Cuyamaca College’s popular Middle Eastern Heritage Month is moving online as part of Cuyamaca’s Virtual Campus.
“People are at home practicing social distancing to stay safe and a lot of campus events have been cancelled, so we decided to move this online for remote access and it all came together really well,” said Interim Student Services Specialist Rana Al-Shaikh, who worked with Cuyamaca College Student Affairs, which is providing online access and expertise and iscoordinating the events with support from Associated Student Government, Engagement & Equity, the World Languages Department and the Middle Eastern Students Club.
All events will be carried on the Cuyamaca College YouTube channel starting Wednesday, April 1, with chef Paul Karyakos, who goes by the name Chef PK, detailing the finer points of making Lebanese labneh. Karyakos will follow with an April 8 lesson on creating hummus, an April 15 lesson on making tabbouleh salad and an April 22 lesson on crafting shakshuka.
The events are curated to educate the campus community and the public about the contributions of the Middle Eastern culture.
Other events broadcast on YouTube include:
April 3: Introduction to Arabic Calligraphy in English and Arabic. This two-part, dual-language presentation will be shown in a PowerPoint format organized by Arabic instructor Hanaa Alkassas.
April 10: Contributions of Famous Arab-Americans to American Society. This presentation by Alkassas will focus on how Arab-Americans have influenced American society over the years.
April 14: Ethnic Identification of Middle Eastern Christians. This Diversity Dialogues presentation by Daniel Kakish will cover the ethnic and linguistic diversity of Middle Eastern Christians, along with ancient and contemporary churches and monasteries.
April 20: Middle Eastern Women Who Influenced Society. Arabic instructor Aklas Sheai will discuss several Middle Eastern women throughout time who have left a profound impact on society.
April 24: Sahar Al Sanati. Sanati will perform her own Chaldean, Assyrian and Arabic melodies with English interpretations.
April 28: A Muslim’s Perspective. This Diversity Dialogues presentation by Cuyamaca College personal counselor Halima Eid will discuss microaggressions, Islamophobia and the cultural differences in Muslim communities.
April 30: Iraqi Art and the Music of Khadry al Chi. Iraqi-born musician Moaayed Shlemon will play traditional Arabic songs with translations in English. Shlemon also will discuss the history of the Khadry al Chi art form.
East San Diego County has the second-largest Iraqi population in the country, behind only Detroit, and Cuyamaca College has been holding special spring events celebrating Arabic and Middle Eastern culture for years. Previous celebrations included “Henna and Music” and an elaborate, five-act production of “Scheherazade: Tell Me a Story,” an original take on the Middle Eastern fable of Scheherazade and the Arabian Nights.