Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Arab Spring Series: Libyan Rebels and Healers

If you were to name the biggest foreign policy stories of 2011, the Arab Spring would top the list. The dominant story of the year began in Tunisia in December 2010 and resulted in government overthrow in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. Civil uprisings have taken place in Bahrain, Syria, and Yemen, and many more countries have experienced protests on varying levels. The geo-political implications of these events have drawn global attention, as has the role of social media in furthering social change.

Continuing our three-part in-depth exploration of the Arab Spring, the World Affairs Council is proud to present a panel of speakers who returned to Libya one year ago to participate in humanitarian efforts and to support the uprising against Gaddafi.

On February 29, 7-8:30pm, at the Swedish Cultural Center, Three Crowns Room, 1920 Dexter Av N, Seattle-area country nationals from Libya will share their stories from the front lines, where they took up arms and joined the rebel forces, or used their knowledge and skills to heal the wounds of war. Tickets are Member: $10, Non-member: $15, and Student: $10. Panelists:

Suehil Abdurrahman was born and raised in the Northwest by Libyan parents. He is currently a student at Eastern Washington University, majoring in education with a minor in history. In the beginning stages of the revolution in Libya, Suehil contributed to the effort through social networking and media outlets to get the spotlight on Libya. Soon after a no-fly zone was enacted over the skies of Libya, he made his way to Tunisia and helped with the humanitarian crisis that was developing on the southern Tunisian/western Libyan border, at the same time acting as a supply officer and logistician with the rebels in the western mountains. After arriving in Tripoli, Suehil was recruited to a squad investigating and arresting former regime officials.

Yousef Elberkawi was born in Benghazi, the city where the revolution began. He left home in 1981 to finish school in England, got a taste of freedom, and spoke out against Muammar Gaddafi. As a result, he was exiled from Libya for the next 30 years. During that time, he was a part of the opposition against Gaddafi and had been waiting for the revolution his entire life. He studied aircraft engineering, which brought him to Seattle. He joined HOPE in the US and did fundraising work to raise money for supplies like medical equipment to send back to Libya. He continued that work once the revolution began, but after 1 1/2 months he went back to Libya and saw his family for the first time in 30 years. He spent five weeks in Libya and visited the front while he was there. He now owns his own business and is married with two children.

Dr. Omar Reda is a Libyan-born psychiatrist who rushed to the aid of the opposition as an emergency physician and trauma counselor for overwhelmed medical staff and victims. He is currently Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Oregon Health and Sciences University. He earned his MD at Al-Arab Medical University in Libya and a Masters Certificate in Global Mental Health from Harvard Medical School. Since then, he has become a highly sought-after speaker and educator on the psychosocial impact of war in Libya and is an expert on psychoanalysis for disaster victims.

Mazin Ramadan worked as Deputy at the Oil and Finance Ministry for the National Transitional Council (NTC) in Libya. He went on to build and manage the Temporary Finance Mechanism (TFM) until December 2011. The TFM was set up by the international community to direct funds to support the humanitarian needs of the people of Libya, and at its peak held over a billion dollars which initiated and implemented projects vital to the socio-economic wellbeing of Libyans during the revolution and post-liberation. Prior to the revolution, Ramadan earned his Master's degree in Computer Science from Clemson University and founded several Seattle technology start-up companies.

Jamal Tarhuni was born in Tripoli, Libya and now resides in Oregon. He has made three trips to Libya since the uprising in Libya began in February 2011, distributing humanitarian aid in many Libyan cities during the war and after the country’s liberation. He is the leader of the Libyan Community Association of Oregon, which helped to raise tens of thousands of dollars for aid groups.

The question and answer session will be moderated by Mohamed A. El-Sharkawi. He is a professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington. Sharkawi, originally from Egypt, is extensively published and accredited in the academic and engineering community. He is a long time resident of Washington and highly active in the Muslim community of Seattle. This is the second event of a three-part series exploring the Arab Spring in depth.

The World Affairs Council’s Global Classroom will organize concurrent teacher professional development events with this series in support of teachers better able to educate their students about current global issues. The World Affairs Council is a non-partisan, non-profit organization which provides a forum for speakers representing diverse points of view. The opinions expressed by any and all speakers, presenters and/or guests at Council events are those of the speaker alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the World Affairs Council members, staff, Board of Trustees, or Advisory Council.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Harry Potter birthday party

I am very lucky that my beautiful daughter found Harry Potter late in his fame. The intention being that everyone out there in our vast universe has already done all my research for activties when she begged and pleaded for a HP party. To be honest she's been begging and pleading for a little while now, but I've managed to avoid this theme. For purely selfish reasons of course. The main one being I'm really not a HP fan and the other being I knew it would be a major undertaking it.
So, since she is the first of my children to turn a double digit and frankly I can't keep saying no to that face, this was the weekend for the big shindig.

We decided to host 7 girls for a sleepover, so we could have a total of 8 girls, two in each house.

Girls were greeted at the door with the 9 ¾ sign to catch the Hogwarts express.

Once inside there was a Happy Birthday sign we had made out of the Gryffindor colours with Hedwig, naturally.

While we were waiting for everyone to come, the girls worked on a Harry Potter Crossword puzzle that I had created for them.

When a majority of the guests arrived, they each got an invisibility cloak to wear for the rest of the night. I had made these cloaks the night before (NOT recommended) by just getting a yard of fabric, cutting off 10 inches from one end to turn that into a hood and then sewing it back on the full pieces. To be honest what took the longest was trimming everything.

Then they sat in the sorting chair (with the sorting hat near by) and picked pins out of the top hat to determine what house they would be a part of for the rest of the night. The birthday girl got first pick and of course got Gryffindor.

I set up two working tables and a display table that housed all our supplies for the crafts. This display table was looked over by the Monster Book, who keep an eye on everything (and everyone).

Our first craft we worked on was creating bookmarks in the shape of House Ties. They used crayons to colour their ties and then we put them in the Xyron laminating machine.

I combined the second and third craft, since they both required gold paint. The girls made Gringotts Galleons and Snitches. For the Galleons, the girls painted wood discs that I had gotten at Joann in a gold colour and then used black ink and letter stamps to write out the word Galleon across the top.

The Snitches were a bit more complicated to create. First the girls painted their paper mache balls gold. Then they bent some copper wire into wing shapes, leaving a tail behind, and covered it with yellow paper. I drilled two holes in the side of each ball and the tails were poked into the balls.

Our fourth craft was to create Flying Key necklaces. I had talked a local locksmith into giving me 8 keys to use. The girls picked a feather, glued it on the back of the keys and flipped them over to glue gems to the front side. I then measured out leather cords for them and tied the keys on the cord so they can wear their necklaces.

While they were busy creating their keys, I took the girls one by one into the kitchen to create their potions jars. I had gotten some halal jello and mixed it before hand. When it was almost ready to set, I had each girl put some into her jar and fill it with halal marshmellows, grapes and oranges. We put these in the fridge so that they could set.

Our last craft for the night was creating wands decorated in their house colours. I had gotten dowels from Joann, which they coloured with crayons. They had a lot of fun deciding on the designs they wanted to put on them.
We then played a game of Harry Potter bingo, which I must say was probably the highlight of the whole party. I created the sheets myself and the chips were parts from the pins I sell. We played regular bingo, blackout and of course creating the letter L, in honor of the birthday girl. Each time someone won, they got to pick a prize from the prize box of goodies.  Wait, maybe the box of goodies was the highlight since I had no limit on the times they could win?

It was time for a break, so we stopped for dinner and cupcakes. For dinner, I set up the table with fancy placemats and lots of candles, to mimic the Great Hall. While they were laughing and giggling through dinner, this was my chance to clean up the green jello mess in the kitchen.

Since they were a bit wired from the cupcakes, I sent them upstairs for a game of Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit. They divided up into houses and Hufflepuff house took the grand prize (helping themselves to even more toys from the box of goodies).

After the game, everyone settled in their sleeping bags, blankets and pajamas to watch the first Harry Potter movie. Since so many of them had watched it before, they were cracking each other up saying all the lines.

When the movie ended, we tried to turn off the lights in hope of quieting them down, but alas, they were too excited to sleep and I’m sure I passed out before them. I heard later that there had also been a pillow fight, but it must have been a quiet one as I didn't hear it at all. The next morning, they were up at 6:30am, full of energy and talking and laughing to see if they can wake each other up.

We had a breakfast of pancakes, egg sandwiches and turkey bacon. And then they played another round of bingo and then took their wands outside to cast spells (I think it worked too well since it started to snow!). Once inside, they ate their potions jello and played with Harry Potter Legos while they (and I) awaited their parents’ arrival. As they were leaving, they also got to take home some quilled feathers.  Originally I had bought them so they could make pens out of them, but to be honest we ran out of time with so many other activities.

Overall, it was a great party and I think everyone had fun.  I got a lot of thumbs up throughout the wonderful event.  Now I wonder what we'll do for the next party?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Juliet Caeser Interview


Tell us a bit about yourself?
I'm a married graduate student and I love working with my hands and being creative. When I'm working at my desk, singing along with Turkish music, I feel at peace. I absolutely love to travel and I adore experiencing new things.

Apart from being ‘creative’ what do you do?
I'm currently researching and writing my graduate thesis. It requires a lot of patience!

What inspires you to do the kind of work you do?
Istanbul inspires me so. Some of my fondest memories are from Istanbul, and I am constantly looking for ways to utilize images from Istanbul in my art. Another source of inspiration, one that is very personal to me, is traditional Uyghur art from the Xinjiang region of China (sometimes referred to as East Turkestan).

Do you look up to anyone? Who? Why?
I look up to my father most of all, but in terms of public figures, I'm inspired by Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the democratic movement in Burma/Myanmar. She has lived her life according to her convictions and has never wavered in her commitment to peace, though she has suffered greatly for it.

What other passions do you have in your life?
I absolutely love baking and learning other languages. I often listen to foreign language news programs when I'm carving my stamps. I find it absolutely blissful!

How do you promote your work?
I have a facebook page and I'm hoping to get Twitter and Pinterest accounts set up soon! Right now I'm selling my stamps and cards in my Etsy shop.
In the future I’d like to be…
Respected by my friends and family and known as a woman of integrity. :) Professionally, I'd like to be doing something that lets me put my creativity to use helping others, in┼čallah.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Spring Quillng Cards for Class

Once again I will be offering a series of Quilling classes at Ben Franklin Crafts & Frames in Redmond. Classes run from 6:30 to 8:30 in the evenings and run $18, which is a real bargain. Once you complete class, you also get a card magazine and a discount coupon to use in the store that night or the following day. To sign up for the classes, call (425) 883-2050.

Below are the quilling cards we'll be learning how to make for the following classes: February 16, March 15, April 19, & May 31. I had a lot of fun making them and can't wait to teach you how.


Hi Glittered Card

Happy Monkey Card


Owl Thank You Card


Surprise Birthday Card