Students will gain language and cultural knowledge through advanced study of Arabic music and literature
The Indiana University Language Workshop will receive two new scholars in 2022: Dr. Saadallah Agha al-Qalaa and Dr. Alaa Al Aswany. Dr. Saadallah Agha al-Qalaa is an internationally known educator and Dr. Alaa Al Aswany is a world-renowned author. They will both teach a special course for advanced students of Arabic during the Indiana University Language Workshop in June and July 2022. In this course, students will improve their Arabic language skills by completing mini courses led by world-renowned content experts. Dr. Saadallah Agha al-Qalaa will teach “Arabic music and its applications in other scientific and artistic fields” and Dr. Alaa Al Aswany will teach “Reading Arab Fiction & Creative Writing in Arabic”.
Every summer, the Language Workshop offers intensive, accelerated study in 29 languages to 350 undergraduate and graduate students from across the country. Many Indiana University students from the Arabic Flagship and other Language Flagship Programs participate in the Language Workshop, immersing themselves in Arabic language and culture; living and working with fellow students and faculty on the Arabic floor of the residence hall, and signing an immersion contract to speak only Arabic for the duration of the program.
“Dr. Saadallah Agha al-Qalaa will be teaching about Arabic music and its applications in different fields of science,” says Iman Alramadan, Hamilton Lugar School Senior Lecturer of Middle Eastern Languages & Cultures and director of the Language Workshop’s summer Arabic program. “The students will be able to discover that the manifestations of scientific, artistic, and aesthetic creativity were governed by a single intellectual umbrella, which still finds its echo in various modern scientific discoveries. There is no doubt that widening the scope of these themes will allow pupils to expand their Arabic vocabulary and improve their academic performance.”
A scholar of both science and art, Dr. Saadallah Agha al-Qalaa has a Ph.D. in civil engineering and studied music at the Conservatory of Aleppo before teaching there. He taught in Syria as a professor of engineering and computer programming at the University of Damascus. He has written a wide array of studies and research in Arabic music, presenting hundreds of hours of music television programs on Syrian television and most Arab television stations. Saadallah Agha al-Qalaa is distinguished, as a musicologist, through his integration of computers and databases into his Arabic music research, in innovative ways. He also developed an Arabic music information system for music analysis. He is currently focused on completing his project, “the second book of Songs” and publishing it in the form of an electronic encyclopedia. In March 2017, he launched his project: Towards a New Arab Music Revival.
Dr. Alaa Al Aswany is an Egyptian writer, novelist, and founding member of the political movement Kefaya.
He is the author of The Yacoubian Building, an ironic depiction of modern Egyptian society, which is widely read in Egypt and throughout the Middle East was long-listed for the International Dublin Literary Award in 2006 and was the best-selling novel in the Arab world for more than five years. The Yacoubian Building was adapted into “the biggest budget movie ever produced in Egypt.” The film is one of a few movies that addresses social taboos and widespread government corruption, such as the rigging of elections. In 2007, The Yacoubian Building was made into a television series of the same name. Many theorists and intellectuals believe that this work played a crucial role in triggering revolutionary sentiments among the Egyptian people.
Dr. Al Aswany has won accolades around the world, including the Bashrahil Prize for Arabic fiction, the Kavafis Award from Greece, and the Premio Grinzane Cavour from Italy. He was just designated one of the greatest 50 authors to have been translated into English in the last 50 years by The London Times. Al Aswany’s name has also been included in the list of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World, issued by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in Amman, Jordan. He was number one on The Foreign Policy Top 100 Global Thinkers list in 2011. In January 2015, the Gingko Library published Democracy is the Answer: Egypt’s Years of Revolution, a collection of newspaper columns written by Al Aswany for Al-Masry Al-Youm between 2011 and 2014
“Dr. Alaswany is going to teach fiction reading and creative writing,” Alramadan says. “Dr. Alaswany’s course will allow students to improve their writing skills while also introducing modern literature’s possibilities and a view on literature’s place in the liberal arts. Criticism from professional writers and outstanding peers will foster students’ development as writers and readers of literature.”
IU’s Language Workshop is one of the oldest and largest summer language programs in the US. It is widely known in the country for its quality and variety. The summer Arabic program is one of Indiana University’s advanced immersion language programs, with Arabic students joining students in summer flagship programs in Chinese and Russian, or in an online study of 26 other languages. Students can apply to participate through May 6, 2022.