This past week, several students, including Jennifer Loveland-Rose ’20, Omar Almujahed ’18, Dalia Baban, Peter Honarvar and Matthew Ghattas, hosted the 2018 Middle East Week on campus. From April 10 to 14, a multitude of events were held in honor of the culture as well as to educate other Wheaton students and faculty on Middle Eastern culture.
On Tuesday, April 10, there was an event titled, “I am ________ but I am not ________,” which was an informal discussion on the frequent stereotypes people encounter and the many facets of how people identify themselves, accompanied with a free catered Middle Eastern dinner. The event for Wednesday, April 11, was “Religion, Peace and Violence,” featuring a lecture from guest speaker John Caputo, who is one of the world’s prominent scholars on religion.
Caputo is often identified with emergent Christianity, postmodernism and the continental philosophy of religion. Caputo is certainly most recognized for his interpretations of Jacques Derrida and deconstruction, and he is also the founder of the theological movement known as weak theology, which is further expanded upon in his book The Weakness of God.
Friday’s, April 13’s, event was “Hips Don’t Chai,” with highlights including hot, soothing beverages from around the world and a belly dance performance from professional belly dancer Raquel. The assortment of tea was both delicious and interesting. The combination of nice weather, music and dancing led to a beautiful evening.
The whole week was concluded on Saturday, April 14, with Shisha & Soccer by having a tournament for the FIFA video games inside TWAP House and smoking shisha outside the house.
All in all, it was a fantastic and educational series of events that I certainly learned quite a lot from. Middle East Week provided a great learning experience for the Wheaton community.