Arabic culture, food to get local showcaseThe Wives of Arabic Ambassadors to Korea will host the first Arab Cultural Night in Seoul on Monday, Nov. 29, in the Crystal Ballroom of the Lotte Hotel.
Because the region that’s home to Scheherazade, belly dancing and baba ganoush has for years been eclipsed by war and religious turmoil, this event has been planned partly in hopes that the international community might rediscover the rich culture of the Middle East. Organized by Saleh Al-Rajhy, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia and Dean of Arabic Ambassadors in Korea, and his wife, Aida, it purports to “promote closeness and understanding between the Arab world and the people of the Republic of Korea.”
Ten Arab nations will participate in the event, represented by the embassies of Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Qatar, Sudan, Libya, Oman, Lebanon and Kuwait, in addition to Saudi Arabia. “There will be displays of traditional clothes, artifacts and handicrafts in addition to an Arabic food display,” Mr. Al-Rajhy reports. The dinner menu will offer fare such as lamb, tabouleh salad and sambusa, pastry shells filled with beef and served at special celebrations such as weddings and Ramadan.
But the highlight of the evening, according to a statement issued by Mr. Al-Rajhy, will be entertainment by traditional performance troupes flown in from Kuwait and Lebanon. The Lebanese delegation of about 40 dancers will showcase the sensual moves of Arab lore, while a Kuwaiti music ensemble is scheduled to feature the diverse folk traditions of the Bedouin people, blending influences from Africa as well as Central and Southeast Asia.
Around 500 guests are expected to attend. Invitations have been sent to members of the diplomatic community in Korea, the Korean and international press, professors of Arabic language and studies at Korean institutions and Korean companies with business relations in the Arab world.
by Kim Sun-Jung