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Opening of the Albabtain Leiden University Centre for Arabic Culture

With the launch of the Albabtain Leiden University Centre for Arabic Culture, Leiden University and the AbdulAziz Saud Al-Babtain Cultural Foundation will join hands in promoting the understanding of Arabic culture. Have a look at the centre's plans for the years ahead.

Building bridges

Starting this academic year, the Al-Babtain Leiden University Centre for Arabic Culture will officially open its doors. An inauguration ceremony will be held on Wednesday the 10th of October 2018 to celebrate the partnership between Leiden University and the AbdulAziz Saud Al-Babtain Cultural Foundation. The festive ceremony will commence in the Main Auditorium of Leiden University’s Academy Building at 17:15 hrs and will be followed by celebratory drinks at the Faculty Club.

The collaboration endorses both institutions’ mission to build bridges between the Arab world and the rest of the world from a cultural, knowledge and scholarly perspective. Petra Sijpesteijn, professor of Arabic at Leiden University and director of the Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society (LUCIS), will be responsible for the Centre’s activities in Leiden.

Upcoming activities

The Albabtain Leiden University Centre for Arabic Culture will organise various events related to Arabic culture, literature and poetry. Some of the main events are:

  • Visiting Professorship in Arabic Culture
    Every year, Leiden University will accommodate an outstanding foreign researcher to spend time working at Leiden University and to share his or her knowledge and experience with students and scholars alike. In September 2018, Professor Wadad Kadi from the University of Chicago will come to Leiden University as the first AbdulAziz Saud Al-Babtain Cultural Foundation Visiting Professor in Arabic Culture.
  • Symposium on Arabic Culture
    An annual two-day symposium will be organised in Leiden to bring together scholars interested in contemporary as well as historical Arabic societies. This symposium will target master students, PhD candidates, and early career researchers who will participate in interactive workshop sessions. It offers a platform for both junior and senior researchers to exchange ideas and discuss new insights in informal networking sessions.
  • Arabic Literature and Poetry Programme
    This programme will bring to Leiden three renowned Arabic poets to engage with Dutch poets. This exchange of Dutch and Arabic poetry will result in the translation of three Arabic poems to Dutch and three Dutch poems to Arabic. The participating poets will also engage with students and the general public by hosting a masterclass for Leiden University students and by giving a public lecture.

AbdulAziz Saud Al-Babtain Cultural Foundation

The AbdulAziz Saud Al-Babtain Cultural Foundation supports a great number of initiatives in Europe to promote the study of Arabic language and culture. It has cooperated with more than 15 universities to establish chairs for Arabic culture. In Europe, the Foundation has established chairs at various universities in Spain (Barcelona, Cordoba, Granada, Malaga), Italy (Palermo) and the United Kingdom (Oxford). Recently, the AbdulAziz Saud Al-Babtain Chair for Peace has been established, in cooperation with  the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC).

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