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Al-Babtain Leiden University Centre for Arabic Culture opens its doors

With the official launch of the Al-Babtain Leiden University Centre for Arabic Culture, Leiden University and the AbdulAziz Saud Al-Babtain Cultural Foundation have opened the door for new opportunities of cultural and academic exchange. Have a look at last week's festivities.

Petra Sijpesteijn opened the ceremony with a speech in Arabic about the rich and long history of Leiden University, especially in the field of Middle Eastern studies, and how the new centre will make this tradition even stronger.  Then the vice-president of the Al-Babtain Cultural Foundation, Abdurrahman Al-Babtain, addressed the packed Main Auditorium, emphasising the importance of intercultural communication and mutual enlightenment.

Finally, Professor Wadad Kadi, the first Al-Babtain visiting professor in Arabic Culture, was invited to say some words about how the fruits of her appointment are reaped by all parties involved, widening their circle of cultural exchange and enriching their research endeavours. 

After these speeches, the Al-Babtain Leiden University Centre for Arabic Culture was officially opened with the unveiling of a bronze plaque.

The ceremony was concluded with several poetry recitals – in Arabic, English and Dutch – of poems of written by AbdulAziz Al-Babtain, a poet himself, and Anne Vegter, the Poet Laureate of the Netherlands from 2013 until 2017.

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