Students enrolled in an innovative Arabic language studies program at O‘ahu’s Campbell High School came to Shangri La on May 12 for A Taste of Morocco, an event co-hosted by Shangri La, OneWorldNow! and the Pacific Asian Affairs Council. The students toured Shangri La, then enjoyed an afternoon of traditional Moroccan music, dance and food. They were especially interested in the colorful, intricately painted wooden ceilings in Shangri La’s foyer and living room, which were crafted in 1937 by artisans in Rabat, Morocco.
In fact, some of the students will be traveling to Rabat this July for intensive Arabic language and leadership training. While in Morocco, they’ll live with host families, continue their Arabic language studies, learn about Moroccan art and culture and participate in community service projects with Moroccan youth. For many of these students, the summer program will be their first experience abroad, so we were especially pleased to be able to introduce them to some of the elements of traditional Moroccan culture they’ll experience this summer.
Campbell High School junior Nick Troup, a two-year veteran of the Arabic Studies program, spoke at the event. He traveled to Qatar as part of the summer program in 2011, and the experience was life-changing. “Going to Qatar totally smudged out any preconceptions I had at the time. I learned really quickly that people are pretty similar regardless of where you are in the world. There are several things that are universal—for example, music. I connected in ways I didn’t expect,” he said, reflecting on his trip.
The travel–study program is organized by OneWorldNow!, an award-winning global leadership program for underserved high school students. The Seattle-based organization expanded to O‘ahu in 2010 through a partnership with the Pacific Asian Affairs Council and support from Qatar Foundation International. In addition to the program at Campbell High, OneWorldNow! is organizing an intensive two-week (June 17–29, 2012) Arabic language camp for high school students at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.