Dr Amal Mohammed Al-Malki, Executive Director of the Translation and Interpreting Institute, part of Hamad bin Khalifa University at Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, was the keynote speaker at the Language and Popular Culture Conference at Baruch College, City University of New York, on 7 and 8 September.
Dr Al-Malki’s speech drew on her recently published book, Arab Women in Arab News: Old Stereotypes and New Media, which addresses familiar Western views of Arab women that are based on an agenda set by the Western media. Her talk highlighted the current standing of Arab women as reflected in the Arab news media, a subject that is examined in her book.
Dr Al-Malki’s talk, while revealing many unheralded achievements of Arab women, also threw light on the rapidly changing perception of the role of Arab women in the Arab societies, citing the Arab media as a catalyst for the change. Adding to the importance of the event was the fact that Dr Al-Malki is the first Arab and Muslim woman to be invited to speak at the conference since it began in 1999.
Following her speech Professor Wayne Finke, the Deputy Chairperson of the Department of Modern Languages and Professor of Spanish and World Literature in English, said, “At Baruch College, several of my students from this summer’s class were excited to attend the talk, and learn about Dr Al-Malki’s views.”
Professor Finke, who has been running the annual conferences since 1999, added, “I had seen her full-page article in The Economist back in August 2010, and was very much impressed. This year, we deliberately scheduled the conference earlier so that she can attend.”
Ms Sohair Soukkary, Professor of Arabic at Baruch College, said she was delighted to be there, and encouraged all her students to attend. Professor Soukkary has written a review of Dr Al-Malki’s book, which is scheduled to appear in the college journal next month.
Dr Al-Malki is renowned for her role in empowering Arab women through her writings, public talks, and university lectures. She stated that she “welcomes every opportunity to contribute to constructing new images of Arab women and breaking the historical western images and stereotypes of us. Arab women are emerging as leaders and have been participating in changing history in Arab societies.”
Dr Al-Malki is an Assistant Teaching Professor of English in Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, where she teaches courses in writing composition, post-colonial literature, theories of translation, and Islamic feminism.
She is the only Qatari faculty at Qatar Foundation’s main campus, and one of its many high-achievers. Her research interests include identity relationships between East and West, media representations of Arab women, and post-colonial literature.
Dr Al-Malki’s articles have been published in numerous journals in the US and the UK, and her book The Writer’s Craft: Teaching Creative Writing in Qatar has been published as a part of Doha, the Arab City of Culture of 2010. Her book Arab Women in Arab News: Old Stereotypes and New Media (2012) is published by Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation.