Brazilian and Portuguese scholars of Arabic language and literature and Arab history are getting together late this month. The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and the University of São Paulo (USP) are promoting the 1st Symposium of Portuguese and Brazilian Arabists from August 31 to September 2 at UFRJ.
According to the president of the event organizing committee, João Baptista M. Vargens, the objective is to work on a balance of forecasts about Arab studies in Portuguese.
The symposium should bring together some of the main specialists in Arab studies in the country and they should ask both governments for Arabic to be taught continuously in Brazil and Portugal. The same should be called for regarding the teaching of Portuguese in the Arab nations.
According to Vargens, the studies should not take place from time to time, and be initiatives by diplomats, but must become routine in the countries. This is the first time that USP and UFRJ join forces to promote an Arab studies meeting.
There should be five roundtables. The first should cover the history and politics of Arab studies in Portuguese speaking countries, the second should cover the history and politics of Portuguese teaching in Arab countries, and the fourth should cover trains of thought and the most recent translations from Arabic into Portuguese and vice versa.
The organization of the event is in the hands of the Department of Oriental and Slavic Letters of the Arab Studies Sector at the UFRJ and the Arabic Graduate and Post-Graduate areas at USP.
The speakers will include specialists like Antonio Dias Farinha, from the University of Lisbon, Adriano Jordão, from Camões Institute in Brazil, Paula Caffaro, former Portuguese professor at Damascus University, Arlene Clemesha, from USP, Suely Lima, from UFRJ, writer Alberto Mussa, from Rio de Janeiro, Ibrahim Georges Khalil, from UFRJ, Mamede Jarouche and Michel Sleiman, from USP, Mostafa Zekri, from the New University of Lisbon, Hani Hazime, from UFRJ, and diplomat Paulo Renato Rocha Santos.
According to Vargens, at the meeting, an association of Portuguese and Brazilian Arabists should be created. It should serve to prepare common targets in the development of research and for the joining of efforts for the teaching of Arabic in Portuguese speaking countries and the teaching of Portuguese in the Arab world.
Invited to the event were scholars from São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Paraná and Portugal. Other people interested, however, may also participate. The meeting should also be broadcast on the Internet (see link below)
Promotion of the symposium is also celebrating the 40 years of the creation of the Arab Sector at UFRJ and the 90 years of age of its founder, professor Alphonse Nagib Sabbagh. Vargens, who is a retired professor in the area, and Maria José Sant'Anna, made up the first class of licentiates in Portuguese and Arabic from the institution in Rio de Janeiro. This was over 35 years ago. Today, each class has 15 students. "Interest grows by the day," he said.
In the first day of the symposium, in the evening, the Jockey Club of Brazil should pay homage to the members of the symposium. On September 2nd, the sixth edition of magazine Tiraz, published by USP, should be issued, as should an addition to the Arabic-Portuguese dictionary by Alphonse Nagib Sabbagh.
The addition includes words beginning with the letter Dad, a phoneme that only exists in Arabic. The dictionary, in full, should be published in December this year.
1st Symposium of Portuguese and Brazilian Arabists
Date: August 31st to September 2nd
Site: Moniz de Aragão Room, at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Internet broadcast: http://tv.ufrj.br/fcc