This week, R.E.A.C.H. and the Butler International Club will present Butler University’s 23rd annual international dinner, “Impact: The Arab Spring.”
Robert Oprisko, visiting assistant professor of international studies, and Sara Naama, a Lybian exchange student, will be speaking. Additionally, ethnomusicologist and Butler alumna Katya Faris will be performing a belly dance.
The Arab Spring began in December 2010. A wave of uprisings and wars engulfed the Middle East as the people, particularly the youth, protested against repressive governments and lack of opportunity.
Naama, a first-semester senior who transferred to Butler last spring, said this dinner will enlighten people.
“I think it was a really huge impact when (the Arab Spring) first happened,” Naama said. “Libyans were the last people that thought it was going to happen. We had a repressive government and were really pessimistic about it.
“After 42 years of the government with no change, the change is really slow, but nothing will be as bad as it was. There is only room for growth.”
Oprisko’s focus in research is on the processes that link individuals to the international.
Oprisko said he has looked at the differences between rebellion and revolution, specifically in the Arab Spring.
He described the differences as “a culmination of youth crisis that deals with access to success and the bias against the youth.”
“The youth feel that they don’t matter,” Oprisko said, “and are dismissed as a social group of no value or importance. Both the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street (movements) exhibit this.
“They are termed human revolutionary movements because they are generic and universal and appeal to human dignity as opposed to pushing forward an agenda of a specific identity group.”
Naama welcomed the revolution and said the most important topic she discussed with friends and family was people changing their views.
“We want people to be more open-minded and open to new changes to become better people,” Naama said. “When you target the people, you can change anything.”
Naama hopes that by reaching out to people, she and her friends will be able to make the world a more understanding place.
Oprisko said holding this event at Butler is important because it will “recognize every individual’s inclusion within the international system.”
“Butler has a voice and a footprint in the greater world,” Oprisko said.
Faris is a dancer and a dance educator, recently obtaining a master’s degree in ethnomusicology at Indiana University.
According to her website, Faris has been “dancing in the traditions of the Middle East since she was a young girl of 11.” She has danced throughout the U.S. as well as London and Sweden and has upcoming shows in Canada and Dubai.
The dinner will be held Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the Reilly Room. Admission is $10 for students and $18 for faculty, staff and community members.
Attendees can register at https://www.formstack.com/forms/butler-23rd_international_dinner.