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Symposia on Major Writers and Poets
of the Middle East and Central Asia


In the Middle East and Central Asia literature is one of the most important cultural endeavors. Major writers are venerated throughout the broad geographic area from Morocco to Kyrgyzstan and have been so over long periods of time.  The writers focused upon by the African and Middle Eastern Division of the Library of Congress in its international symposia have all contributed significantly to the literary cultures of the Middle East and/or Central Asia.  Fundamental to any literature is language and the skillful and artistic use of language. The authors examined in the symposia presented below have been masters of the use of language as a means not only of artistic, but also of social and political communication, and thereby have enhanced the literary culture and discourse of their societies.  These writers have also often written works that define or redefine genres. For example, lyric poetry, autobiography, historical fiction, and the contemporary novel are among the genres affected by the creativity of the authors focused upon in these symposia.



May 14, 2013
Naguib Mahfuz
The Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division, The Library of Congress and The Arab Republic of Egypt Cultural and Educational Affairs Office
presented a symposium on
Naguib Mahfouz, The 1988 Nobel Laureate in Literature

Speakers incuded Roger Allen of the University of Pennsylvania,Valerie Anishchenkova of the University of Maryland, Marius Deeb of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, Ahmed Shams El Din El Hajjaji of Cairo University, William Hutchins of Appalachian State University, Fawzi Tadros of the African and Middle Eastern Division of the Library of Congress
image: Naquib Mahfuz

June 5, 2012
Jurji Zaidan

The Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division,and the Kluge Centerof The Library of Congress, and The Zaidan Foundation presented a symposium.
Jurji Zaidan: His Contributions to Modern Arab Thought and Literature

Scholars from the Arab world, Europe and North America presented papers and discussed the life and work of the noted Arab novelist, journalist and publisher. (Morning session.) Speakers included Jens Hanssen (University of Toronto) Marwa El Shakry (Columbia University), Anne-Laure Dupont, Roger Allen (University of Pennsylvania), Zainab Ben Lagha, William Granara (Harvard University), Michael Cooperson (University of California/Los Angeles), Thomas Philipp (Erlangen University, Germany), George Zaidan (founder of The Zaidan Foundation), and from the Library of Congress, Roberta Shaffer, Jeremy Adamson and Mary Jane Deeb.

View a Webcast of this Program (Morning Session)
View a Webcast of this Program (Afternoon Session)

image: Jurji Zaidan

March 29, 2011
Ameen Rihani
The Near East Section of The African and Middle Eastern Division, The Library of Congress and The Ameen Rihani Institute presented a symposium on the 100th Anniversary of the First Arab-American Novel:
AMEEN RIHANI'S "THE BOOK OF KHALID"

The Library of Congress and the Ameen Rihani Institute presented a symposium on the 100th anniversary of the first Arab-American novel, Ameen Rihani's The Book of Khalid.

View a Webcast of this Program
image: Amin Rihani

March 23, 2010
Taha Husayn
The Near East Section, African and Middle Eastern Division, The Library of Congress and The Egyptian Embassy Cultural and Educational Affairs Office presented a symposium
Taha Husayn's Intellectual Legacy in the Arab World

Egyptian writer and scholar Taha Husayn (1889-1973) devoted his life to intellectual freedom and the introduction of Western learning into his country. His body of work, which focused on Islamic and Arabic history and literature, had a profound effect on scholarship in the Arab and non-Arab world. Scholars lecture on various aspects of Husayn's writings including his autobiography and the themes of Islamiyyat (Islamic Studies) and Arab enlightenment in Husayn's writings. Also discussed is Husayn as a pioneer in the discourse between the old and new Arab world.

View a Webcast of this Program
image: Taha Husayn

December 4, 2008
Chingiz Aitmatov

The Near East Section, African and Middle Eastern Division, The Library of Congress, The Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic to the USA and Canada,
The American Councils for International Education and East European Medical Society, MN presented a Symposium on Chingiz Aitmatov’s Creative Work
View Press Release
image: Chingiz Aitmatov

March 27, 2007
Ali Shir Navoi

The African and Middle Eastern Division of the Library of Congress
and the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan presented an international symposium on: Ali Shir Navoi and His Influence on theCultural Development of Central Asian Nations
View Flyer in Pdf Format

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  June 11, 2013
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