Queen’s Arab Student’s Association connects Arab students on campus

Association hosts cultural and language events for Arab students 

International and domestic Arab students are looking for their community at Queen’s.
Supplied by QASA

The Queen’s Arab Students’ Association (QASA) is offering a dedicated space for Arab students at Queen’s. 

QASA is a non-religious and non-political group founded this year by Alla Khalaf, Nurs ’24, who has wanted to connect the Arab community at Queen’s since she became a student. The club offers various events for students to educate them and bring them together.  

“When I started the QASA, I was thinking of it as a social-cultural group—just to build the community for [Arab] students at Queen’s, and to connect students and provide them with a space to connect and interact,” Khalaf said in an interview with The Journal. 

This semester, QASA is focused on establishing a team and collaborating with other student organizations. They’re also looking to get ratified by the AMS Clubs Commission and raise money through fundraisers and applying to AMS funding. 

For their first event, QASA is hosting a fully booked Qahwa Night at Mitchell Hall, in conjunction with the Egyptian Students Association at Queen’s. 

The event will feature board games, live Arabic music, snacks, food, coffee, and a traditional Dabke. There will also be dialect challenges. 

For Khalaf, language is a huge part of being Arab. 

“Arab is anybody that speaks the language Arabic. Most Arabs are usually from the Middle East or any other country, but it’s just speaking the language, because I feel like the language is a huge part of our identity. It’s what connects most students most of the time.”

QASA aims to provide students with the opportunity to learn and practice Arabic, as well as teaching traditional dancing and eating Arab food. 

“That’s also a big part, finding [Arab] spaces in Kingston, like Arab restaurants,” Khalaf said.

Khalaf came to Toronto five years ago from Syria and has been heavily involved in organizing events for her community, like the annual Taste of the Middle East festival.

“I’m hoping if we get enough funding to organize festivals that let other Arab and non-Arab students know about our food, music, and culture,” she said.

QASA plans to gear most of their events, which occur monthly, towards Arab students with the goal of providing them with space to build community. However, QASA also hopes to share their culture with non-Arab students at Queen’s. 

“We do strive to establish a community and provide space for [Arab] students to connect and interact, while also promoting our culture, language, and heritage, and adding to the diversity of Queen’s University,” Khalaf said.

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