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PLACENTIA : $10,000 Awarded for Arab Culture Series

The Placentia Public Library has been awarded a $10,000 state grant to launch an exhibit and seminar series on the culture and social life of six Arab states in the Persian Gulf region.

The California Council on the Humanities awarded the grant for “Gulf Arab States: Beyond Camels, Oil and the Sand Dunes,” a profile of the countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The exhibit will begin at the Placentia library and travel to libraries throughout the state in the next few months.

“Except for Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, people cannot really say they know much about that area,” said Principal Librarian Suad Ammar. “This is a cultural display. It’s supposed to reflect the heritage, the social life of the region.”

The exhibit will open at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 7 with a seminar on the role of women in Islam and the current state of Islamic movements in the Gulf. Anthropologist Fadwa El Guindi will show excerpts from films she has made about the region.

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The displays will show clothing, utensils and musical instruments, along with videotapes, books and pamphlets available for checkout.

In addition, an interactive computer, “Omar the Wise,” will challenge patrons on all aspects of their Gulf knowledge.

Ammar presented the proposal to the humanities board in April and was informed of the grant in June. Since then, she has been in touch with embassies, who are donating items for the displays. Dignitaries have also been invited to attend the opening ceremonies.

“It’s going to be very rich in content,” she said. “We want to be more than a storage of books. We want to be a learning center.”

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After three weeks, the exhibit will travel to public libraries in Santa Maria, San Jose, Monterey, Oxnard, Long Beach, Pasadena, Oceanside, Coronado and Berkeley. Each of the opening ceremonies will include a guest speaker along with entertainment and refreshments from the region.


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