Creative Engagement with Arabic Speaking Communities


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Creative Engagement with Arabic Speaking Communities

  1. 1. Session outline1. Introduction2. Think about this…3. Perceptions and images4. Definitions5. History and politics6. Languages7. Religions8. Society and culture9. Migration trends10. Challenges for service providers11. Creative engagement12. Questions and discussion
  2. 2. Introduction1. Workshop born out of frequent confusion and common misconceptions2. Polaron: extensive experience in translation, training and interpreting3. Facilitator: experience in interpreting, broad linguistic and cultural knowledge, experience in Australian context
  3. 3. Think about this…When I’m old:• Halal food• Arabic interpreter• Arabic musicCreative engagement in practice
  4. 4. Perceptions „ All Arabs are Muslims.” „ All Arab Muslims are fanatic and have extremist views.”„ Arabs are unfriendly, lazy and don’t know how to take a joke.” „ Most Arabs are uneducated and illiterate.” „ Arab women are opressed and mistreated by males”.„ Arabs don’t integrate well and don’t contribute to the society.”
  5. 5. Reality „Not all Arabs are Muslims.” „Most Arab Muslims are moderate in their beliefs and views towards other religions and cultures”. „Arabs are hard working and have a great sense of humour.” „Most Arabs are literate and many have university degrees.” „Women have equal rights to education and employment - legislation exists that prohibits violence against women.”“Arabs are social and they like to integrate with the surrounding community. They like to support their community members.”
  6. 6. Arabs in the media
  7. 7. Arabs in the media
  8. 8. Social media
  9. 9. Arabs in their own eyes
  10. 10. Definitions1. What is the Middle East?2. Countries in the Middle East:Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestinian territories. Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen
  11. 11. Middle East
  12. 12. History and politics1. Before Islam2. Islamic Empire (632 – 1517)3. Ottoman colonialism era (1516 – 1918)4. European colonialism era (1916 – 1970)5. Totalitarian regimes6. The Arab spring of December 2010
  13. 13. Languages1. Arabic language• Most widely spoken language in the region• 28 letters = 28 sounds• Synthetic language• Standard Arabic and classical Arabic• Regional varieties of Arabic2. Arabic numbering system3. Other languages of the region: Persian, Turkish, Hebrew, Kurdish, Aramaic
  14. 14. Religions1. Islam• The main religion• Friday• Muslim prayers• Fasting• 3 annual festivals• Haj (pilgrimage to Mecca)• Annual march to Karbala• Taboos: pork, porn, alcohol, non-halal food2. Other religions of the region: Judaism, Christianity, Baha’i, Druze, Yazidi, Mandaeanism, Gnosticism, Shabakism
  15. 15. Society and culture• Conservatism• Collectivism• Masculinity• High-context culture• Hierarchical roles• Polychronic time• Hospitality
  16. 16. Migration trends• Facts and numbers• Wars and hardship• First wave of migration (1870s)• Recent waves• Motivation• Views towards Australia• Maintaining culture and contact with home countries
  17. 17. Challenges for service providers• Communication difficulties• Different socio-cultural systems• Communication across gender• Interpreting and translating• Finding the right interpreter• Illiteracy
  18. 18. Challenges for service providers• Past experiences• Fear of authority• Lack of trust• System differences – mental health, disability, age care, no efficient social security system• Acculturation
  19. 19. Creative engagement• Linking the new arrivals with their existing communities: comfort, confidence, reliability and extra support.• Volunteers or social workers from the same community.• Establishing friendship with the client first.• Use standard Arabic for all translations.• Hiring interpreters with the same language variety.• It is desirable to use an interpreter of the same sex.• Service providers need to adjust their language to meet the client’s comprehension.
  20. 20. Creative engagement• Simplify the message by referring to common elements.• Use culturally appropriate body language.• Raise your awareness of cultural norms, values and beliefs of the community by gaining knowledge.• Notice the client’s cultural norms of interaction.• Face-to-face interaction is more effective.• Reduce the impact of past experiences through engaging clients in some interesting activities.• Avoid authoritative aspects: voice tone, body language.
  21. 21. Creative engagement• Comparative approach to raise your client’s awareness of the differences in the social services in Australia.• Be patient with clients. Try to reassure them and address their concerns.
  22. 22. Questions and comments
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