Panel Moderator: Dania Majid

Dania.jpgDania Majid, Hon. B.Sc., LL.B., M.E.S. is one of the Arab Canadian Lawyers Association (ACLA) founders. Called to the Ontario Bar in 2004, she is currently working for a specialty legal aid clinic. Previous experience includes working with the Ontario government, a human rights legal centre and a non-profit environmental law organization. She co-authored the chapter on gender-based violence in schools for the School Community Safety Advisory Panel chaired by lawyer Julian Falconer. Dania studied biology at the University of Toronto, completed her Masters of Environmental Studies in international trade at York University, and obtained her law degree at Osgoode Hall Law School where she founded the Arab Law Students Association. She has been an activist for the Arab community for many years: she sat on the Executive Committee of the Canadian Arab Federation for two years; represents ACLA on the Equity Advisory Group of the Law Society of Upper Canada; and is a programmer and an organizer of the Toronto Palestine Film Festival since its inception six years ago.

Majdi Bou-Matar


Majdi Bou-Matar is a theatre director and performer who immigrated to Canada from Lebanon in 2003. He holds an MA degree in Drama from the University of Guelph with research focus on Canadian intercultural theatre, a BA degree in directing from the Lebanese American University and BA Honours in theatre studies from the Lebanese University.  Majdi directed several productions in Beirut and has been a key participant in several theatre, television, and film projects in the Middle East and Tunisia. Majdi represented his country of origin in the Afro-Arab Centre for Theatrical Research in Tunis where he gained considerable knowledge in the inter-cultural aspects of theatre.

An active member of the Waterloo Region arts community, Majdi founded The Multicultural Theatre Space (MT Space) in 2004. At The MT Space Majdi designed and managed several programs using theatre as a tool for community building, settlement, and social change. Such projects include the Immigrant Youth Theatre program with the KWYMCA and Theatre for Social Change with the Centre for Community Based Research.   Majdi’s directing portfolio includes Nijinsky the hour of his Wedding to the Lord (1998), Miss Julie (1999), Something Like Macbeth (2000), Three-Legged Horse (2004), Seasons of Immigration (2005), Yes or No (2006), Exit Strategy (2007), The Last 15 Seconds (2008) and Body 13(2010). Majdi is also the Artistic Director of IMPACT, a biennial international theatre festival in the Waterloo Region. In its first incarnation IMPACT 09 presented theatre from China, Hungary, Belgium and Canada. The festival engaged over 100 artists, 100 volunteers and 3300 visitors. Majdi is currently preparing for IMPACT 13 scheduled for September 24-29, 2013. 

Jamelie Hassan


Born in Canada of Arabic background, Jamelie Hassan is based in London, Ontario. She is a visual artist and is also active as a lecturer, writer and independent curator. Since the 1970s she has created a body of work that is intensely driven by an engagement in both local and international politics and cultures. Her interdisciplinary installations, writing and curatorial projects explore personal and public histories. She has coordinated numerous international programs and is involved in artist-run centres in Canada. A survey exhibition of her work, Jamelie Hassan: At the Far Edge of Words organized by Museum London, London, Ontario and the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver circulated nationally (2009-2013) accompanied by a publication (2010). This exhibition was awarded the 2009 best exhibition of the year from the Ontario Art Gallery Association. Her works are in major public collections and she is the recipient of numerous awards including the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts (2001). In 2012 she was awarded the Canada Council for the Arts artist in residence at La Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, France.

George Sawa


George Sawa was born in Alexandria, Egypt. He studied qanun, theory and voice at the Higher Institute of Arabic Music. After immigrating to Canada, he studied ethnomusicology at the University of Toronto, and obtained his doctorate in historical Arabic musicology. He has taught graduate and undergraduate courses on medieval, modern, and religious music of the Middle East at the University of Toronto and at York University. He is the author of Music Performance Practice in the Early cAbbasid Era. 132-320 AH/750-932 AD and Rhythmic Theories and Practices in Arabic Writings to 339AH/950 CE.  He has published over 50 articles on Arabic music in refereed journals and encyclopedias, and is frequently invited to give lectures and concerts worldwide. In 2005 he received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Egyptian Ministry of Culture for his research in Arabic music history. George has been the musical director for several productions of the Toronto-based Arabesque Dance Company, and taught hundred of dancers at the Arabesque Academy and Hannan's Bellydance Studio in Toronto. His CD, The Art of the Early Egyptian Qanun, Vol. 1, was nominated for a JUNO Award in World Music in 2009. A subsequent volume, The Art of the Early Egyptian Qanun, Vol. 2, was released in 2009. His Egyptian Music Appreciation and Practice for Bellydancers has won international acclaim and is an invaluable - one of a kind - companion to bellydancers all over the world. He is presently working on an Arabic to Arabic music and socio-cultural glossary of Kitab al-Aghani (The Book of Songs) of al-Isbahani (d. 356/967).