Archive for April 30, 2017

A young ambitious girl, passionate about learning …eager to be creative and productive in order to serve her beloved country…great potential she has, glowing with vibrant energy and love to devote her talents and abilities to her community, yet sadly, her financial condition stands as a gloomy obstacle in the way of her educational ambitions and her career plans because she cannot join the university, which offers the specialization she dreams of.

This is not a fictional story; it’s a story from our reality…a story of destroyed hopes and collapsing aspirations…it’s a story that we witness at the beginning of every academic year, when hundreds of distinguished high-school graduates face a shaky and non-promising future.

Therefore, every year Dar Al-Hekma University comes up with creative ways in order to urge notable men and women from our society to financially support students to achieve their educational ambitions, which in turn, will benefit the whole society.

This year, our wonderful president, Dr. Suhair Hasan Al-Qurashi, has given her directives to engage everyone to participate in such a great cause; to fund a scholarship for a student! Hence, the Student Development and the Drama Club teamed up to organize a Cultural Night under the name Harmony of Civilizations, which is meant to serve several purposes and areas.

The Cultural Night is mainly a fund-raising event for scholarships at Dar Al-Hekma University, and it’s certainly a noble cause. Is there anything more rewarding than contributing to a girl’s education and hence bringing happiness to her? You might think that the girl who will continue her education will be just another Bachelor’s degree holder, but in fact, every well-educated girl is a treasure in our society because she will give back to her family and her community. This cause is not just a scholarship for one girl only; it’s a genuine investment and a gift to the whole society. By supporting our girls’ learning journeys, we are also empowering women because providing education for our girls is the real power that women and societies require. 

In addition, the event aims at entertaining women and girls since entertainment is a human need in order to recharge energy, relief stress, and have a balanced life full of joy and giving.

The third goal of the event is to convey a very vital message to the young generation; tolerance and acceptance among different nations and cultures, and this is what creates harmony in life. In our time of endless disparities, wars, and prejudices, the Harmony of Civilizations event sends  a message of peace and love to all; a message that urges us to rise above our differences, to respect one another, and to accept and understand the differences among nations while holding onto the values and principles that distinguish our culture.

The show opens with a comic miming scene of two different cultures; a folksy Egyptian wedding party and a French wedding ceremony. Each wedding has its own traditions and customs, but what happens when the two meet? Will they accept each other? Unfortunately, they will look at each other with contempt, and a fight will start for a very trivial reason; each team believes it is superior and better than the other.

After that, a war dance begins. The two teams fight and the war ends with the loss of everyone, for war is always destructive. After they all die, a fantasy scene begins; a young girl dressed in white appears sad and shocked at the consequences of the war. The dead rise with remorse and sorrow on their faces. They look at each other and start realizing that they had killed people who are not very different from them, for there is the loving mother, the caring father, the responsible employee, and the passionate learner…they decide that nothing can make life better than love and tolerance.

A “peace” contemporary dance performed by Yogini Fatima follows, and then the journey of Dar Al-Hekma starts as the different performances take the audience to five cultures/countries starting with Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, India, Syria, and then heading back home to Saudi Arabia.

What is so special about this event?

It’s a Saudi product, sponsored by the General Committee of Entertainment, presented at Dar Al-Hekma Auditorium, managed by Dr. Sanaa Askool, Dean of Student Affairs, and organized by a team of dynamic and enthusiastic Saudi females such as Ms. Sahar Bahrawi, Marketing Consultant, Ms. Areej Fida, Ms. Lina Kurdi, Ms. Dona Al-Mohammadi, Ms. Haneen Osta, Ms. Sarah Jamjoum, Ms. Dina Hawandaji, Ms. Maysoon Al-Sowayeg, and Ms. Hind Sahtoot.

There are over 150 Saudi girls participating in the event, which is divided into several groups, each group is being trained by a professional trainer and choreographer. The wedding and war scenes were developed and written by myself in an attempt to send a message of how ridiculous intolerance can be.

Participants were trained by professional fitness and dance trainers such as Coach Norah Al-Badr, Yogini Fatimah, notable Kuwaiti trainer Awash, and the well-known Zubma trainer Hanaa Al-Sapan. For the Indian dance, our student Maysaa took charge of the training, and the Bangladesh dance was trained by Coach Ellen Poly.

Moreover, Ms. Eman Jabr was in charge of a Dabkah performance in order to show support to our beloved Syrian brothers and sisters.

Last but not least, the event closes with a finale Saudi performance led by Ms. Samiah al-Bishri, the director of the Committee of Female Theatre under the Society of Culture and Art in Jeddah.

And of course, all of this wouldn’t have happened without our students’ commitment and efforts to practice and balance their busy schedules between studying, exams, projects and 30 hours of training rehearsals. “Participating in this event was like a practical lesson in time management,” one student said during one of the rehearsals. “We are under a lot of pressure, but we are enjoying our time as well,” added another student.

The most beautiful thing about this event is that it’s not just for entertainment; it’s an experience that combines charity work with fun, boosts self-confidence, and promotes team work among students, trainers and employees. Throughout the process of arranging and organizing the event, all teams have shown a great sense of responsibility, cooperation, and coordination among the different departments and divisions of Dar Al-Hekma University as each and every one had the same goal; to make this event a success in order to contribute to the students’ scholarships.

Harmony of Civilizations is a panoramic theatrical performance which includes comedy, dancing, and amusement conveying a heart-warming, elevating message that emphasizes peace, acceptance, and respect towards other cultures.

And the cherry on the top is that Harmony of Civilizations is an all-female production that can be added to Saudi women’s numerous achievements.

Don’t miss the event! It’s Wednesday, May 3rd and Thursday, May 4th.

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