Middle eastern night brings cultural appreciation to the Palouse

MESA celebrates Middle Eastern Night with colorful venue, food, music, community

Artists+draw+Arabic+calligraphy+at+the+Middle+Eastern+Student+Association+cultural+event%2C+Compton+Union+Building%2C+Mar.+4

JUSTIN WASHINGTON

Artists draw Arabic calligraphy at the Middle Eastern Student Association cultural event, Compton Union Building, Mar. 4

PUNEET BSANTI

On March 4, as students walked into the Compton Union Building Senior Ballroom, their eyes and ears were met with colorful Middle Eastern attire and various languages.

The Middle Eastern Student Association was joined by various groups to celebrate Middle Eastern culture with food and music. 

The event showcased different infographic boards about Middle Eastern countries, and attendees could get their names written in Arabic. The event also provided a photo booth to take pictures and the opportunity for attendees to get henna drawn on their hands.

“The purpose is to bring cultural awareness to the Middle East,” said Refa Al-Amri, senior physics and astrophysics double major and president of MESA.

The event’s host, Hadeel Al Harthi, senior earth sciences major and vice president of MESA, started the celebration with an opening speech and introduced guest speakers throughout the event.

After a preliminary reading of the Quran, the events transitioned to the Saudi Student Association’s presentation of a speech for Founder’s Day. The Oman Student Association then performed Al’azi -sung poetry- to show their pride for Oman. 

The Seattle Dabke Group shared two performances during the event. Dabke is a traditional Palestinian folk dance performed at celebrations. After their first performance, there was a Kahoot that covered questions about different Middle Eastern countries. 

Afterward, dinner was served with the option to have either lamb, chicken or vegetables with rice.

“It’s important for people to come to meet people of different cultures. It’s important for non-Americans to meet Americans and vice versa,” senior neuroscience major Lujaina AlSubhi said.

As an international student, AlSubhi usually attends Middle Eastern events to show her support and to feel connected with people of her same culture. She said she was surprised by the amount of non-Middle Eastern people who usually come to the events. 

After dinner, host Al Harthi presented the closing speech and showed her appreciation for those who attended the event. 

To end the night, the Seattle Dabke Group performed their final folk dance, and many of the attendees joined in as they all danced around the room in a line. 

Al-Amri said she believes the event fulfilled its purpose of bringing everyone together to celebrate Middle Eastern culture. She said there were many positive responses and finds it amazing that the WSU community wanted to learn more about their culture. 

“We planned this event over the past two semesters. I really want to thank the rest of my team for dedicating their time to the event,” Al-Amri said.