Press Contact: Yvonne French, (202) 707-3652
Public Contact: Near East Section, (202) 707-5421 or 707-5407

September 1, 1995

Seminar on U.S./Arab Cultural Relations at Library of Congress on September 29

The Library of Congress's Near East Section, African and Middle Eastern Division, will sponsor an all-day seminar on "Arab American Cultural Relations-Past, Present, and Future" on September 29 in the Mumford Room in the Library's James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E. The seminar is the last in a series of events marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Near East Section in the Library's African and Middle Eastern Division.

The seminar will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the Mumford Room on the sixth floor of the Madison Building and close with a reception in the Montpelier Room, also on the sixth floor of the Madison Building, and the opening of an exhibition celebrating the anniversary, "Hearts and Minds Without Boundaries: The Near East Experience," in the Mumford Room foyer.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington and George N. Atiyeh, head of the Near East Section, will open the program. Edward Said, professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, will give the keynote address on "A Dialog That Is Yet to Begin."

Panel discussions will be presented at 10 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. The morning panel will be chaired by Ann Lesch, president of the Middle East Studies Association. Panelists and their topics are Roger Allen, professor of Arabic at the University of Pennsylvania, "Arabic Literature in America: Issues of Translation and Reception"; Muhsin Mahdi, Jewett professor of Arab studies at Harvard University, "Near Eastern Studies: Some Future Directions"; and Irfan Shahid, Sultan Qaboos professor for Arabic studies at Georgetown University, "Gibran in the Anglo- Saxon World: The Problem of The Prophet."

During the afternoon session, chaired by Stephen E. James, chief of the Library's Humanities and Social Sciences Division, panelists and their topics will be Professor Halim Barakat of Georgetown University, "Exile and Creativity: The Case of the Arab American (Mahjari) Writers"; Evelyn Early of the United States Information Agency, "American Education in the Arab Countries: From Alif to Ya' into Cyberspace"; and Sadeq al-Azm, chairman of the Department of Philosophy at Damascus University, "Islam and Secular Humanism: The Implications for America."

The Near East Section's anniversary celebration focuses on creating greater awareness of the rich resources at the Library and a better understanding of the varied aspects of Middle Eastern cultures.

For the seminar, as for all Library public programs, interpreting services (American Sign Language, Contact Signing, Oral and Tactile) will be provided on request if placed six business days in advance of the lecture. Call (202) 707-6362, TTY and voice, to make a specific request. For other ADA accommodations, contact the Disability Employment office at (202) 707-9948 TTY and (202) 707-7544 voice.

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PR 95-110
9/1/95
ISSN 0731-3527

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