Last week, the Society completed its first ever MENA Taster Day. The pilot scheme for young people aimed to pique an early interest in Oman among students planning to apply for Arabic/Middle Eastern Studies (and/or related disciplines) at University. We were delighted to host a group of Sixth Form students from schools all over London (and two from Brighton!) for the day.
The students joined us at our offices on Sackville Street from 11am-3pm on Monday 31st July. The morning started with an introduction to the Society by our Director, Neil Coxon and an Arabic Taster session by Mohammed Abu Amara, who runs our Arabic Language classes. The next session was a Dissertation Presentation by our current intern, Asma Ibrahim who read Asian and Middle Eastern Studies for her BA. Her final year dissertation focused on Taiwan-Saudi Relations. After lunch, we held a documentary screening to provide an introduction to Omani history, featuring Society Trustee Stuart Laing. We finished the day with a session on a career in diplomacy, delivered by our very own Trustee and Vice Chairman, Chris Breeze.
The students also enjoyed hearing about our Schemes for young people through Communications Manager, Rosa Braune, and watched a few video clips from our current Arabic Language Scheme students in situ in Oman.
At the end of the day, we received some great feedback from the students:
"Insightful and inspiring across all activities...a fantastic introduction."
"Very interesting and eye-opening,"
"Extremely helpful, great insight into Oman and Arabic, and possible career paths."
This programme was proposed and organised by our current intern, Asma, who was keen to support the Society's engagement with young people. If you're interested in joining the Society as a future intern, we are currently accepting applications.
For any aspiring Arabists, we hope to replicate the scheme on a larger scale next summer!