As interest in the Arab World grows on campus, students are finding ways to complement their studies by creating extracurricular outlets for their interests. One such campus organization seeks to provide a space for those interested in all aspects of the Arab world but especially in Arab culture.
The Arab Student Association (ASA) is a campus organization that has recently been introduced on campus by Jordanian second year SIS/Kogod student, Suhayb Al Jawhari, with Arab Studies director Dr. Randa Serhan serving as faculty sponsor. After noticing that there were several successful groups associated with the region on campus, such as the Saudi Student Association, the Jordanian Student Association, and the Muslim Student Association, Suhayb decided to create a group that would be specific in its interest to the Arab World yet broad enough to encompass all aspects of Arab culture. He immediately thought of an organization for the many students of Arab heritage on campus and for the even larger number of students interested in the Arab world that are not of Arab background. Thus, the Arab Student Association was born on campus this semester.
Though still young, the group is starting off on the right track by planning to host events to increase their campus presence and to attract interested students. One such event next semester will feature a Bedouin-style tent on the Quad with music and food for students to mingle and discuss the group’s plans for their inaugural year. Other events the group is planning to have include lectures, networking events, and community service events.
Suhayb hopes that by having such events, the group can connect those who share an interest in the Arab world while breaking down stereotypes of Arab culture: “We see that ASA will join the Arabs at AU together to become a cohesive community within the AU community and to represent the Arabs to the fullest, and to break the stereotypes that many people have on Arabs. [...] There is much potential for this club and I think that it can be a great club that will help AU and DC in general.” He eventually hopes to reach out outside of AU to the various embassies and Arab groups at the surrounding universities and around the DC area.
The ASA is open for membership enrollment and welcomes students of any Arab background, non-Arab background, those with extensive study of the Arab world, or those who just wish to learn more about a different culture.
To become a member or for more information about ASA, please contact the group at firstname.lastname@example.org.