July 2013


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In this issue:
  • ROM's Mesopotamia Offers Modern Take on Antiquity 
  • CAI's Inaugural Gala
  • CAI Appoints New Advisory Board Member
  • Welcome CAI Summer Interns!
  • Save the Date: Youth Conference

ROM's Mesopotamia Offers Modern Take on Antiquity

The Canadian Arab Institute is proud to partner with the Royal Ontario Museum in promoting its Mesopotamia: Inventing Our World exhibit, on now until January 5, 2014.
Interactive and immersive, Mesopotamia brings adults and children eye to eye with one of the world’s most advanced ancient civilizations.

“We’re incredibly excited to work alongside the ROM in sharing the Mesopotamian civilization’s remarkable achievements and its impact on our world with Canadians,” said CAI President, Raja Khouri.
This unique exhibit combines interactive elements to enable visitors to look back in time to the land where urban civilization originated. It is a one-of-a-kind educational exhibition that has entranced and enlightened visitors around the world.
Exploring over 3,000 years of accomplishments of this ancient civilization to reveal the significance many still have on our lives today, the exhibit features over 170 artifacts that were excavated in the 19th and 20th centuries from modern-day Syria, Iraq and Turkey. From dramatic stone structures and imposing statues to delicate jewellery and tomb relics, the artifacts are guaranteed to delight and dazzle visitors.
The exhibit celebrates the many Mesopotamian accomplishments such as inventing astronomy, systematic animal domestication, beer, mathematics, the 60 minute hour, the spoked wheel, irrigation and urbanization. Arguably one of Mesopotamia’s greatest gifts to the world was the invention of writing.  Several cuneiform (early writing) tablets are on display, with one placed right next to an iPad to draw one of many links between Mesopotamian and modern lives.
The exhibit also shines a light on a contemporary crisis: the looting and destruction of artifacts, museums and archeological sites in Syria and Iraq. After the 2003 Iraq invasion, 15,000 artifacts were looted from the Iraq Museum and many archeological sites were destroyed. In 2011, the Syrian military began shelling historic sites used as hideouts by rebel soldiers. Last month, UNESCO revealed that six world heritage sites in Syria are in “imminent danger” of looting and destruction.  (Click  here to read an account of the Iraq Museum looting by a ROM curator).

As part of the exhibit, world experts will deliver a series of informative and entertaining lectures on Mesopotamian art, innovation and archeology. Visitors will also get the chance to participate in fun activities such as learning to writing in cuneiform, making a cylinder seal bracelet, exploring the Middle Eastern gallery in a scavenger hunt and more as part of the ROM’s “Discovery Corner” series.
For Canadian Arabs, this exhibition will mean much more than a showcase of ancient artifacts; it serves as a celebration of their ancestral homeland and achievements.

For more information and to book advance tickets, click here.

CAI's Inaugural Gala at the ROM - Oct 30, 2013

The CAI will hold a gala celebrating its official launch on October 30, 2013.  The gala will take place at the Royal Ontario Museum and will offer, as part of its proceedings, a tour of the museum's Mesopotamia Exhibit. The evening will reflect on Canadian Arab achievements and the community's potential, while highlighting the importance of improved understanding and relations between Canadian society and Arabic speaking peoples.
Tickets are $250 and will go on sale shortly.
The following sponsorship opportunities are available:
 Event Sponsor: $25,000
 Reception Sponsor: $15,000
 Gold Sponsor: $10,000
 Silver Sponsor: $7,500
 Bronze Sponsor: $5,000
To obtain a sponsorship package for the CAI Inaugural Gala, please contact Raja Khouri at raja@canadianarabinstitute.org or call 1-888- 983-4775.

CAI Appoints New Advisory Board Member

Jamelie Hassan is a Canadian-born visual artist, writer, lecturer and activist. Her artwork, influenced by her Lebanese background and her travels, explores issues of identity, cultural displacement, social activism and political conflict. She is the founder of two artist-run centres in London, Ontario, the Forest City Gallery and the Embassy Cultural House. In 2001, she was awarded the Governor General’s Award for Visual Arts.

In May, the CAI announced the creation of an advisory board, made up of a distinguished group of experts who expand the talents and capabilities of the institute. Jamelie joins existing members Mamdouh Shoukri, James Zogby, John Monahan, Errol Mendes, Bill Graham, Hoda ElMaraghy and Ferry de Kerckhove.

Welcome Two More Summer Interns!

Please join us in welcoming Mariam Hamaoui and Kareem Azm to the CAI team.

Mariam Hamaoui, Youth Conference Coordinator
Mariam is a fourth year Religious Studies student at York University. Mariam is a Lebanese/Syrian who was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. She is currently the President of the Middle Eastern Students' Association (MESA) at York University, the Director of Vanier College for the York Federation of Students (YFS), and the Director of Events and Marketing for RefugeAid (A grass roots project co-founded by Mariam that lends to the work of Doctors Without Borders). Mariam volunteers for the Royal Ontario Museum in the Discovery Galleries. She recently spent six weeks in Tunisia with the AIESEC program working with various NGOs dealing with humanitarian initiatives. Mariam also advocates for students' rights and fundamental freedoms.

Kareem Azm, Research Intern
Kareem joins us as a research intern. He pursued his Hons. Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Toronto in Political Science, Philosophy and History, and has strong interest in international politics, conflict resolution, and ethics.  Kareem was an intern at the Mosaic Institute where he provided research and communications assistance and also interned at the Canadian Race Relations Foundation where he worked on the ‘Anti-Racism and Canadian Identity’ research project. At the Canadian Arab Institute, he aims to expand his research and communication skills. Kareem comes from a Syrian   background and has lived in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.  He's a frequent traveler and enjoys playing guitar and composing music during his spare time.

Save the Date: Youth Conference

September 21, 2013

Youth Professional Development Conference at University of Toronto, Victoria College
The CAI will hold its first youth conference on September 21, 2013. It aims to bring Canadian Arab youth from across the country to discuss professional development with the help of leading Canadian Arab professionals.  Challenges and opportunities facing Canadian Arab youth will also be explored.  

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