Saudi instructor at Harvard organizes art show

Updated 26 March 2013
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Saudi instructor at Harvard organizes art show

At the end of the Islamic Calligraphy course Huda Totonji gave at Harvard, the Saudi instructor organized a show to exhibit the art pieces her students created, recently in Riyadh.
The art show was held at Harvard Gallery from Feb. 27 unitl March 13.
The Harvard Extension School offered the course in collaboration with the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University. Totonji is the first Saudi to lecture at Harvard. “Islamic art is a deep well that contemporary artists can draw from,” said Krystina Friedlander, the program assistant for Prince Alwaleed Program. “Huda Totonji’s range of styles exemplifies this, as do her students. Arabic calligraphy is not easy and takes many years to master. Yet this show suggests that students familiar with the medium can produce stunning calligraphic art.” To Totonji, the entire process was a great experience.
“Finding a suitable gallery to exhibit the artwork, getting the acceptance and the space in time before my travels overseas, collaborating with different departments, working together with students, faculty, staff, and administrators was amazing. All of this was just a blessing.
Selecting the artwork for the show was the easiest part of the process, because all the students created beautiful work of exhibit quality. This is what drove me to have the show in the first place. Getting all the work to the gallery space was the most challenging part of this process. Students who took this class were living in different states and it was hard to reach them to deliver their work in time for the show.
I am glad it all worked out. Most of the work made it to the show.”
The instructor said she would not easily forget some of the comments she received on the show.
“You showed the beauty of Islam through art,” was one of them. Another one was, “I learned a lot just from the talk, even though I studied Arabic calligraphy at Stanford University.” An oft-repeated remark was, “How did they create all this beautiful work within such a short period of time?”
Aliyah Jones, one of the students, said, “I liked everything about the calligraphy course. It was culturally enriching. I learned a lot from the other students in the class. It involved everything from art to religion, culture, science — you name it. This class had it all. I just wish it had been longer.”


Saudi MERS outbreaks killed 23 over four months: WHO

Updated 18 June 2018
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Saudi MERS outbreaks killed 23 over four months: WHO

  • The latest figures take the number of confirmed cases to 2,220 since September 2012, including 1,844 from Saudi Arabia
  • The disease is hard to spot, partly because it often infects people with an underlying condition such as diabetes, renal failure or chronic lung disease

GENEVA: Outbreaks of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) killed 23 people in Saudi Arabia between Jan. 21 and May 31 this year, the World Health Organization said on Monday.
The deaths were among 75 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV) during the period, the WHO said, and take the total number of deaths from the disease to 790 since it was first diagnosed in humans in 2012.
The latest figures take the number of confirmed cases to 2,220 since September 2012, including 1,844 from Saudi Arabia.
One outbreak in February hit a private hospital in Hafer Albatin region, where the patient passed the disease to three health workers. There was another cluster of six cases in a hospital in Riyadh in the same month, although no health care workers were infected.
Two other clusters affected households in Jeddah and Najran.
MERS-CoV is a member of a virus family ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. It appears to have emerged in humans in Saudi Arabia in 2012, although it has been traced in camels, the source of the infection, back to at least 1983.
The disease is hard to spot, partly because it often infects people with an underlying condition such as diabetes, renal failure or chronic lung disease.
But it kills one in three sufferers, and hospital workers are at risk unless extreme caution is taken to identify MERS sufferers early and to protect health care workers from infection via airborne droplets such as from coughs and sneezes.
Susceptible people should avoid contact with suspected cases and with camels, and anyone who has contact with animals should wash their hands before and afterwards, the WHO said. Everyone should avoid drinking raw camel milk or camel urine, or eating undercooked meat.
Three MERS cases have been reported this year outside Saudi Arabia. Oman and the United Arab Emirates each reported a case, while in Malaysia a man fell ill after drinking unpasteurised camel milk during a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.