Cultural Program

Children’s Program
Age 12 – under


Animals of Syria: A volunteer from John Ball Zoo will bring three representative animals of Syria. She will discuss the habitat, diet, characteristics, predators, and ecology of the animals. Children will be allowed to pet the animals.

Mosaic Boxes: An ancient Syrian craft of finely hand carved wood inlaid with geometric pieces of various woods, ivory, and mother of pearl. The child will make their box out of mosaic pieces of colorful wood, paper, and crystal.

Mamoul: These are cookies filled with dates and nuts then pressed into hand carved wooden molds. This activity would be like playing with play dough – only with edible results.

Henna Tattoos: Henna is a flowering plant used since antiquity to dye skin, hair, fingernails, leather, silk, and wool. It is used as a temporary tattoo on a person’s skin. The patterns are intricate and can represent blessings, luck, joy, and beauty.  Your artist will be Anna Felkers, who has been committed to offering natural, quality henna art since 2004.  To her, henna is a celebration of creativity offering a rich and rewarding art form that represents culture, beauty, and self expression.  The children may choose their tattoos - with parental permission.

Saidnayan Heritage: Events leading to the founding of Saidnaya will be told in the form of a Children’s Story.


Age 13 – Adults


Dance Seminar: Dance in Syria has long been performed by men, women, and children to represent joyous occasions. A women's seminar on Folkloric and Eastern Dance will be taught by Joette Sawall from the West Michigan School of Middle Eastern Dance. She is also a faculty member of Western Michigan University where she teaches in the Gender and Women's Studies Department.  Ms. Sawall is a powerful and exciting performer, a motivational and articulate instructor who will help you capture the essential spirit of the Near Eastern dance. 

Arabic Alphabet: This is an introduction to the Arabic Alphabet. The participants will learn to write the independent form of each letter along with learning the name and sound.    Fairouz Kamal will teach this class.  She has an associates degree in social work and education from Al-quds University.  Ms. Kamal has worked for over 20 years as a teacher and translator for various companies such as Language International, Voices for Health, Associated Language Consultants, Liaison Linguistics, and Interpretor Network.

Derbudka: This is a Middle Eastern drum. The seminar will teach basic derbudka rhythms for folk dancing.

Understanding Arabic Music: The different musical instruments will be reviewed along with an explanation of the distinct format used in Arabic music.