Alejandra calls her decision to study Arabic the most significant choice she made in high school because of the study-abroad opportunities it opened up for her.  Read the whole thing here.

Posted by: Sarah Standish | June 6, 2014

Summer opportunity: Short-term exchange hosting

UPDATE: This program is still looking for hosts!  Please consider hosting if you will be around this summer!

If you’re looking to host an exchange student this summer without the long-term commitment, the World Affairs Council is offering the opportunity to host an Iraqi student activist for two weeks in August.

More information from the World Affairs Council:

As part of the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program, thirteen high school students from Iraq and the US will be in Oregon for a leadership program focusing on public health.  Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the program aims to build a network of young leaders from different ethnic, religious, and national groups willing to promote mutual understanding and community engagement.

Weekdays the visitors meet with youth groups and civic leaders, attend leadership workshops, and complete service projects.  To help our visitors learn about local teen life during their program, we are placing the students in host families that have a teenage host sibling.  Host siblings will be able to participate in program activities and weekend recreational events.  This is a great opportunity for local teens to learn about life in Iraq and how young people can make a difference here in Portland.

Host families provide a bed, breakfast and dinner, transportation to and from the Council’s downtown office during program days, and an American home experience.  During the 9:00am – 5:00pm day of programming, the World Affairs Council provides lunches, cultural events, transportation to meetings and appointments, and one day of recreational activities on the weekend.

The nine Iraqi high school students are recruited from all areas of Iraq and are selected based on academic performance, community involvement, and English language proficiency.  The four US participants are recruited from Portland’s partner communities across the country.  In addition to the student participants, an Iraqi educator will also be traveling with the program and we are looking for a host family for her as well.

For more information, please contact Andrew Neal at or (503) 306-5216.

Posted by: Sarah Standish | May 8, 2014

Extra Credit Events for May

Please note that due to the one-time nature of these events, I cannot screen them for content beforehand.  All information is from the website/newsletter of the PSU Middle East Studies Center unless state otherwise.

Film Screening: Dancing in Jaffa

Renowned ballroom dancer Pierre Dulaine returns to Jaffa to fulfill his lifelong dream of teaching dance to Jewish-Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli children. Here, we follow four different children, all of whom who are forced to confront issues of identity, segregation and racial prejudice, as they dance with their enemy. The classroom becomes a microcosm of the Middle East’s struggle to work together harmoniously while still caught in the politics of the region and race. With the guidance of Pierre, the children, who live uneasily side-by-side, learn to dance together and trust one another.

For more information, visit:

When: Opening Friday, May 2, 2014 at 7:00 pm
Where: Living Room Theaters, Southwest 10th Avenue, Portland

Ali Abunimah on ‘The Battle for Justice in Palestine’

This lecture is part of an ongoing tour for Ali Abunimah’s latest book, The Struggle for Justice in Palestine, published earlier this year by Haymarket Books. Accoring to Abunimah, efforts to achieve a “two-state solution” have finally collapsed, and the struggle for justice in Palestine is at a crossroads. As Israel and its advocates lurch toward greater extremism, many ask where the struggle is headed. Abunimah’s lecture will offer a clear analysis of this crossroads moment and looks forward with urgency down the path to a more hopeful future. Presented by SUPE. Cosponsors include AUPHR, JVP, Sabeel, and the Portland State chapter of the ISO. For more information, contact Dele Balogun, or visit

When: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 6:30 pm
Where: Smith Memorial Student Union, room 238, 1825 SW Broadway

Weekly events:

Arabic conversation and culture group

Organized by Arab students at PSU, this group meets weekly to practice Arabic and English and discuss Arab culture.  All are welcome:

When: Thursdays 4-6

Where: Park Avenue Cafe (1535 SW Park Ave)

Posted by: Sarah Standish | May 8, 2014

Host an Arab exchange student next year

Looking for an opportunity to host during the school year?  These students are looking for host families and it would be exciting to have them hosted in the Lincoln cluster!

Ahmed from Yemen-A host who likes to garden would appreciate this 15 year old student from a seaport city in Yemen who loves animals, environment, soccer, gardening, running.    In addition to having pets of his own, he often tries to help stray cats and dogs.  He speaks English and lives with his older brother & parents who are architects.  He wants to be a zoologist.

Mohammed, a Jordanian 16 year who likes volunteering, cycling , swimming, soccer wants to be a pilot. 

Fatima from Bahrain likes photography, children, animals, swimming, Basketball, museums.  She speaks excellent English and is an A student.

All three students have won a US State Department scholarship for being outstanding  students  The scholarship  provides health insurance, school fees, spending money.  They will attend school the 2014-15 school year arriving in the fall.

A host who can be a single person, retired, or any any combination family.  The host provides a bed, desk, chores  meals and encouragement while sharing their favorite things about our area.  For more information call Mimi Sanders, 503-293-6195, mimisandersart [at] hotmail [dot] com.

Posted by: Sarah Standish | April 25, 2014

Qatari college student seeks host family

Hosting an exchange student is a great way to broaden your family’s horizons while staying in the US.  This Qatari student is looking for a host family for summer 2014 while he takes classes at PSU:
Khalid Rashid Al Khalifa
Age: 18
Special Needs: does not smoke, drink alcohol or eat pork
Interests: soccer, American culture
Years of English: 5
Likely grade: college freshman
High school GPA: B+
Additional languages: Arabic
Father age: 55
Father occupation: Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, State of Qatar
Marital status: married
Additional comments: Khalid will be going into the Portland State University Intensive English Language Program. His spoken English now is at a beginner level, but will improve dramatically within the first two weeks of classes. After that, the improvement will slow down, but continue steadily as he studies at PSU and practices within the family. Khalid is a nice person, who is well-known among his family members and one of their kindest and someone people with a problem can go to. He is very much looking forward to learning about America from Americans and is grateful for the opportunity to do this through living with an American family. Khalid has not had a lot of experience with non-native cultures and will do best in a situation in which some of the main differences between Arab and American cultures has been discussed among the family members. These would include the higher level of formality among Arabs than among Americans, the very different way in which children address their parents, and the built-in existence/non existence of class hierarchy in the Qatari and American cultures respectively.
If you are interested in hosting Khalid, please contact Linda Morell (morrellassoc [at] comcast [dot] net) for more information.
Posted by: Sarah Standish | April 10, 2014

IB Arabic senior honored

Alejandra Padin-Dujon, an IB Arabic student, was recently honored as one of the top three African-American high school scholars in Oregon, the Oregonian recently reported.  Congratulations Alejandra – ألف مبروك!

Posted by: Sarah Standish | April 8, 2014

Free Arabic typing tutor

Want to learn how to type in Arabic?  Check out this free Arabic typing tutor.

IB Arabic students will need to submit a typed essay starting in the 2015 exam session, so now is a great time to get a head start.

Posted by: Sarah Standish | April 8, 2014

Seeking Host Family for Egyptian High School Girl

Share your America with Radwa from Egypt

PAX is seeking a host for Radwa, a delightful girl from Cairo.  She loves cooking, painting, swimming and would like to be a surgeon.  This 16 year old ‘A’ student has received a US State Department scholarship to attend high school here starting next fall.  the scholarship provides health insurance, and covers her school fees and personal expenses.

A host can be a single woman, retired couple or any combination family who provides meals, a room, study area,  and shared activities.  This is a chance to make a difference in the life of a young person as you share our America.  Call 503-293-6195, or e-mail for more information.

Posted by: Sarah Standish | April 8, 2014

Extra Credit Events for April

Please note that due to the one-time nature of these events, I cannot screen them for content beforehand.  All information is from the website/newsletter of the PSU Middle East Studies Center unless state otherwise.

Tinariwen Concert

Tinariwen is a band of Tuareg musicians from the Sahara Desert region of northern Mali. The band was formed in 1979 in Tamanrasset, Algeria, but returned to Mali after a cease-fire in the 1990s. For more information, visit

When: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 7:00 pm

Where: Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave, Portland

Cost: $25 adv/$30 door

Restrictions: Minors Under 21 with Parent or Legal Guardian

Weekly events:

Arabic conversation and culture group

Organized by Arab students at PSU, this group meets weekly to practice Arabic and English and discuss Arab culture.  All are welcome:

When: Thursdays 4-6

Where: Park Avenue Cafe (1535 SW Park Ave)


Posted by: Sarah Standish | March 6, 2014

Extra credit events for March

Please note that due to the one-time nature of these events, I cannot screen them for content beforehand.  All information is from the website/newsletter of the PSU Middle East Studies Center unless state otherwise.

Exhibit: Abaya and Beyond 

Abaya and Beyond, an exhibition of paintings created by Yvonne Pepin-Wakefield, will be featured at Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River. The exhibit represents four series of paintings she created during her 2004-2010 tenure as a professor, teaching art to Muslim women in Kuwait. Her book, Suitcase Filled with Nails: Lesson Learned from Teaching Art in Kuwait, will also be available for signing at first Friday Opening Reception on March 7th, 6 pm – 8 pm. For more information, visit:

When: March 7 – 29, 2014

Where: Columbia Center for the Arts, Cascade Avenue, Hood River

Taking the Girls’ Rock Camp Model to Bahrain: A Talk and Discussion About Girls, The Gulf, and Music

In August 2013, instructors from the Portland-based music education nonprofit Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls traveled to the small Persian Gulf nation of Bahrain to produce a music camp for girls at the invitation of the United States embassy. The camp, a modified version of the Oregon girls’ empowerment program, included cross-cultural exchange through video and zine-making with Portland students.

Three of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls team will present their experiences in this talk. Cosponsored by Oregon Humanities.  For more information, visit:

When: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 7:00 pm

Where: Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, 5340 N Interstate Ave, Portland

Qalam, Arabic Calligraphy from the Middle Ages to the Present

When: Tuesday, February 4 – April 27, 2014, Tuesday-Sunday, 12:00-5:00 pm

Where: Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College

Qalam, Arabic Calligraphy from the Middle Ages to the present is an exhibition of historical Arabic calligraphy and related material that offers an immersive glance into one of the world’s most poetic and spiritual art forms. At the center of the exhibition is a group of rare works on loan to the Cooley from the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, and a diverse array of manuscript folios from the collection of Reed alumnus Steven Herold ’63.  For more information, click here.

Finding Justice in the Holy Land and At Home

From the Middle East to the USA, from Palestine to Portland, justice is as much sought after as it is elusive. This important MFSA event will feature keynote speaker Mark Braverman’s expert presentation of the justice issues facing the Palestinian people. Looking through the lens of the Palestinian experience, experts from a variety of justice areas will help us identify factors that are common in the subversion of justice regardless of the type or the location. By learning these factors we can begin to address them before they take root and in this way help build a world where justice may “roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream.” (Amos 5:24 NRSV)

For more information and to buy tickets, visit:  Presented by Oregon Idaho MFSA – Methodist Federation for Social Action

 When: Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 9:00 am-3:00 pm

Where: First United Methodist Church, Southwest Jefferson Street, Portland

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