Meet Your Instructor
In addition to introducing yourself and sharing your own place of origin, this unit's comprehensive interview also allows you to get in touch with the actor/actress inside of you. Choose one person from either the male or female lists of well-known Arabs provided below. You will pretend to be this person during your interview with the instructor. While doing so, the instructor will also pretend to be someone else. As you converse in character, be sure to address the instructor with either حضرتَك or حضرتِك.
A short biographical sketch of each individual is provided below, but you will not be expected to share any information about your selected individual beyond name and origin. You may, however, have to respond to a few questions, but you can make up the answers as you go.
Refer to the "Communication Tools" section of the Technical Requirements page for instructions on how to conduct this interview online.
King Mohammad VI of Morrocco الملك محمد السادس
Mohammad VI ascended to the throne in July 1999, just hours after the death of his father. The young King soon became known as a moderniser who brought about a constitutional monarchy. He also created a new family code, or mudawana, which granted women more power. He is generally opposed by Islamist conservatives. His support for political pluralism has angered some fundamentalists.
Current King of Morocco
Origin: the city of Rabat (ar-rabaaT الرباط) in Morocco (al-maghrib المغرب)
Kazem Al-Saher كاظم الساهر
Kazem Al-Saher has established himself as one of the biggest singers in the Arab World, with works ranging from romantic ballads to more political work, from pop to classical. By 1998 he was lauded as an artist, not just a pop star. This prestige brought him wider fame and a growing international reputation that won him a UNICEF award. He has recorded a tribute to Pope John Paul II with the Italian Symphony Orchestra and has released a song entitled "The War is Over" with Sarah Brightman.
Origin: the city of Mosul (muuSul موصل) in Iraq (al-ciraaq العراق)
Nizar Tawfiq Qabbani نزار قباني
Qabbani was a Syrian poet, diplomat, and publisher. His poetic style combines simplicity and elegance in exploring themes of love, eroticism, feminism, religion, and Arab nationalism. He is one of the most revered contemporary poets in the Arab world. Qabbani began writing poetry when he was 16 years old, and over the course of a half-century, Qabbani wrote 34 more books of poetry, many of which have also been translated into English.
Origin: the city of Damascus (dimashq دمشق) in Syria (suuriyya سوريا)
Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud الوليد بن طلال بن عبد العزيز السعود
Commonly known as Prince Al-Waleed, he is a member of the Saudi Royal Family, an entrepreneur and international investor. He has amassed his fortune through investments in properties and stocks. As of 2006, his net worth was estimated at US $20 billion and he was ranked by Forbes as the 8th richest person in the world and the richest Arab. Al-Waleed has been nicknamed by Time magazine as the Arabian Warren Buffett. He is the largest single foreign investor in the U.S. economy. Despite being the nephew of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, he has stayed outside of the core of political power in his homeland.
Richest Arab, International Investor
Origin: the city of Riyadh (ar-riyaaD الرياض) in Saudi Arabia (as-sacuudiyya السعوديّة)
Gibran Khalil Gibran جبران خليل جبران
A writer known best for his book The Prophet, Khalil Gibran spoke out in his writings against the corrupt practices of Eastern churches and their clergies. The Prophet remains famous to this day, with passages often read at weddings and christenings. Gibran's most famous line of all is that which inspired John F. Kennedy's oft quoted "Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You." The quote was inspired by Gibran's words: "Are you a politician asking what your country can do for you or a zealous one asking what you can do for your country?" ("The New Frontier," 1925). Gibran is also quoted by John Lennon in the song Julia from The Beatles' 1968 album.
Origin: the city of Bashri (bashari بشري) in Lebanon (lubnaan لبنان)
Born Nouhad Haddad, Fairuz is a Lebanese singer known as "Lebanon's Ambassador to the Stars" and "Neighbour to the Moon." Songs performed by Fairuz as part of the Rahbani Brothers' world-class musical plays have become immortal masterpieces that live in the minds and hearts of millions of Lebanese and Arabs around the world.
Famous Singer and Song-writer
Origin: the city of Cedar Mountain (jabal al-'arz جبل الأرز) in Lebanon (lubnaan لبنان)
Born Yolande Christina Gigliotti, Dalida was an Egyptian-born singer of Italian origin who made her career in France. She received 55 golden records and was the first singer to receive a diamond disc. During her career, Dalida recorded 500 French songs, 200 of which were translated into Italian, and 300 into other languages. She sold more than 150 million albums world-wide, winning numerous awards and scoring more than 70 gold records. Yet, despite her fame and fortune, her personal life was difficult and filled with much drama and tragedy. In 2001, the French government honored her memory with a postage stamp.
Origin: the city of Cairo (al-qaahira القاهرة) in Egypt (maSr مصر)
Sahar Khalifa سحر خليفة
Sahar is a Palestinian writer who founded the center for Feminine Studies. She is considered one of the most prominent Palestinian writers. Her works include several novels and essays translated into several languages including Hebrew, as well as non-fiction writing.
Origin: the city of Nablus (naablus نابلس) in Palestine (falasTiin فلسطين)
Huda Shaarawi هدى شعراوي
Huda Shaarawi was a pioneer Egyptian feminist leader and nationalist. Even as a young woman, she showed her independence by entering a department store in Alexandria to buy her own clothes instead of having them brought to her home. In 1923, Shaarawi founded and became the first president of the Egyptian Feminist Union. As such, she removed her face veil in public for the first time, a signal event in the history of Egyptian feminism. Although only some of her demands were met during her lifetime, she laid the groundwork for later gains by Egyptian women and remains the symbolic standard-bearer for their liberation movement.
Origin: the city of Al Minya (al-minya المنيا) in Egypt (maSr مصر)
Sayyida Hurra سيدة حرّة
Sayyida Hurra, also known as the Little Queen of Sheba, was the ruler of Yemen for over 50 years until her death in 1138. She was the greatest of the rulers of the Sulayhis Dynasty and was also the first woman to be accorded the prestigious title of hujja in the Isma'ili branch of Shi'a Islam. She was described by the chroniclers of her time as brave, devout and independent. She was also seen as highly intelligent and well learned, having a great memory for poems, stories and historical events. She was very knowledgeable on matters related to the Qur'an and the Hadith. The chroniclers also mention her as being extremely beautiful.
Origin: the city of Haraz (haraaz هراز) in Yemen (al-yaman اليمن)