American University of Beirut


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The following list of conferences and academic conventions directly involved the Theater ​​​Initiative in areas such as content contribution, sponsorship, and organization. Conferences are a way in which we hope to build intellectual rapport at an international level, and contribute to critical discussions on theater, drama, and performance.

Towards Arab Dramaturgies

September 2018

The City University of New York (CUNY) hosted this symposium as part of the AUB-CUNY exchange partnership that encourages cross-cultural academic interactions. The event took place over a period of two days and welcomed scholars from the Arab World to discuss the state of contemporary Arab dramaturgies, caught between tradition and innovation, and developing under complicated geopolitical circumstances. The symposium made an inquiry into the ways in which theater can grow and thrive within the Arab region. The program included research papers, artist talks, and roundtable events that allowed the Theater Initiative to share the evolution of its theater approach within the context of Lebanon. The conference was organized by Marvin Carlson, Peter Eckersall, Frank Hetschker, and Salma S. Zohdi, with additional support from Sahar Assaf and Robert Myers.​

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Latin America, Al-Andalus and the Arab World

April 2018

This three-day international conference investigated linguistic, literary, and dramatic continuities linking the Arab World, Arab-influenced Spain, and Latin America to each other. Eighteen academics from ten universities participated in the event, including representatives from CUNY acting upon the Memorandum of Understanding with AU​B and AUB's Theater Initiative. Among the panelists were Marvin Carlson (CUNY), Christina Civantos (University of Miami), Emilio González Ferrín (University of Seville), and Luce López Baralt (University of Puerto Rico). Talks were organized under panel topics such as “Al-Andalus and Arab and Western Literature" and “New Arab Worlds after Al-Andalus." The event began with an Arabic-language adaptation of Federico Garcia Lorca's Blood Wedding in the Lebanese village of Hammana.


Darwin, AUB and the Arab World

September 2016

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of AUB's foundation, this international conference zoomed in on Darwin's influence in areas of education ranging from the sciences to the liberal arts, and examined the reception of concepts such as evolutionary biology in the Middle East. AUB entered ​the conversation as an institution of higher education, situated within the Middle East, and established circa the time that Darwin was publishing his revolutionary scientific findings. The conference lasted two days and included a panel dedicated to the performance arts, “Darwin in Theater and on Film," led by speakers Tarek El Dewiri and Youssef Esmail of the Egyptian National Theatre, and Sahar Assaf of AUB. The event began with a staged reading of Timberlake Wertenbaker's After Darwin. It was organized by Robert Myers, Arne Dietrich, and​ Sahar Assaf with the support of the Center for Arts and Humanities (CAH), CASAR, the Department of English, and the Theater Initiative.


On Wannous

April 2015

The conference served as a follow-up to the performance of Wannous's play, The Rape, and explored various aspects of Wannous's life and work. It consisted of two panels, which brought together scholars, writers, and theater artists from Lebanon, Syria, Germany, and the U.S. The conference ended with the screening of There Are So Many Things Still to Say, a film about Wannous directed by Omar Amiralay and shot shortly before the playwright's death. It was organized by Sahar Assaf, Sonja Mejcher-Atassi, and Robert Myers, and sponsored by the Department of English, the Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies (CAMES), and CASAR.


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