The Rada and Mutaz Sawaf Center for Arab Comics Studies at the American University of Beirut is an academic body that will act as a hub for the critical study of Comics art from the Arab World. The Center, uniquely positioned in Beirut, aims to promote the research, teaching, and production of this artform, while building a collection of archival and contemporary Arab comics, in order to preserve its heritage, and embrace this medium and its canons as an integral feature of contemporary Arab art, while aspiring to place it on a global stage.
Established in November 2022, and inaugurated in April 2023, the Center was made possible through a $5 million irrevocable trust, generously donated by AUB alumnus and trustee Mutaz Sawaf (BArch ’74) and his wife Rada Sawaf, that will provide perpetual financial support for the center.
As part of its mission, the center will continue to organize the prestigious annual pan-Arab Mahmoud Kahil Award, now in its eighth year, honoring, promoting and showcasing talents from the region to a wide audience, through the launch of a book, an exhibition, and the award ceremony. The Center also organizes an annual thematic Comics symposium, curated exhibitions, course on comics, workshops, lectures, and master classes by leading regional and international comics artists. In addition, the Center aims to publish referential resources, monographs, comics anthologies, literary adaptations, and supporting historical and analytical studies as well as documentation of past and present comics in the Arab world. By producing and encouraging research on regional Comics, the Center aims to offer alternative narratives from and about the region, and to achieve locally relevant and globally significant research. The center additionally aims to facilitate outreach, collaboration and open networks with other centers, cultural institutions, regional Comics platforms, and practicing artists of the Arab world.
By producing and encouraging research on Arab Comics, the Center aims to achieve locally relevant and globally significant research.