Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Zad Hussain Pays Homage to Cultural Icons from the Arab World and Beyond

A collage of Zad's work featuring various icons and more (c) Zad Hussain

Zad Hussain is a Sudanese graphic fashion designer and illustrator who is currently based in Glasgow. He is originally from Port Sudan by the Red Sea (Sudan) .

Photo of artist; for more, see

Zad (short for Zadalrakb زاد الرَّكب حسين) earned his BA and MA in Fine Arts and Design from the Florence Design Academy in 2017) before moving to the UK where is he is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in the same field. 

Zad has made a name for himself on Instagram and other media for the unique ways in which he illustrates such Arab icons as Fairuz and Um Kulthum as well as global musical sensations like ABBA and Dalida.  His digital pieces are intricately woven by the artist's pen and awake a sense of nostalgia and (be)longing to both the past and the present.  

Zad often includes short video clips of his work as it progresses from a blank screen to a masterpiece.  Below is a video clip showcasing the way he illustrated Lebanese singing legend Fairuz (video is owned by artist and used by permission).  For more, visit this link.

You can follow Zad Hussain's Insta Page at 

If interested in ordering any of Zad's prints, please contact the artist directly through Instagram or by email:

"It was a pleasure to speak with Zad Hussain who generously agreed to share a sample of his work with Arabology readers*.  I am proud of this talented Sudanese artist who reminds us all of the richness of our cultural history"--Dr. Ramzi Salti

*Screenshot shows  Dr. Ramzi Salti in brief conversation with Zad Hussain.  Taken by mutual permission in December 2021.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Ramzi Salti Interviews Actor Haaz Sleiman of "The Eternals" (December 2021)

Watch complete interview at

I am more than proud to share my new audio-visual interview with multi-talented Arab American actor Haaz Sleiman who, in addition to talking about his groundbreaking role as "Ben" in Marvel/Disney's The Eternals (playing in cinemas worldwide), discussed his extensive body of work and roles in The Visitor, Breaking FastNurse Jackie, Killing Jesus, and Little America (currently streaming on Apple TV+).  

You can watch the complete interview below or at 

During the interview, Haaz also shared his experiences of working with such icons as Salma Hayek, Hiam Abbas, Edie Falco, Aladdin's Mena Massoud, Director Chloé Zhao, Richard Jenkins, and many more.  

Watch complete interview at

The interview also included a personal segment about Haaz's Lebanese American identity, his relationship with his late father, and a heartfelt English/Arabic tribute to his mom (pictured below) as well as to Arab Americans and immigrants everywhere.

Watch complete interview at

This interview was recorded via Zoom in December 2021 and includes the following chapters (clickable in video description on YouTube):

00:53 Haaz discusses his role as Ben in Marvel's The Eternals
02:10 Working with Director Chloé Zhao 
07:34 Working with Salma Hayek 
08:55 His starring role in The Visitor
12:00 Working with Hiam Abbass 
14:09 Fela Kuti Influence 
16:22 The Visitor Trailer 
17:58 Starring in 'Breaking Fast' 
22:54 Nurse Jackie and Edie Falco 
27:44 HRC Visibility Award 
29:31 Starring as Jesus in Killing Jesus (National Geographic TV series)
31:08 Guesting on "Jack Rayan" 
32:00 Starring in Apple TV+'s Little America (2020)
33:40 Relationship with his late father 
39:30 Tribute to his Mom (in English and Arabic)

You can watch the complete interview below or at

Saturday, November 20, 2021

'Top Chef' Arabia Winner Ali Ghzawi Interviewed by Dr. Ramzi Salti

Over the course of my last summer vacation in Amman, I happened upon a new restaurant called "Pounder" where I found myself enjoying one of the best burgers in Jordan.  Little did I know then that the owner was/is Chef Ali Ghzawi, the winner of the 2019 Top Chef Arabia winner who, by now, had become a household name in the Middle East.

I subsequently got to meet Chef Ali in person and was immediately struck by his enthusiasm, talent and personality--three traits that may explain the continuous popularity of the place.  Case in point is the way he graciously agreed to be interviewed for my Arabology show--live amidst the hustle and bustle of his restaurant where the sounds of the customers and workers only served to highlight the warm, relaxed ambiance that has made "Pounder" such an iconic restaurant.

Listen to full interview at

Jordanian chef Ali Ghzawi won MBC Arabia’s Top Chef reality TV series back in 2019 where he was the youngest of 17 seasoned contestants. By 2020, he had not only made countless TV appearances all over the Arab world but was also featured on Forbes 30 Under 30 list for the year (2020).  

Yet despite such groundbreaking acheminements. Chef Ali (Alee) remains true to his beginnings and is always happy to share his journey, as he does in this interview, in order to inspire others to pursue their own visions and dreams.

Listen to full interview below or at

Follow Chef Ali (Alee) Ghzawi on Instagram at

Friday, September 17, 2021

Tamer Al Ahmar Digitally Revives Arab Cultural Icons (Stanford Talk; Recording Available)

Watch full recording of the talk + Q&A at

Video for talk available at

The video recording from Jordanian artist Tamer Al Ahmar's groundbreaking talk at Stanford is now available at THIS LINK (or watch below):

The talk, which was hosted by Stanford Lecturer Dr. Ramzi Salti, included an amazing PowerPoint presentation by the artist in which he highlighted his digital art tributes to some of the Arab world's most iconic divas--from Fairuz and Sabah to Asmahan, Um Kulthum and Warda.

For more info about artist, see

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Best Online Resources for Students of Arabic at Any Level (Compiled by Dr. Ramzi Salti)


Having taught Arabic at Stanford for the past two decades, I have become all too familiar with the need to supplement students' language skills/proficiency by continuously exposing them to various cultural productions from the Arab world in a way that will entertain Arabic learners while further informing their language studies.  It is my firm belief that teaching culture as an integral part of any language course--especially when it comes to Arabic--leads to a remarkable increase in language proficiency and is truly essential for any student who truly wishes to master the language.

Towards that end, I have carefully compiled this list of available online resources that aims at enhancing classroom learning by providing a much needed guide to various websites, programs and apps that students can utilize, at their own pace, in order to retain if not increase their language proficiency.

  • Aswaat Arabiyya أصوات عربية  "Arabic Voices," is a web site designed for learners and teachers of Arabic seeking materials for listening comprehension. It provides listening materials and accompanying activities/exercises that are intended for the various levels of proficiency from Novice to Superior. These listening materials have been selected from television stations throughout the Arab world and they treat a wide variety of topics and listening genres. Click here to explore.  Check out the site at

  • Al-Jazeera Learning Arabic site is a free open educational source that offers a variety of materials in different forms including articles, literary texts, grammatical rules "learning Arabic" videos at all levels.  The site are enhanced by advanced options, where the learner can show or hide texts of audio material, show or hide the tashkeel/vocalization of texts, and view immediate results of the exercises.  Site also includes various electronic services such as “The Dictionary"" service to check up the meaning of words, “The Tashkeel/Vocalization" service, and a “Placement test” service which helps the learner rate their own proficiency level. See

  • Play Jeopardy in Arabic Online: Test yourself or compete with other players via Jeopardy Labs.  This link includes dozens of Jeopardy games in Arabic at all levels.  You can also create your own game.

  • Ramzi Salti Hosts Various Arabic Speakers:  Click here for exclusive Unlisted Playlist of  Videos ft various classical Arabic speakers at different proficiency levels.

PLAYLIST: ARABIC FILMS (with English subtitles)

  • YouTube Playlist ft various Arabic video clips with English Subtitles: Click HERE.

  • YouTube Playlist ft Free Arabic Films (short and long) with English subtitles: Click HERE.

ARABIC WEBSERIES (Colloquial, with English Subtitles)

1. Shankaboot- The first Arabic web series from the streets and rooftops of Beirut; with English subtitles (52 short, addictive episodes).  Click HERE.

2.  MAMNOU3! - Season 1: A Lebanese web-series about the day-to-day inner workings of the country's censorship bureau. With English subtitles.  Click HERE.

3.  Mohannad Abu Rizk's Webseries "Around the World أسئلة حول العالم"  featuring thematic questions to everyday Arabic speakers in the streets.  With English subtitles.  Click HERE.

4.  Mosaiic Series "Tababa طبابة": Short films from Jordan that aim at grappling various social issues.  With English subtitles.  Click here.

WEBSERIES IN ARABIC (Colloquial, No English subtitles)

1.  The Rania Show: A satirical Comedy sketch show which highlights the life of five very different Arab female characters living in Jordan--all played by Rania Kurdi.  Originally aired on Roya TV.  Click HERE for playlist of all episodes.

2.  Rania Kurdi's Ma3ZOOM comedy series:  Comedy sketches in Arabic featuring Rania's hilarious characters as they attempt to learn various skills on with online instructors on Zoom.  Features guest appearance (5 episodes) by Ramzi Salti which you can watch watch HERE.


بودكاست بإيجابية مع رانيا: في بودكاست «بإيجابية مع رانيا»، تستضيف خلال شهر رمضان الفنانة ومدربّة المهارات الحياتية رانيا كردي أصحاب مبادرات ومؤسسات ملهمة من الوطن العربي استطاعوا استخدام خدمات موقع التواصل الاجتماعي فيسبوك لعمل الخير.  أنتجت «صوت» بودكاست «بإيجابية مع رانيا» بالشراكة مع «فيسبوك الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا».

صوت بودكاست هي منصة بودكاست تعمل على إنتاج وتوزيع برامج صوتية عالية الجودة باللغة العربية. ونلتزم بإنتاج محتوى صوتي باللغة العربية سعيًا لإيجاد بيئة حوار تناقش المواضيع المهمة والحساسة للمتابع العربي حول العالم، بالإضافة إلى خلق بيئة حوار تناقش مبادئ العدالة والتعددية وحقوق الإنسان عبر الإنتاج الصوتي. انطلقت صوت عام ٢٠١٦، مقرّها العاصمة الأردنية، عمّان، أنشأها حازم وطارق زريقات ورمزي تسدل لتكون شبكة بودكاست (برامج إذاعية حسب الطلب).

يلا نحكي بودكاست #yalla_ne7ki بودكاست بالعربي .. آمال القادري تتناول مواضيع عديدة من حياتنا اليومية.. ومحاورة لاشخاص كان لهم تجارب مميزة وربما مفيدة لآنه جميعنا نمر بقصص مشابهة ولكن بمواقف مغايرة..  


  • Dr. Ramzi Salti's Arabology is a radio program that is hosted in English by Stanford Lecturer Dr. Ramzi Salti, showcasing music and other cultural productions from the Arab world. 'Arabology' airs on KZSU 90.1 FM and all podcasts are housed here on Soundcloud.
  • The MARSM Music Elevator is an informative, entertaining and musical podcast in English, featuring some of the finest independent artists and musicians from the Arabic-speaking world. Click here.
  • Afikra is a global organization that aims to promote the diversity and richness of Arab culture and history. Its archive ft an impressive series of YouTube presentations and talks, in English, about various topics (also categorized by theme).  Main site:



Thursday, July 1, 2021

Rania Kurdi Interviews Dr. Ramzi Salti for Her "Breaking Free" Podcast (June 29, 2021)

Listen below or at

It was an honor and a pleasure to be interviewed by Rania Kurdi for her "Breaking Free" Podcast (June 29, 2021) in which we discussed everything from my 20+ years of teaching teaching at Stanford to my Arabology program to personal struggles and successes that I have rarely spoken about.

You can listen to the whole podcast BELOW or directly on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn.  You can also listen via this link.

"Being interviewed by RANIA KURDI for her "Breaking Free" podcast was an honor, a pleasure and an experience that I will not soon forget. Rania knows how to make her guests feel at ease and allows them to "break free" by sharing various aspects of their struggles and successes in a way that will hopefully inspire others to do the same."--Dr. Ramzi Salti


Episode title: Breaking Free: Expression through Language with Dr. Ramzi Salti

Episode Date: June 29, 2021

Episode Description (taken from this site; courtesy of Rania Kurdi):

Have you ever tried to learn a language but found the process challenging and dull? Or maybe you were blessed with a special teacher that made learning an enjoyable and memorable experience.

My guest this week is Dr. Ramzi Salti, a recipient of the Stanford Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching. He is an author, a radio host and a lecturer in Arabic at Stanford University for over twenty years. He believes language goes hand in hand with learning about the culture and introduces his students to all styles of Arabic music and popular TV shows in an interactive and modern way.

Today, we discuss how we met on his radio show Arabology, after my sketches from The Rania Show became a big part of his teaching. Ramzi describes how he broke free from teaching Arabic in the traditional way and how he started his Radio show in English during the Arab Spring in 2011. He also discusses his book "The Native Informant" tackling culture, family issues, and sexuality and going viral before viral even existed in 1994.

In this episode, you will learn:
  • Dr. Ramzi explains why he thinks podcasts are here to stay. (1:40)
  • Dr. Ramzi talks about growing up in Lebanon before the civil war broke out in 1975 and his family moved to Jordan. (3:20)
  • How Ramzi’s mother was instrumental in him getting a Doctorate Arabic and Comparative Literature. (5:00)
  • What it felt like for Dr. Ramzi to receive the Stanford Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching. (16:20)
  • How Dr. Ramzi combined culture and language when teaching Arabic to his students (21:25)
  • How breaking free was a process of unlearning the way he had been taught so he could make it more reachable to a new generation. (23:17)
  • How Dr. Ramzi started his radio show at Stanford University KZSU (26:45)
  • Discovering the groundbreaking and controversial Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila (31:58)
  • How the series Ramy, winner of a Golden Globe award in 2021, was appreciated and accepted in the Arab world after it got the stamp of western legitimacy (34:38)
  • How Rami Malek won the Oscar for playing the part of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. (36:08)
  • Dr. Salti tackled feminism and marginalized sexualities in 1994 when he published his book The Native Informant and Other Stories.
  • Dr. Ramzi Salti describes how proud he felt to be published by Three Continents Press who owned at the time most English translations of Nobel prize winner author Naguib Mahfouz’s books. (44:42)
  • A reading by Rania Kurdi of one of Dr. Ramzi’s short stories titled "Vivian and Her Son."  Text available here.


I’m Rania, a transformational life coach, comedian and former host of the Pan-Arab TV talent show Pop Idol. I will be sharing my own life adventures and those of my inspirational guests from all over the world to discover how they found their authentic voice and purpose, in hope that it will inspire you to break free from whatever is holding you back.

Follow Rania Kurdi's Podcast and other works at


Arabology Interviews Rania Kurdi (December 2019)
Dr. Ramzi Salti interviews singer/actress/producer/motivational speaker Rania Kurdi who candidly speaks about her TV/Film/Music career, her cathartic work as a life coach, and the many projects she has on the horizon.  Listen below or at this link.

Arabology Spotlights Rania Kurdi PART 1: Bio ft Music Excerpts (August 2013)

Arabology Spotlights PART 2: Ft Exclusive Interview (August 2014)
Rania Kurdi Returns with New Season of "The Rania Show" by Zoom

Ramzi Salti Guests on Rania Kurdi's Show Ma3Zoom (YouTube Playlist)

Connect with Rania Kurdi:
Instagram: @Kurdirania 
Twitter: @rania_kurdi

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Ramzi Salti's Talk + PowerPoint on Jawdat Haydar (LAU April 2021)

Watch video at

Stanford Lecturer + Arabology Program host Dr. Ramzi Salti was recently invited by The Department of Humanities in the School of Arts and Sciences at the Lebanese American University (LAU) to give a talk titled "Identity, Representation, and the Creation of an Alternative Discourse in the Poetry of Jawdat R. Haydar" to mark the 115th anniversary of the renowned Lebanese poet’s birth.

The talk took place online on April 29, 2021 and was followed by a lively Q&A session. With special thanks to Professor Vahid Behmardi, Mrs. Shahina Osseiran, and the Friends of Jawdat Haydar.

You can watch a video of the talk below or at


You can also view the PowerPoint through this link where you can click on right arrow to advance to next slide.

EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT: Also see this link

Dr. Ramzi Salti is a full-time Lecturer in Arabic at Stanford University where he also hosts a radio program titled Arabology. He has also organized numerous events at Stanford that center on various Arabic cultural icons and productions and has received multiple grants from the Stanford Arts Institute to bring such cultural icons as Emel Mathlouthi, Mike Massy, Yasmine Hamdan and Pierre Dulaine to Stanford.  Dr. Salti has an extensive publication record including a collection of short stories, titled The Native Informant & Other Stories which was published in 1994 to much critical acclaim.

VIDEO FROM THIS TALK: Watch below or at

Friday, April 30, 2021

Ramzi Salti Interviews Iraqi-Jordanian Violinist Layth Sidiq

Watch at

Stanford Lecturer + Arabology Host Dr. Ramzi Salti recently spoke to Iraqi/Jordanian violinist Layth Sidiq ليث صِدّيْق  in an audio-visual interview which includes an exclusive live performance as well as the following musical excerpts: 
  • 0:00​ - 01:14​ Bagdad by Layth Sidiq (Album: Son of Tigris) 
  • 15:10​ - 16:27​ Eastern Waves by Layth Sidiq (Album: Son of Tigris) 
  • 19:17​ - 20:32​ Foag El-Nakhal by Layth Sidiq, Rohith Jayaraman (Album: Hamsa) 
  • 30:13​ - 30:51​ Zaha Bi Khadayk al-Khafar - زها بخديك الخفر by Layth Sidiq; Violin arrangement: Mohammed Othman Sidiq (Full video at​) 
  • 33:50​ - 38:39​ Grief is a Journey | الحزن رحلة by Layth Siqiq (Performed Live)
Watch below or at

Layth Sidiq is an award-winning violinist, composer and educator and the current artistic director of the New York Arabic Orchestra. He has toured the world and shared the stage with major artists such as Simon Shaheen, Danilo Perez, Javier Limon and Jack Dejohnette, as well as performing in prestigious venues like the London Jazz Festival, Boston Symphony Hall, WOMEX Expo, Panama Jazz Festival and more. He is featured on multiple award-winning albums and his first record Son of Tigris was premiered at the Montreal Jazz Festival in 2016. In 2018, Layth won 2nd place at the Seifert International Jazz Violin Competition as the first Arab to ever participate, and he was also recently awarded 'Best International Artist' at the 2020 Boston Music Awards. He also directs the Center for Arabic Culture's Youth Orchestra Program in Boston and is a faculty member at Carnegie Hall’s ‘Music Educators Workshop.’ For more, go​ 

Please subscribe to Dr. Ramzi Salti's YouTube Channel at

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Ramzi Salti Moderates Arab America Event Celebrating Literature, Poetry, Art, and Music

Watch video at

In celebration of Arab American Heritage Month (April 2021), Arab America recently held a  monumental event titled "Celebrating Arab American Literature, Poetry, Arts, and Music" featuring 5 panelists whose work has much to inform any discourse that centers on Arab American culture(s), identity and history.  

The lineup featured such writers/performers as Nathalie Handal, Heather Raffo and Dana Dajani in addition to acclaimed Syrian America calligrapher/artist Dr, Mamoun Sakkal and Iraqi-Jordanian violinist Layth Sidiq.  The event was moderated by Stanford Lecurer/Arabology host Dr. Ramzi Salti and was organized by Dr. Amal David and Warren David of Arab America

National Arab American Heritage Month--Celebrating Arab American Literature, Poetry, Arts, and Music from Arab America on Vimeo.

Watch video of event at

You can also watch Dr. Ramzi Salti's Intro below or at


Many to thanks to Arab America for this kind writeup about my participation in the event.  Complete article available at this link.


  • Nathalie Handal, Arab American (Palestinian), award-winning poet, writer, translator, and editor, professor of English and Creative Writing at Columbia University
  • Heather Raffo, Iraqi American, award-winning playwright, and actress whose work has been seen Off-Broadway, off West End, in regional theater, and in film.
  • Dana Dajani, Palestinian American, award-winning, author, poet, and actress who performs spoken-word poetry solo in theatrical style.
  • Dr. Mamoun Sakkal, Syrian American, award-winning calligrapher, artist, and designer of Arabic language typefaces, many of which are widely used as system fonts by Microsoft.
  • Layth Sidiq, Iraqi/Jordanian American, award-winning violinist, composer featured on Latin Grammy-nominated albums, lecturer of Arab music, director, Arab Music Ensemble, Tufts University. Watch my audiovisual interview with Layth at

Watch video of event at

Info about all Arab America events commemorating National Arab American Heritage Month here.

Watch the complete video of this event below or at

National Arab American Heritage Month--Celebrating Arab American Literature, Poetry, Arts, and Music from Arab America on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Ramzi Salti Interviews Tania Saleh about Her Groundbreaking New Album

Watch a

Dr. Ramzi Salti has just interviewed Lebanese singer/songwriter/artist Tania Saleh (by Zoom) about her groundbreaking new album "10 A.D." which was released in March 2021. The interview, now available on Arabology's YouTube Channel, includes these audio-visual/musical excerpts from the album*:

1. The Most Beautiful Love Story أحلى قصة غرام (Listen at 00:00​)
2. You Are Going Astray انت رايح فين (Listen at 09:04​)
3. The Fan المروحة (Listen at 16:46​)
4. Anyone but You إلَا فيك (Listen at 19:43​)
5. The Fortune Teller بصّارة برّاجة (Listen at 24:04​)
6. Caveman مغارة (Listen at 30:09​)
7. I Hate Everything بكره (Listen at 30:31​)
8. We Are in a Fix حالتنا حالة (Listen at 33:21​)

You can watch the interview below or at

  • * All tracks licensed to YouTube by The Orchard Music (on behalf of Kirkelig Kulturverksted)
  • Official YouTube Playlist (ft. all album tracks with English subtitles): Click here
  • Tania Saleh's new album is available on all digital platforms:​Sample graphics from Tania Saleh's new album/YouTube lyric videos​
  • Album booklet available at:​
​Design and illustration: 
Tania Saleh Font usage:​​​ 
Label: Kirkelig Kulturverksted -​​ 
Words and music: Tania Saleh 
Music Producers: Tania Saleh & Øyvind Kristiansen 
Executive Producers: Tania Saleh & Erik Hillestad 
Arranged by: Edouard Torikian & Øyvind Kristiansen 
Recording engineers/Egypt: Michael Beskales & Maher Mallakh 
Recording and mix engineer/Norway: Martin Abrahamsen 
Mastering: Björn Engelmann - Cutting Room, Sweden
Tania Saleh: vocals and backing vocals 
Øyvind Kristiansen: piano and music programming 
Hazem Shahin: special guest on oud 
Hany Bedair: percussions 
Ahmed Kamary: kanoon 
Mohamed Al Ashry: double bass 
Moustafa Kerdany: drums 
Berit Cardas: violin1 
Emilie Lidsheim: violin2 
Einar Kyvik Bauge: viola 
Sverre Kyvik Bauge: cello 

Tania Saleh's album is supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

​Please subscribe to Dr. Ramzi Salti's YouTube Channel at

Thursday, February 25, 2021

JadaL Releases New Rock Cover of Dalida's "Helwa Ya Baladi"

Jordanian Arabic Rock band JadaL, which was formed in 2003 by Composer/Music Producer/Guitarist Mahmoud Radaideh, has just released a new single that revives one of Dalida's most celebrated songs "Helwa Ya Baladi" but with a rock twist. The project/song carries the name of JADALIDA (Jadal+ Dalida) and is available below on YouTube at

The original song, recorded by Dalida back in the 1970's, can be viewed below or at

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Auditions for Betty Shamieh's Play 'As Soon As Impossible' on Feb 23-24 (Stanford TAPS, Online)

FEBRUARY 23 + 24 2021
06:00-09:00 PT | ONLINE


Audition Dates

TUE+WED FEB 23+24 from 6-9PM PT


THU FEB 25 from 6-9PM PT

Performance Dates

THU-SAT July 8 -July 17
Roble Studio Theater

Auditions for As Soon As Impossible will be held via Live Zoom Auditions. Actors will be slotted into 45-min to 1-hour long small-group auditions. To be slotted, actors will need to fill out their audition form here.  If you are unable to attend auditions live via zoom, please email for separate accommodations.

The Director has prepared sides, available for viewing/download on this page under “Resources.” Actors should familiarize themselves with all parts on the sides provided.

Multiple casting of characters is under consideration. In this case, actors would play their character “in rep.” Understudies are necessary and needed in this rehearsal process for all four roles.

Layla, Ramsey’s granddaughter, age 18 [might appear black, brown, or white]

Extroverted, confident, and funny. Quick witted with astute, sharp, and sometimes cutting observations of others. Often uses her intellect to deflect her feelings around not belonging and being scared of the future. Layla enjoys playing pranks, seeking revenge, trying to lose her virginity, and fantasizing about marrying rich.
Drew, Arthur’s grandson, age 18 [any ethnicity]

Drew is an old soul who would much rather hang out with grandpas than people his own age. Gentle, starting at Berkeley in the fall, in the closet. Not quite comfortable in his own skin; booksmart and looking forward to finding more of himself at college
Ramsey, an Arab-American man in his late sixties [might appear black, brown, or white]

Your quintessential professor – gentle, proper, and possibly a little elitist. From the Middle East, teaches Arabic at Berkeley. Just wants his granddaughter to graduate from high school. Sees the generation and cultural gap between him and his granddaughter more and more each day.
Arthur, an American man in his mid-seventies [will be played by Professor Rush Rehm]

Relies on street and business smarts since college wasn’t for him. Owns a construction business and is doing quite well. Set in his ways, but finds excitement in seeing Layla grab life by the horns. May have voted for George W. Bush — but did he vote for Trump?

As Soon As Impossible — A new play by the Roberta Denning Visiting Artist Betty Shamieh — is a comedy that explores the relationship between two older men, Ramsey and Arthur, an Iraqi-American and a WASP. Their annual summer fishing trip is interrupted by the unexpected appearance of Ramsey’s granddaughter, Layla, who claims to be on the run. With Arthur’s suspicions raised, Ramsey may get more than he bargained for when he begins to plan Arthur a surprise birthday party. A play about friendship in a time of war. This play was originally commissioned by Second Stage with support from the Time Warner Commissioning Program. Theaterworks of Silicon Valley will be workshopping this play in preparation for the Stanford production in the first half of 2021 under the direction of Samer Al-Saber and the supervision of New Works director Giovanna Sardelli.
Though the performance will be mounted in the Summer, rehearsals for this production will officially begin in the Spring. Undergraduate actors will need to enroll in TAPS 122P, and agree to a potential in-person Summer term sponsored by a $500/w VPUE Grant for June 21st through September 6th, 2021.

Auditions for As Soon As Impossible will be held via Live Zoom Auditions. Actors will be slotted into 45-min to 1-hour long small-group auditions. To be slotted, actors will need to fill out the audition form available on the audition website.

The Director has prepared sides, available for viewing/download on the audition website under “Resources.” Actors should familiarize themselves with all parts on the sides provided.

Stanford TAPS seeks to build a diverse cast for this production and encourages members of any race, gender identity, and ability to audition. If any accessibility accommodations are needed please email for assistance.

Professor SAMER AL-SABER, Assistant Professor at TAPS, is a director, writer, and scholar. As director, his work was seen in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and the Middle East and includes the Middle Eastern premier of Arthur Milner’s Facts and an Arabic adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. His written work appeared in Alt.Theatre, Performance Paradigm, Critical Survey, Theatre Survey, and other academic and trade venues, including the anthology Stories Under Occupation and Other Plays from Palestine, co-edited with Gary English.

BETTY SHAMIEH (Denning Visiting Artist for Spring 2021) is an Arab-American playwright. Her American premieres include: The Black Eyed (New York Theatre Workshop), Fit for a Queen (Classical Theatre of Harlem), The Strangest (The Semitic Root), Territories (Magic Theatre) and Roar (The New Group). Selected as a New York Times Critics Pick, Roar is widely taught at universities throughout the United States. A graduate of Harvard College and the Yale School of Drama, Shamieh was named a Guggenheim Fellow, UNESCO Young Artist for Intercultural Dialogue, and a Radcliffe Playwriting Fellow. A Mellon Playwright in Residence at the Classical Theatre of Harlem, her works have been translated into seven languages.

Monday, February 22, 2021

All 13 Seasons of Ramzi Salti's Arabology Radio Show Available on Souncloud (101 Episodes)

All 13 seasons of Dr. Ramzi Salti's Arabology podcasts are available on Soundcloud, for a total of 101 episodes.  Listen below or at

Currently in its tenth year, this radio program/podcast began airing on KZSU 90.1 FM in 2011 with the aim of highlighting various cultural productions from/about the Arab world, with a special focus on indie/alternative music.  The show is presented in English with commentary by its host, Stanford Lecturer Dr. Ramzi Salti.

With the beginning of the pandemic back in March 2020, the show has had to change formats and is now available as a series of audio-visual YouTube interviews with groundbreaking Arab musicians, poets, artists and more.  To stay up to date with the latest episodes, please subscribe to Arabology's YouTube Channel at

We are looking forward to resuming the audio podcasts as soon as the radio station reopens this year inshallah.  In the meantime, feel free to peruse/enjoy all previous Arabology podcasts by listening below or going to

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Friday, February 12, 2021

أميرة البيلي والقصيدة التي أبكت مصر(أنا مليت)

أميرة البيلي شاعرة مصرية من مواليد محافظة الاسكندرية بدأت كتابة الشعر من ٢٠١٤ واستمرت في تطوير اسلوبها في الكتابة والالقاء وتميزت في الفترة الاخيرة بأسلوبها الخاص.  وقد نالت قصيدتها "أنا مليت" والتي أبكت مصر بالمركز الاول في مسابقة ابداع الاسكندرية.  يمكنكم مشاهدة الفيديو أدناه أو عبر الرابط التالي:

كلمات القصيدة
تعبت فَ قمت كلمته مانا بنته هيفهمني ويفهم اني محتاجة يكلمني ويسمعني ويفهم اني مخنوقة وحضنه بس هيساعني فَ كلّمته.
الو ؟ هوانت ليه ساكت ؟ ألو فيا حجات ماتت ! الو تعبانة في أسمعني .. 
يرد يقول وايه يعني ؟ ما كل الخلق تعبانة ..وايه يعني ملامحك لسة بهتانة ما عادي كلنا مرضى ..
جرحني بعجزي عن اني ارد القسوة ليه لكن .. انا قلبي مهوش داكن عشان يقسي ويكره حد.. 
مهواش حد فـ ليه جرّح .؟ وزعلني ياريته ما رد ، وليه اتغير بقا بارد وليه شارد بعيد عني 
ما كان بيقول زمان اني مراته وام لعياله وقالي اني هبقاله انا باقية لكن هو الي بيعافر ليخسرني كسرني لكني حبيته.. 
ياريتني ما كُنت حبيته ووهبته القلب واديته حنين عمره ما كان يحلم بحد يحبه يوم قدي .. 
خلاص عدي ودوس علي كام مرة وعيد من تاني في الكرة وعلقني بحبال بايشة مانا عايشة وهبلة وساكتة وبطنش
كأن دموعي شئ عادي كأن فراقنا شئ عادي وهذا الوضع مش عادي فـ اسمعني انا ماشية ..
انا كُنت فـ هواک طايشه ضعيفه وروحها كات بايشه وحالک لسه ميسُرش وحالي معاک مهوش ولابد 
يرد يقولي مش غلطان ومانتيش قادرة تتعاملي مع تعبي ...
انا مليت انا الهبلة اللي شوفتک بيت..وقولت ابويا وحبيبي يا سيدي كفاية والله دانا اتخميت وفكرتك هتبقالي السند والاهل 
مهواش سهل بأن البنت يوم تعشق ولو تعشق بتوهب روحها وحياتها وتتحمل وتتجمل عشان تحلوا في عيونه فـ ميبصش فيوم برا خلاص برا انا استحملت ميت مره وسيادته غاوي يتعبني يا سيدي ما تمشي وتسيبني بـ تتعب قلبي ليه وياک !
بتكدب ليه وتتمارض وتتعصب وبتعارض وتخلق مُشكله تافهه.. 
دة قلب البنت لو شافها بتتكسر عشان واحد بيقفل وقتها بابه ومبيفتحش فـ متجرحش عشان قلبي شال ياما.. 
وبرجع تاني من الأول واعدي كلامه فيطول ويخلق فيا مليون شق وقلبي حقيقي مل الدق 
ألفت الموت وعايش زق ولسة سيادته بيحدف عليا الجرح..
ايجازاً فـ الكلام والشرح خبطني وموجه كان عالي 
يهاجم بس افعالي كأني عدو بيحاربه كأن القسوة كاس شاربه كأن حقيقي حيلي اتهد وروحي اتنسلت من الشد 
وليه الشِّعر فعلا جد بيفتح في الجروح لينا وليه الحزن مالينا  فـ حد يقولي ايه العلة ؟
كأن القلب فيک كافر مالوش ولا دين ولا مله.. 
وهبتك ضلع احلامي عوجت الضلع فـ كسرته .. 
خسرت الكل علشانه واديني كسبت وخسرته ..
كتبت الشعر من تعبي قراه لكنه مهتمش 
وكالعادة بيتغاضي ويتغابي وبيطنش . 
مسكت الفون ، كتبت رسالة من تعبي بقوله فيها اخبارك ومبتسألش مفيش داعي لأعذارك ، انا عارفة اني مش فارقة.. 
مجرد بس بطمن عليک يعني لـ وهله قلبي يوجعني واحس بإنه مش مُهتم كأن دموعي صارت دم نزيف متتالي مبيهداش.. 
انا مادة فـ دستور باش وبضحك بس من برا وروحي لسة مضطرة تبين عكس مافيها وفرحة روحي مش ليها ..
ختاما للي من تعبه خلاص ناوي يغيب ويسيب..
إن يوم قررت تروح لطبيب متجبش علاج.. علشان والله ما هيفيدك هيزيدك من وجعك اكتر. 
وكأنك بتحاول تمنع فكياك ان الدنيا تمطر.. 
ملخص كل ادويتك متتعشمش فـ اسمعني ملخص كل ادويتك متتعشمش بلاش عشمك يزيد يعني.
ده لما تعبت كلمته وقولت بأن انا بنته هيفهمني وأبسط رد كان منه بأنه باعني ووجعني.

Friday, February 5, 2021

10th Anniversary of Dr. Ramzi Salti's Arabology Program Features All Episodes on Soundcloud + YouTube (Click here)

All 13 seasons of Dr. Ramzi Salti's Arabology podcasts are now available on Soundcloud, for a total of 101 episodes. Additionally, all recent audio-visual interviews are now available on YouTube.

Currently in its tenth year, this radio program/podcast began airing on KZSU 90.1 FM in 2011 and features various cultural productions from/about the Arab world (with a special focus on indie/alternative music from the MENA region).  The show is presented in English and hosted by Stanford Lecturer Dr. Ramzi Salti.

With the beginning of the pandemic back in March 2020, the show adopted an audio-visual format featuring YouTube interviews with dozens of groundbreaking Arab musicians, poets, artists and more.  To stay up to date with the latest episodes, please subscribe to Arabology's YouTube Channel at

You can also listen to all previous Arabology podcasts below or by by going to

Below is a YouTube playlist featuring all 12 of Arabology's audio-visual interviews which were conducted by Dr. Ramzi Salti in 2020-21.  Click on the icon in the top right of the video window for the entire playlist or go to this link.


10th Anniversary of Dr. Ramzi Salti's Arabology Program Features All Episodes on Soundcloud + YouTube (Click here)

All 13 seasons of Dr. Ramzi Salti's  Arabology  podcasts  are now available on Soundcloud, for a total of 101 episodes. Additionally, al...