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Forthcoming Events

The MBI Al Jaber Lecture Series

The MBI Al Jaber Foundation will be hosting its third Lecture Series during the 2016 – 2017 academic year, after the completion of two very successful and interesting programmes. The lectures will be held at the MBI Al Jaber Building, London Middle East Institute, SOAS at 5.45pm on the third Thursday of the month from October 2016 to June 2017. As usual, they will cover an exciting range of topics including the media, politics, archaeology, architecture, art and culture of the Middle East and North African region, reflecting the three areas (education, good governance and cultural dialogue) in which the Foundation operates. Our speakers, highly regarded academics, journalists, political commentators and archaeologists, will include Dr Ed Kessler MBE, Founder and Director of the Woolf Institute, and Fellow of St Antony’s College, Cambridge; Adrian Chadwick OBE, Regional Director of the MENA Region at the British Council, and Dr Nelida Fuccaro, Reader in Modern History of the Middle East, SOAS.

Thursday 18th May 2017, 5.45pm

Arabia on a Plate: Cuisine and Commerce in the Persian Gulf and Beyond

Sarah Al-Hamad, Author of ‘Cardamom and Lime: Recipes from the Arabian Gulf’

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A full schedule of forthcoming lectures is available here.

In order to reserve a seat for the lecture, please email as seating is limited.

Please note that the views expressed by the speakers in this lecture series should not be interpreted as views held by the MBI Al Jaber Foundation.

Buildings That Fill My Eye: The Architectural Heritage Of Yemen

Forthcoming Photographic Exhibition,
July 12th 2017 – September 23rd 2017
Brunei Gallery, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London

Curated by Trevor H.J. Marchand, Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology, SOAS

Yemen possesses one of the world’s finest treasure-troves of architecture. Three of its ancient cities – Shibam, Sanā and Zabīd – are UNESCO’s World Heritage sites, and a number of other towns and building complexes around the country await inclusion.

The exhibition and its planned public talks and educational events will explore the astonishing variety of building styles and traditions that have evolved over millennia in a region of diverse terrains, extreme climates and distinctive local histories. Generations of highly-skilled masons, carpenters and craftspeople have deftly employed the materials-to-hand and indigenous technologies to create urban architectural assemblages, gardens and rural landscapes that dialogue harmoniously with the natural contours and conditions of southern Arabia. In turn, the place-making practices of Yemen’s builders have played a significant role in fostering tight-knit communities with a strong sense of pride and distinct cultural identities.

Conflict and resistance, too, have contributed to the history of Yemeni design, town planning, and civil engineering. Yemen’s built environment is characterised by sturdy forts and fortifications; towering houses with windowless ground storeys and heavy timber doors; steeply-terraced mountainsides for cultivation; deep lime-plastered water cisterns; fine arched bridges, and vast networks of stone-paved pathways connecting strategically-perched mountaintop villages. These features have aroused the aesthetic sensibilities of visitors for centuries, but they also speak of a requisite need for domination, defensibility, and self-sufficiency during times of attack or siege.

Regrettably, a sharp escalation in violence in the country since the 1990s has culminated in hydra-headed conflict, involving international adversaries. This has resulted in thousands of civilian fatalities and millions more displaced and on the brink of starvation. The region’s rich cultural heritage, too, has been a casualty of the conflict. The principal objective of this exhibition, therefore, is to remind the public of Yemen’s tremendous cultural creativity and the need for international collaboration to protect it and its people from the destructive forces that have beset the region.



Charity Reg. No. 1093439

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