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Motivating creativity and excellence beyond the classroom

LAU students get literary works penned during the Arabic Creative Writing class published.

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From left: Return from Nothing by Jalal Moughraby and Samer Awwad, Let’s Begin Our Journey by Hoda Hilal, Maysaa Bou Ali and Takla al Rahbani.

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Taking a selfie with Rosarita Tawil from LBC SAT’s B Beirut show.

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A packed audience enjoyed the book launch organized at LAU Beirut.

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The students and their professor are the hosts of Orbit Al Yawm TV’s Ouyoun Beirut show.

For the students who took the Arabic Creative Writing course last fall, this academic year ended with a great sense of pride and unexpected achievements.

Right before sitting for their finals, the students had toured TV stations as hosts of shows were curious to hear more from the young scholars who had succeeded in having novels they had written as part of the course published.

“I am still thrilled by this whole experience,” says Hoda Hilal, “I would never have imagined achieving all this during my second year at LAU. The hard work certainly paid off, thanks to our instructor who encouraged and believed in us,” she added.

“Inside each of us are creative capacities, waiting to be discovered, encouraged, and oriented by developing personal skills and unleashing the imagination,” explains Mona Al Shrafi Tayim, who teaches the class.

Tayim’s words resonate even more when one finds out that none of the students in her course are actually majoring in language or literature. Translation students Hilal, Maysaa Bou Ali and Takla al Rahbani penned a children’s tale entitled Let’s Begin Our Journey, while engineering students Jalal Moughraby and Samer Awwad wrote a science fiction story entitled Return from Nothing.

Their publisher Bachar Chebaro of the Arab Scientific Publishers Inc. sang the praises of both the students and Tayim, at a book launch organized by the university and attended by LAU officials, faculty members, parents and supporters.

With a passion for Arabic poetry and literature, LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra was delighted by the students’ accomplishments.

“Arabic is the language of our past, present, and future,” he told the audience. “We are entrusted with a rich literary heritage, and the key to our culture is the Arabic language. It gives me pride to witness our students’ loyalty to their language.”

At the event, Political Science student Abdullah Malaeb and Biology student Zainab Hasan recited works they had produced during the course. Malaeb read a politically charged article. “I was worried at first about writing in Arabic, but I found through this course that the Arabic language is about far more than grammar,” he said, thanking his professor and the university for the opportunity.

Zainab, who recited a poem, also had words of praise for her mentor: “The best curricula may die in the hands of an unqualified instructor, and the worst curricula may be revived in the hands of an open-minded and dedicated instructor.”

The parents’ joy was palpable as they listened to the students’ works and the accolades. For Daad Hilal, mother of Hoda, one of the three students who collaborated on the children’s story, the experience her daughter had was unique. “I know this opportunity will motivate Hoda to continue writing, and for that I am delighted,” she said proudly.


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