Arabic Circle is a weekly language club sponsored by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago. Established by the late Dr. Farouk Mustafa (pen name Farouk Abdel Wahab) and ongoing for more than thirty years, the club welcomes different speakers for a roughly forty-minute presentation followed by an open discussion—all in Arabic. Held on campus every Friday afternoon (3:00–4:00 p.m.) throughout the academic year (fall through spring quarters, excluding breaks), the series is primarily aimed at students but open to the public. We routinely have professors joining the audience as well as interested individuals from outside the University. Arabic Circle requires no dues from any of its participants. With weekly turnout of about twenty people, the meetings remain intimate and offer a supportive environment for Arabic speakers at a range of fluency levels.

The topics are sometimes academic, but are not strictly required to be so; and we strive to make the atmosphere not conference- or workshop-like. Also, while we do not restrict the subject matter, we prefer to leave particularly hot-button issues to more appropriate expert fora. Our aim at Arabic Circle is to have subjects that are engaging for a wider audience, and suitably light for a Friday afternoon. Presenters include both native and non-native Arabic speakers. They are sometimes internal to the university, but we try to invite as many non-affiliates as possible who can bring fresh views on topics beyond the typical scope of academic interest.

If you would like to receive regular emails about Arabic Circle meetings, please contact the Center for Middle Eastern Studies to be added to their list. (Note that you will also receive other messages distributed by the Center.)

The student co-coördinators of Arabic Circle for the 2017–18 academic year are Samantha Pellegrino (spellegrino@uchicago.edu) and Rachel Schine (rachelschine@uchicago.edu). If you are interested in presenting, or know someone who might be, please send an email to Samantha and/or Rachel detailing your background or introducing a possible guest. While native-level fluency is not required (though it is appreciated), we ask that speakers have sufficient command of Arabic to comfortably sustain speech for forty minutes and lead a short discussion thereafter.

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