The Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies supports events that increase awareness of the history and cultures of the Middle East and Muslim civilizations, and values diverse perspectives that promote dialogue and understanding. Events listed here originate from a variety of campus units and community organizations. The listing of an event does not constitute endorsement of or agreement with the views presented therein.

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October 2018

Performance: Amir El Saffar and Hamid Al-Saadi – Building Bridges: Muslims in America

October 4, 2018 | 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Duke University NC United States + Google Map

  Amir ElSaffar is one of the United States’ most inventive musicians. With his Two Rivers Ensemble, he plays trumpet, layering Middle Eastern melodies with jazz improvisation in search of tarab, or musical ecstasy. The son of an Iraqi immigrant father and an American mother, ElSaffar is also an ardent advocate for Iraqi maqam, a centuries-old musical repertoire built on yearning melismatic melodies, shimmering microtonal modes, and entrancing cyclical rhythms. In his Iraqi maqam ensemble, Safaafir, the only such group…

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Performance: Oddisee – Building Bridges: Muslims in America

October 18, 2018 | 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Motorco Music Hall, 723 Rigsbee Ave
Durham, NC United States
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  Amir Mohamed el Khalifa, or the incisive rapper and elegant producer Oddisee, grew up in two worlds. The son of an African-American mother and a Sudanese father, he spent his weeks in affluent Maryland suburbs, and his weekends in tougher D.C. neighborhoods. To his Sudanese family, he was the exotic western cousin, raised on rap and big-city trappings; to his Washington family, he was the suburban Muslim nerd who watched too much news. That tension has made Oddisee a modern…

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November 2018

Performance: Bassem Youssef: “The Joke is Mightier Than the Sword”

November 7, 2018 | 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Memorial Hall, 114 East Cameron Avenue
Chapel Hill , 27599 United States
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  Dubbed the Jon Stewart of the Arab world, cardiothoracic surgeon Bassem Youssef created the first political satire show in the Middle East, earning millions of viewers every week. Now residing in California, he shares his wry observations on his own story, the current state of American politics, and how propaganda lays the foundation for dictatorial regimes. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit here.   Sponsored by Carolina Performing Arts.   Wednesday, November 7 | 7:30 p.m.…

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March 2019

Performance: Brother Ali – Building Bridges: Muslims in America

March 7, 2019 | 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Motorco Music Hall, 723 Rigsbee Ave
Durham, NC United States
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  From his complicated backstory to his compelling rhymes, Brother Ali is a rapper without a rival. Albino and legally blind, he struggled to find peers in the midwestern states where he spent his youth. But in a pivotal moment at age eight, he found rap, which gave him an outlet and, through the references his favorite rappers made, led him to Islam. For twenty years, he has funneled these elements of his distinctive identity into increasingly profound verses, pairing…

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April 2019

Performance: Habibi – Building Bridges: Muslims in America

April 4, 2019 | 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Downtown Durham Durham, United States + Google Map

  Garage rock delivered in Farsi? That’s what Brooklyn band Habibi plays on Cardamom Garden, its delightful 2018 album. At the start of its finale, singer Rahill Jamalifard launches into a pepped-up rendition of “Green Fuz,” a garage-rock classic, with a bold proclamation rendered in Farsi: “Here we come, and we’re coming fast.” It’s a fitting declaration for a group committed to such surprising unions of cultures and styles. An unlikely juxtaposition of infectious surf pop and riff-heavy punk, imbued…

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