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FOSTERS OF THE FORUM

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Maritana Larbi

Director

In my professional practice, I constantly face xenophobic attitudes and stereotypes that arise from using the term "Islamic culture". In contrast, the scientific world uses this term including secular aspects, crossing the barriers of ethnicity, geography, or time. Religious influence to the development of this civilization, like for any other European culture is undeniable. However this forum will attempt to show a different image of the Arab culture than we are accustomed to see, which is far from religious and political topics, but close to aesthetics art and culture.

 

Briefly about me:

In 2006 I graduated from educology, sociology and Islamic studies at the University of Bonn, in Germany and in 2008, I completed the Comparative Asian studies, mostly focusing on Arabic philology and Islamic art. Currently, I am writing a doctoral thesis at the University of Bonn, which topic is Islamic ethics. Since 2010, I am the main tutor of the Middle East studies program at the Institute of Asian and Transcultural Studies at Vilnius University. I teach the main subjects, related to the Arab studies program: Arabic philology, classical Arabic, history of Islamic culture, pre-Islamic Arabia, Islamic law, Quranic studies, Islamic art, and historical Islamic anthropology. Besides that, I give lectures in various institutions and actively participate in different projects. I am a member of the Lithuanian Society for the Study of Religions and an expert of the Anna Lindh Foundation Network in Lithuania.

Gintarė Sereikaitė

Project manager

Nowadays, a liberal and modern state stands on the foundation of strong international collaboration ties. I believe that for Lithuania, as a developing country, it is a must to cooperate with Arab states. However, it is important to realize that for development, which transcends the borders of culturally close region, a literal translation is not enough – it is a must to have deeper cultural understanding. Unfortunately, during my study years, it became clear that negative and, sometimes, unreliable information about the Arab world is firmly rooted in various media sources. These factors motivated me to help people understand that we do not have to fear what is alien. By learning, we will understand that diversity does not separate nations, but opens new perspectives instead.

Briefly about me:

In 2017 I was graduated from Vilnius University and received a diploma of Asian studies. After Bachelor studies, I got interested in potential of Arab studies in Lithuania and started the Masters Programme of Modern Asia. In the same year, I started my Ph.D. studies of Ethnology at Vilnius University where I deepening my knowledge and making researches about cultural misunderstandings and myths toward Arabs. In 2019 I started to teach Arabic language and history.

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Milda Petkauskaitė

Project manager

In my opinion our world lacks of altruistic behavior, which is foundation of united and harmonious life in a modern society. Therefore, I want to be the change I want to see in the world. At work I am inspired by new challenges, people I meet, ability to learn and achieve great results. 

In Arabic culture forum I seek to help you to perceive and discover the face of Middle Eastern culture from another point of view. Because this culture is rich in heritage, diverse, culturally colorful and peaceful. My perspective unites art, science and everyday life experience of people.

 

Briefly about me:

In 2014, I received a diploma of Asian studies at the Institute of Asian and Transcultural studies, Vilnius University and in 2016 I got a master degree of Modern Asian studies. During the study years I lived and studied in Morocco and Iran, where I got acquainted with rich Middle Eastern culture. At that time, I discovered my passion to islamic art and architecture, which I taught at the Vilnius University later. I did an internship in Wellcome Trust Library in London, where I had an opportunity to have a look at the ancient Arabic manuscripts. 

During the last few years I spent slowly travelling the world, exploring and expanding worldview while learning new languages and improving other skills. While travelling, I got interested in tourism and became a professional tour guide. 

Besides travelling, guiding and working as a project manager at the forum, I teach arabic, write about traditional and modern arabic culture, volunteer, scuba dive and spend time outdoors with family and friends. I constantly raise new challenges for myself and try to make more conscious, sustainable and altruistic choices.

Dr. Feisal Al Shamkh

Manager of Relations with Arabic countries

Humanity needs the efforts of good and loyal people to be joined to face globalization that tries to minimize humanitarian aspects, remove peculiarities, and to have the whole world, with its different cultures, under one authority. It adopts an authoritarian concept that leads to dependency and more promotion of consumption culture regardless of conformity with religions and beliefs. It does not take into consideration traditions or values of any people or community. This is due to the weak cultural structures of these religions and weak adherence by their believers and followers. Therefore, all sincere efforts should be lined up to face the threats of globalization and to preserve the cultural identities of peoples and nations that are the source of our pride. Humanitarian basics, morals and values of all nations are almost the same.Therefore, we came up with the idea of establishing this cultural forum to bring nations and cultures together on humanitarian basics and values.

 

Briefly about me:

A Former judge and university lecturer. One of the citizens of the African continent, living in North Africa, more specifically, in Libya. In 1991, I graduated from the Faculty of Law, University of Tripoli. In 1995, I graduated from the Higher Judiciary Institute. In 2006, I obtained M.Sc. Degree in law, and in 2008, I obtained Ph.D. Degree in Comparative International Law. I worked for the Libyan judiciary system. After the events Libya went through, I moved to work as a lecturer of law in the Mediterranean University, Istanbul, Turkey, and a lecturer for law, Arabic culture and language in the Oriental College, Vilnius University, Lithuania.

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Večeslav Konovalov

Project manager

I strongly believe that any international economic relations cannot progress without the knowledge of a certain culture, because only through a cultural dialogue we can start speaking a common business language. In the present global world international communication and cognition of a language, mentality and moral are extremely important in the context of intensive movement of goods, labor and capital. This need increased together with the need of an international business development with the arabs from the Middle East. Besides that, the common exchange projects with the youths gives a chance for the young people to travel, search, discover and challenge yourself.

Shortly about myself:

In 1990 I graduated Cheliabinsk state university and in 2007 – Moscow business university were I increased my knowledge in international business. Recently, I have focused on opportunities to develop business with the Arab countries. During the 1996-1998 year I was enrolled in the president and manager position of a Lithuanian women’s footbal team “Cristine”. Therefore, I am interested not only in the business, but also to the work with a youth, because education of a young people is indispensable for a successful future.

Rebaz Rashid

Coordinator of affairs of Arabic Community in Lithuania

I grew up in Iraq, where I was surrounded by cultural diversity and different people’s lifestyles. From an early age, I realized the importance of intercultural cooperation in living in a cohesive and diverse society. This understanding was further confirmed when I came to live in Lithuania, where I encountered with European culture. My experience has shown that in order to understand a person from another culture, one must first get to know him, and it is not possible without knowing his culture, history and worldview. Thus, in the Arab Culture Forum, I seek to contribute to the promotion of mutual knowledge, which can be achieved through common projects, education and other cultural activities.

Briefly about me:

In 2008, I graduated in Arabic language and literature studies in Suleiman University, Iraq. For 7 years I worked as a teacher of Arabic language and literature, teaching primary and secondary school students. I currently live and work in Lithuania, where I own and run Yala Yala restaurant. I believe that food is an important part of every culture, uniting even very different people at the same table, so I try to acquaint lithuanians with the peculiarities and tastes of Arabic cuisine.

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Huzaim Al Manei

Specialist of Arabic Language

Safija Larbi

Graphic Designer

I am surrounded by art and culture at a 360 degree angle. Born in Germany, I grew up in a family surrounded by art and culture. From an early age I felt a strong craving for art. I am studying music production at Vytautas Magnus University. I participate in various creative projects. Also, I am engaged in poetry and graphic design.

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Our vision

Arabic Culture Forum is an open platform for cultural, economic and social cooperation between Lithuania and the Middle East, promoting mutual learning and peaceful dialogue.

Our goal is to change viewing perspectives and show a different face of the Middle East - aesthetic, colorful, peaceful and greatly unique.

Our competencies and activities cover public, cultural and social projects, consultations on economic cooperation and Baltic market analysis, literary and non-literary translations, educational programs and creative workshops for students and the general public, organization of exhibitions, concerts and other events of Arab artists, tourism development, Arabic language training.

Our team is comprised of professional and qualified Middle Eastern specialists who have long-term experience in teaching, developing a cultural-social projects, translating and consulting. We have accomplished a great number of international projects that unified artists, writers, scientists and diplomats from Lithuania and the Arab world. Owing to our projects, training and initiatives, Lithuania's relations with various Arab countries are closer than ever before, and the long-lasting friendships and partnerships established between various people, institutions and organizations have helped to lay a solid foundation for further cooperation.