forum this year will focus on the most outstanding achievers. Together with MIT Arab Startup Competition we are organizing a weeklong program to host the top MENA startups ready for global growth. During the week, the entrepreneurs will pitch to VCs and Angel Investors, participate in workshops with brilliant Silicon Valley partners, and benefit from a game-changing mentorship day. The week will be capped with our fifth annual Forum on June 14, highlighting the most impressive Arab entrepreneurs from all over the world.
Once I went out with her when the
shelter of night and her cape
let me mingle the fire of my breath
with the fire of her flaming cheeks.
I clasped her as a miser clasps
his treasure, and bound her tightly
with the cords of my arms
lest she escape like a gazelle.
But my chastity did not permit me
to kiss her mouth
and my heart remained huddled
over its embers.
You may well marvel at one
who feels his entrails on fire
yet complains of thirst
while holding the quenching water
in his throat.
Ṣafwān ibn Idrīs in the late 12th century fairly burns the page with desire in his poem -Poems of Arab Andalusia
Winds of change blow through research centres and universities operating in the Middle East.
(Image Credit: Northwestern University in Qatar Photo Gallery)
The Canon of Medicine by Ibn Sina (Avicenna in Latin), the studies on algebra and arithmetic of Al-Khwārizmī (Algoritmi), the Book of Optics by Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen): these are just a few examples of Middle Eastern literature from the past that testify the outstanding contribution of Islamic intellect to modern science. However, statistics on the scientific impact of today’s Arab world portray a starkly different picture, with universities and research centres from these countries lagging well behind their Eastern Asiatic and Western counterparts1, 2. The output of publications from the entire Middle Eastern region in 2012 amounts to less than one quarter of that of the US1, and only three universities (two from Israel and one from Turkey) are listed in the top 200 institutions in teaching and research worldwide. Yet, an awakened community is now eager to trigger a scientific rebirth in this area.
The creation of scientific hubs able to both play a relevant role in the international community and involve an increasing number of Arab students in research may catalyse the change needed in the Middle East. Certainly, it will be interesting to observe the effects of these efforts on the scientific productivity of the next few years. In the long term, one only hopes that the exposure of young generations to a multicultural, curiosity-driven research environment will spark a new scientific golden age in the region.