Radio Show an Oasis for Arabic Speakers
Lily Samuels ’11
in the Smith community who speak or are learning Arabic,
and others who might crave the beats and news from the Arab
world, a new radio show provides a weekly sanctuary.
at the mic in the WOZQ studio.
a show produced and hosted by Abdelkader Berrahmoun, a teaching
fellow and Arabic language instructor at Smith, airs on Smith
radio station WOZQ 91.9 FM every Wednesday, from 5 to 6 p.m.
The show features music from
North Africa and the Middle East, as well as contemporary
Arabic fusion music. Berrahmoun also broadcasts interviews
in Arabic on the politics of North Africa, for example, Arabic
art and photography, the impact of climate change on North
Africa, women's issues, and sensitive topics such as the
“The message of Oasis is to build a bridge of understanding between Arabic and
non-Arabic cultures and language groups,” explains Berrahmoun. “It’s imperative
in the contemporary political climate to promote tolerance, and to counter common
stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims. I hope that Oasis serves as a vehicle for
Oasis first hit the
airwaves in late September. The idea was spawned several
years ago, when Barrahmoun, was inspired
by an article on the use of radio by high school students
in Italian and French languages courses.
“I decided that producing an
Arabic radio show at Smith College would be a meaningful
and rich learning experience for my students at the advanced
Arabic level,” says
Berrahmoun, who is from Algeria.
Berrahmoun has incorporated
his radio show into the curricula of his courses Elementary
Arabic 100Y and Advanced Arabic 300, as well as two independent
studies conducted in Arabic. “I require my students in the Advanced Arabic class
to prepare and present a show in Arabic,” he says. “The radio show project gives
them the opportunity to research, write, speak and think in Arabic. For example,
a group of students recently interviewed a guest on air. [It] reinforces students’ understanding
of Arabic through real-life applications.”
Berrahmoun has a clear goal
for the radio show’s future. “I would like to attract
students to listen to the show, awaken their interest in learning more about
Arab cultures, and the Arabic language,” he envisions. “I want Oasis to be a
medium for introducing Arabic cultures and music to the public and the community.
I think of the show as a forum to tackle issues about the Arab/Middle Eastern
world that are rarely discussed in the mainstream media, and give voice to different
social, political and cultural views.”