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Journey Through the Middle East Begins at IMCPL

July 29, 2011

A wide-ranging series of programs that celebrate the diversity of Middle Eastern cultures, languages and people begins in August and continues throughout the fall at the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library.

"Journey Through the Middle East" features a variety of free programs for all ages that encompass Middle Eastern history, arts and crafts, dance, music, food and storytelling. The series is presented in cooperation with the International Interfaith Initiative, the Jewish Community Relations Council, Muslim Alliance of Indiana, Indianapolis Art Center, and St. George's Orthodox Christian Church.

"This series provides our community with so much to celebrate," said Charlie Wiles, Director of the International Interfaith Initiative in Indianapolis. "So many of our Western traditions have their roots in the Middle East. As our evening news focuses on the strife and challenges in that region, people don't see all of the wonderful people and organizations working to bring about a positive change in the Middle East," Wiles added.

There'll be presentations on Middle Eastern history through photographs with Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Bill Foley, Middle Eastern cooking demonstrations that highlight the benefits of a Mediterranean diet, an interactive workshop on Middle Eastern folk dancing, and Middle Eastern folktale presentations that also teach the use of body percussion.

Art programs will feature workshops on Egyptian weaving and creating Turkish Isnik tiles. Children can learn to create Afghanistan kites, Israeli dreidels, Turkish amulets, and Saudi Arabian camel bells. They can also learn about Arabic songs and lettering.

"The Library is excited about this opportunity to provide a bridge among the many Middle Eastern cultures," said Jessica Moore, IMCPL's Immigrant Outreach Specialist. "It's important that the various cultures are represented in this series, which will give people a greater understanding and appreciation of the Middle East," she added.

For series program listings, individuals are encouraged to contact their local IMCPL branch or visit the Library's online calendar.