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 an hour-long presentation and open discussion—all in Arabic. Held on campus at UChicago every Friday afternoon (3:00–4:00 p.m.) throughout the academic year (fall through spring quarters, excluding breaks), it 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, although 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 as wide an audience as possible, 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 subjects outside 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 sent through that list.)

The student coördinator of the Arabic Circle for the 2015–16 academic year is Theo Beers (tbeers@uchicago.edu). If you are interested in presenting, or know someone who might be, please send an email to Theo 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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