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

Listen below or at https://open.spotify.com/episode/2CmXavINMz3QTwXq3lzRS5

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 https://linktr.ee/RaniaKurdi


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

Ramzi Salti: Talks, Lectures, Events

Arabology Podcasts by Ramzi Salti: Scroll ⬇

Arabology Interviews by Ramzi Salti

Arabology YouTube Channel Videos


Jordanian Artist Tamer Al Ahmar Revives Cultural Icons in Unique Ways

Film Discussion + Free Screening of "When Monaliza Smiled" on July 22, 2020 (Stanford by Zoom)

Top 20 (alternative) Arabic Songs of 2014 Spotlighted on Arabology

Hatem Shaheen Talks about the Success of his Jordanian Hair Salons حاتم شاهين يتحدث عن قصة نجاح صالونه المميز في عمان - الاردن

Video Recording: Ramzi Salti in Conversation with Director Fadi Haddad (July 2020)

List of Arabology’s Top 30 Songs of 2020 (Includes YouTube Playlist)

Dr. Ramzi Salti Interviewed about His Teaching Career, Radio Show, and Arabic Music

أميرة البيلي والقصيدة التي أبكت مصر(أنا مليت)

Some of Ramzi Salti's Arabology guests