Veils [De-Coded]: Presentation on Traditional Veils and Their Meanings


Isabella de la Houssaye

Isabella de la Houssaye presented a “Show & Tell” on traditional veils from North Africa to Central Asia at Bramwell House, YWCA Princeton, New Jersey. She discussed how to interpret their meaning and significance to better understand the people and societies who wore them.

Ms. de la Houssaye has worked and travelled the world extensively, and is the owner of Material Culture, a Philadelphia-based importer, retailer and auctioneer of art, antiques and traditional crafts from around the world. She has a passion for cultural studies and has curated a number of exhibits related to traditional cultures in Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Central and South America.

Princeton Middle East Society presentation on veils at Bramwell YWCA Princeton

Tunisia’s Exceptional Experience After the Arab Spring

The Arab Spring that began with Tunisia gave way to a peaceful transition to a functioning democracy – but did Tunisia simply avoid the misfortunes that befell its neighbors, or were there particular features that set the country apart?

Drawing on his recent book, Tunisia: An Arab Anomaly, Professor Safwan Masri examined the factors that contributed to Tunisia’s experience after the Arab Spring, focusing on the country’s history of reformism in the domains of education, religion, and women’s rights.

Safwan M. Masri is Executive Vice President for Global Centers and Global Development at Columbia University and a Senior Research Scholar at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).

The talk was co-sponsored with the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice at Princeton University.

Tatreez & Tea: Embroidery Storytelling in the Palestinian Diaspora

Wafa Ghnaim, author of Tatreez & Tea, presented on the centuries-old folk art of Palestinian tatreez embroidery and on preserving, documenting, and sharing this artistry and its storytelling traditions, so that they are passed to the next generation of Palestinians living in exile.

Tatreez & Tea included both a talk and embroidery workshops, co-sponsored with the Office of Religious Life at Princeton University and the Princeton Middle East Society. All events were free and open to the public.

Contributions of Islamic Civilization to Western Tradition

George Saliba, Professor Emeritus of Arabic and Islamic Science, Columbia University, presented the talk What Does Western Tradition Owe to Islamic Civilization?

Professor Saliba discussed the transmission of the Indo-Arabic numerical and decimal system to Renaissance Europe, which facilitated the ongoing development of mathematics. He also provided many examples of scientific treatises and instruments originating in Islamic civilization which were adopted, used and further developed by European scholars, most of whom freely acknowledged their intellectual debt.

Coronelli detail of celestial globe
Coronelli detail of celestial globe

Dr. Saliba is the author of several publications on the origins and influence of Arabic and Islamic science and the recipient of numerous awards, fellowships and honors.

The event was held at Princeton University and co-sponsored by the Princeton Middle East Society and the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice.

Blood, Treasure and Tears: The Costs of the War on Terror

Neta C. Crawford, Professor, Political Science, Boston University, and Co-Director, Eisenhower Study Group’s Cost of War Project, Watson Institute, Brown University, examined the human, social and political costs of America’s War on Terror during a presentation at Princeton University.

The event was co-sponsored by PMES in collaboration with the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice, Princeton University.

Traditional Palestinian Costume & Embroidery

Hanan Munayyer, President of the Palestinian Heritage Foundation, gave an illustrated talk entitled “Origins of Traditional Palestinian Costume and Embroidery” at the YWCA Princeton.

Ms. Munayyer has lectured extensively on the origins of the textile arts in the Art world and has also designed and curated exhibits of the collection in museums.

She is the author of Traditional Palestinian Costume, which was awarded Book of the Year for 2011 by ForeWord Reviews.

Panel Discussion on the US, Saudi Arabia and the War in Yemen

Presentation with Toby C. Jones and Bushra al-Fusail at Princeton University.

Toby C. Jones is associate professor of history, specializing in the history of the modern Middle East, at Rutgers University, where he teaches courses on the environment in the Middle East, oil and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Bushra al-Fusail is a photographer, filmmaker and human rights advocate focused on Yemen.

The event was co-sponsored by PMES and the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice at Princeton University.