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Around Campus

Reaching the Summit

Boston College is the venue this Sunday for a conference that is part of an initiative to promote leadership among the current generation of college students, particularly women.

“The Boston College Women’s Summit: Own It,” which is expected to draw some 250 students, will feature keynote speeches by Carrie Rich, CEO of the Global Good Fund and Kate White, former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan. The event also will include expert panel discussions on issues related to politics, media, business and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), and breakout sessions, lectures and interviews with BC students, faculty, alumni and guests.

Organizers say the summit – first held almost a year ago at Georgetown University, which is hosting Sunday’s event with BC, the University of Notre Dame and Washington University at St. Louis – is intended to “bring together like-minded students looking for ways to gain knowledge and leadership skills to amplify their personal and professional success.” The event also is a continuation of the BC Women’s Summit, which debuted last year.

“Own It” is sponsored by Boston College Women in Business and the Undergraduate Government of Boston College, with support from numerous BC-affiliated organizations. For information on the summit and the “Own It” initiative, see http://bcownit.strikingly.com.

–Office of News & Public Affairs

Getting the Whole Picture

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The “Unity in Diversity” photo exhibit is on display through Tuesday in O’Neill Library’s Level One Gallery.

The richness and diversity of Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) cultures is the subject of a photographic exhibit now on display through March 31 in O’Neill Library’s Level One Gallery.

Providing a glimpse into many cultures in this lively and dynamic region, student organizers believe, is the first step toward breaking down stereotypes often portrayed by western media.

Members of the Arab Students Association (ASA) and Middle East and Islamic Studies Students Association (MEISSA) worked in conjunction with Boston College Libraries to present the exhibit in anticipation of Middle East and North African Heritage Week, which will be marked on campus April 13-17. Its title, “Unity in Diversity: Celebrating Cultural Pluralism in the Middle East and North Africa,” also is the theme of that week.

The exhibit comprises 18 photographs taken by BC students – during study-abroad trips in countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa, including Morocco, Egypt, Kuwait, and others – as well as by alumni. The images on display illustrate the diversity of peoples, geographies, religions, architecture and food.

“Each photo captures the richness and beauty of the MENA region,” said Dana Hadra ’15, a MEISSA executive board member who is a political science major in the Islamic Civilization and Societies program. “One of our goals in creating this exhibit was to highlight diversity in Middle Eastern culture, something that is often overlooked.

 “You will find photographs of deserts, cities and people from all over the MENA region. We hope that in doing this, we can introduce a more positive and complex perspective on the Middle East.”  

“Western media often portrays the Middle East and North Africa as war-torn, destructive and primitive, but the reality is that this region is filled with a rich history, and from this region comes the beginnings of civilization,” said Monica Azmy ’15, a biology major and ASA social activities officer.

“While it is true that the region experiences instability and war, the people remain extremely hospitable, community-oriented and passionate.” She describes the region as “extremely diverse in languages, ethnicities and cultures – hardly the homogenous consolidation of people portrayed by the media.  

“MEISSA and ASA hope that this exhibit humanizes those living in the MENA region, and encourages viewers to continue to explore the richness of their cultures,” Azmy added. “MEISSA and ASA would like to thank exhibits specialist Kevin Tringale for working with us and giving us the opportunity to display our exhibit.”

The groups encourage attendance at events they are organizing for MENA Heritage Week, including a lecture on the topic of diversity, an Arabic calligraphy night, film screening, ASA’s first culture show, and the sixth annual Mediterranean Ball. The organizers note that some academic departments will host an Arabic Culture Night – on April 14 at 8 p.m. in Gasson 100 – that features a student showcase of skits, songs, and other performances.

For information, contact arabstudents.bc@gmail.com

–Rosanne Pellegrini