American University of Beirut



As part of the celebration of AUB's 150th anniversary, the Theater Initiative in collaboration with the Center for Arts and Humanities (Mellon Grant) presented Moonadilat: dramatic re-enactments of historical speeches by May Ziadeh, Anbara Salam, and Wadad Cortas. The project shed light on AUB's history as a leading institution for culture, liberal thought, and empowerment in the region. It also highlighted the important role of facilities such as Assembly Hall or West Hall in advancing the cultural and educational scenes in Lebanon. The performance, conceived and directed by Sahar Assaf, features three celebrated performers: Julia Kassar, Raeda Taha, and Aliya Khalidi. All speeches were read in their original Arabic.

The performance began with Aliya Khalidi enacting the iconic moment that Anbara Salam walked into Assembly Hall, mounted the podium, and moved the veil from over her face to give a two-hour talk titled, “An Oriental Woman in England." However, Salam's “The Arab Girl's Awakening" was chosen over “An Oriental Woman" for its pressing relevance today. Khalidi as Salam then led the audience outside of West Hall where Raeda Taha related as Wadad Cortas the ways in which the Arab girl can be an active member of her community. Finally, led by “Cortas" to Bathish auditorium, the audience saw Julia Kassar inhabit the role of May Ziadeh to deliver “The Writer's Message to the Community." The real Ziadeh delivered the speech in West Hall shortly after her release from the psychiatric hospital, impressing the audience with her words and removing any doubts in her mental faculties. ​


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