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Arab Student Association returns after hiatus; new semester of events in store

Students+from+the+Arabic+Students+Association+perform+a+traditional+Lebanese+dance+during+International+Night+2015%2C+held+Nov.+19+in+the+Memorial+Union.%C2%A0
Max Goldberg/Iowa State Daily
Students from the Arabic Students’ Association perform a traditional Lebanese dance during International Night 2015, held Nov. 19 in the Memorial Union. 

The Arab Student Association (ASA) is an Iowa State student organization that aims to help both Arab and non-Arab students immerse themselves in Arabic culture on campus. The club was recently taken out of a COVID-19-induced hiatus, and members are excited to share some of its events and opportunities with all Iowa State students, Seema Smadi, ASA president and senior studying anthropology, said.

ASA will be hosting an Arabian Nights event this spring, featuring Arabic food, henna, art, fashion, music and dance. Arabian Nights will be held April 11 and is sponsored by the Middle Eastern program in the department of world languages and cultures.

“It’s going to be a showcase and celebration of the diverse cultures in the Arab world,” Smadi said.

Smadi was introduced to ASA by her parents, who were both members during their time at Iowa State in the 1990s and met through the organization.

“I want people to have that community; it’s something I felt that I was missing,” Smadi said. “I grew up in Ames, and there wasn’t that big of a community besides my family. When I got to college, I realized how many Arabs were at Iowa State…and I want people to be able to experience that.”

The goal of the organization, Smadi said, is to teach both Arab and non-Arab students alike the importance of destigmatizing Arabic culture and diversifying campus life. Students on campus can get involved in ASA by attending club meetings which will feature movie nights, volunteering and socialization, according to Smadi.

More about the Arab Student Association including events, updates and club meetings can be found on their Instagram page.

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