Sport as a Tool for Political Negotiation and Intercultural Understanding: 14th Edition of Arabfest

Festival Press Release Public

"This year, we have decided on the theme of sports, which significantly influences the society of the Middle East region," says festival coordinator Michaela Vaňková.

Four days full of Arab culture await visitors at this year's ARABFEST. The 14th edition of the Arab Culture Festival will take place in Plzeň from April 11th to 14th, and this year's program will present the theme of SPORT - as a universal key to intercultural understanding and also a tool for international political negotiations. People can look forward to a panel discussion on sports diplomacy or the screening of a documentary reflecting, among other things, the role of women in sports. The festival will also feature oriental markets, Middle Eastern street food, and a charity run in support of Doctors Without Borders.

The organizers' aim is to highlight the diversity of Arab culture and to present visitors with the Arab world not only through conflicts. "This year, we have decided on the theme of sports, which significantly influences the society of the Middle East region. As part of the discussion with experts, people will learn, for example, about the importance of sports diplomacy in the Arab world," says festival coordinator Michaela Vaňková. The Panel Discussion: Sports Diplomacy and Sports as a Middle Eastern Phenomenon will kick off the entire festival on Thursday, April 11th, at the Faculty of Arts.

On Friday, April 12th, the internationally acclaimed documentary Lift Like a Girl (2022) by director of Egyptian origin Mayye Zayed will be screened. "The film depicts the journey of a fourteen-year-old girl to achieve her big dream of becoming an Olympic champion in weightlifting and following in the footsteps of Egyptian stars, the first Olympic champion Abeer Abdel Rahman and world champion and Olympic athlete Nahla Ramadan," describes the plot of the film Daniel Krejčí, director of ARABFEST. After the screening at Café Regner cinema, people can debate the role of women in sports with the film's author Mayye Zayed and former basketball representative and chairwoman of the Equal Opportunities Commission in Sports, Ilona Burgrová.

The following day, Saturday, April 13th, will be dedicated to a popular and traditional event for the whole family, the Great Saturday Program at Papírna. The multi-genre mini-festival within the festival will offer visitors a little stroll through oriental markets with a taste of Middle Eastern street food, a lecture on skateboarding in Jordan by Jakub Novotný, a film workshop for children, and an exhibition called Hall of Fame, through which people will become acquainted with selected representatives of the Arab sports delegation in often unexpected disciplines. Participants will also have the opportunity to engage in board game competitions or try oriental dance.

The festival will conclude its program on Sunday, April 14th, with a Charity Run in support of Doctors Without Borders in Borský Park. By registering and paying the starting fee at their own discretion (the recommended minimum amount is 100 CZK), both experienced and inexperienced runners will support the collection of a humanitarian organization helping the most vulnerable, also in the Middle East region.

All information about individual events, guests, and registration for the run can be found on the website, Facebook, and Instagram of ARABFEST.

The Arab Culture Festival is supported by the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen. The patronage was granted by the university rector Miroslav Lávička. The event is traditionally supported by the Faculty of Arts and the Department of Middle East Studies at the University of West Bohemia.

The event is being held with the support of the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, Grant Support for Student Activities (GRAS) and other important partners.



Andrea Čandová (translated by ChatGPT)

09. 04. 2024