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SoulPancake: Making Entertainment That Matters

Uncategorized, Writing

While taking Berkeley’s Science of Happiness course, I was introduced to SoulPancake- my new favorite YouTube channel. I became even more drawn to it after finding out, as any fan of The Office would,  that Rainn Wilson, who plays the hilarious, sometimes annoying, certainly one of a kind character, Dwight Schrute, is the Co-Founder.

According to its website, “SoulPancake is the world’s most recognized positive and inspiring media and entertainment company. [They] create smart, uplifting, meaningful, shareable content targeted to the Optimistic Millennial.” And that’s the kind of media I love!

SoulPancake’s shows include Science of Happiness, short documentary videos that explore happiness through fun social experiments. Another unique show is My Last Days which introduces viewers to the inspiring stories of people with terminal illnesses. To prove just how positive SoulPancake is and how contagious positivity can be, one episode drew over 14 million views, many celebrities, and helped raise over $750,000 for Osteosarcoma. Then there’s Have a Little Faith– one of my favorites. Zach Anner, the show’s host, is funny, open-minded and hearted, and is on a mission to find out about different religions, a topic he says he doesn’t know much about. He started the first episode with learning about Islam from nineteen-year-old Marwa. I’m sure we all could learn a bit more about many religions. Watch the show to learn about Quakers, Jews, and Baha’is from those who practice the religions themselves and you’ll discover just how much our beliefs and the principles they teach share in common.

Yallah! Go watch an episode or two, you won’t regret it! Plus, don’t you just love the name? SoulPancake. Fluffy and yummy comfort food for the the soul.

For more information, visit SoulPancake’s website and YouTube Channel.

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Four Timeless Quotes from The Little Prince

Uncategorized, Writing

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince tells the timeless tale of courage, risk, exploration, finding purpose, friendship, and loss. It touches on what is most essential in life, reminds us to pay attention to the small-big things, and reminds us of the child within.  Below are four quotes that resonated with me.

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“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

 

“One only understands the things that one tames,” said the fox. “Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more.”

 

“I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams . . .”

 

“Men,” said the little prince, “set out on their way in express trains, but they do not know what they are looking for. Then they rush about, and get excited, and turn round and round . . .It is not worth the trouble . . .”

 

Three Activities That Will Boost Your Happiness Today

Uncategorized, Writing

We often wait for things or events to happen to make us feel happier, but we have the power to bring feelings of happiness, gratitude and satisfaction into our own lives. Here are three activities you can do today to increase your happiness:

1-Do five random acts of kindness- Studies have shown that doing five random acts of kindness in a single day and writing about how you felt after performing the acts lead to feelings of happiness. The acts can be anything from picking up trash to donating money, sharing food or smiling to a stranger.

2- Take an awe walk– Take time out to go for a walk and marvel at the beauty around you. Try going somewhere new and vast with beautiful nature or views.

3-Don’t forget to play- As we grow older, we no longer spend as much time playing. With technology and more time spent in school or structures activities, even children aren’t spending as much time playing. Play increases our creativity and problem solving skills and decreases our stress. Take some time today to do something you enjoy just for the fun of it. Lose track of time. Draw, color, play pretend, get out those board games, read, build legos, and explore!

 

Der Drachenprinz cover by Louiza Fröbe

“Der Drachenprinz” Welcomes Refugee Children to Germany

Uncategorized, Writing

In the last year, Germany has welcomed a great number of refugees. In addition to safe shelter and food many, especially children, need the emotional support to make sense of their new environment. This is where picture books like “Der Drachenprinz” (The Prince and the Dragon) by author Louiza Fröbe come in.

Every child arriving in Germany since September 15 of this year received a copy of the picture book. Through bright illustrations and the two young characters of the book, Lisa and Yasin, young refugee children and their families are introduced to everyday life in Germany from going to the supermarket to the transportation system and the German language. The book also offers German readers young and old insight into some cultural differences and how to welcome refugees in their communities, as modeled by Lisa and her mother.

This project is in partnership with the Bundesagentur für Arbeit, who distributed the books to the children, and Deutsche Welle, which produced the audiobook in nine different languages: Arabic, Dari, Farsi, French, Kurmanci, Pashto, Sorani and Turkish.

For more information visit the Drachenprinz website, where you can also hear the audiobook in the different languages!

Bringing Music and Art to the Streets of Amman

BarakaBits, Writing

While walking down Amman streets, Sami found time and time again that they were void of life and beauty. A lover of music, he thought to himself, “Why not bring art to the streets?”

That’s exactly what this exciting event “Music Rings in the Streets of Amman” aims to do. While speaking to Sami Nada, one of the organizers of the event,he explained to BarakaBits that the goal of this event is “to introduce people to street art and its beauty and spread a message of peace and love. It also aims to break the rigidity of the art culture on the streets.” He defines street art as a spontaneous artistic expression of freedom, peace and love and one that creates an intimate relationship between the artists and audience.
Sami adds that
“there is a growing group of artists and lovers of art in Jordan who do not seek any monetary gain out of their art. All they want is to send a message of peace and love through their art but they do not have the space to freely do so.”

According to the organizer, “this event, which is the first of its kind in Jordan, will provide that space.” The event will share both the culture of street music and street art with a complete performance by inspiring percussionists and other artists in the field of street art such as freestyle dancers, fire performers and mime artists. Local artists  from Jordan will bring life to the streets of Amman through Arabic music as well as other exciting performances.

So if you’re an artist or an art lover, don’t miss the event! This one-of-a-kind street art event will take place in Jabal l’Weibdeh on Thursday October 20, 2016.
For more information visit the event’s Facebook page.
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This article was originally published on BarakaBits on October, 15, 2016.
Qomrah 2 logo

Qomrah 2 Call for Ideas: Your Chance to Create the Media You Want to See

Uncategorized, Writing

Yesterday, September 30 2016, was the award ceremony for the first season of Qomrah, Ahmad Alshugairi‘s new Ramadan show, which strives to create meaningful media through a competition of short videos anyone around the world can participate in. Some of the winning videos from season one covered themes such as hope, child refugees and autism. These are just a few of the themes that fit the categories of the first season.

This year, the chance to participate-and with that, the chance to win- is open to an even wider audience. Starting today, October 1st and until the end of this month, anyone with an idea for a video can send the details and if the team likes the idea, it will then be posted on the website for the second phase, where filmmakers can choose from the ideas suggested and be financed by Qomrah to create the video. If your idea wins, you have the chance to win up to 500,000 Saudi riyals.

The idea can be about anything from a work of art, to a social experiment or volunteer work and the categories include health and fitness, history, self-development, philosophy, technology and more.

So what are you waiting for? Think of something you’re passionate about and think it’s important for more people to know about and submit!

For more information: Watch the Qomrah 2 promo video and visit the Qomrah website and you can also watch the videos from season 1.

Bilal movie poster

Bilal: A Must-See

Uncategorized, Writing

The movie Bilal was released in Jordan cinemas this weekend and it should not be missed! This movie is inspired by the tale of Bilal ibn Rabah, Islam’s first Muezzin. Barajoun, the Dubai-based company behind this one-of-a-kind animation, sums up the movie’s premise as follows:

A thousand years ago, one boy with a dream of becoming a great warrior is abducted with his sister and taken to a land far away from home.

Thrown into a world where greed and injustice rule all, Bilal finds the courage to raise his voice and make a change.

Here are a few reasons why I loved the movie:

1-Beautiful animation– bright colors and rich details, whether in the depiction of the buildings, the desert or the characters, kept my eyes glued to the screen.

2- Universal ideals-Bilal tells the story of social justice and equality and tackles the issue of slavery, which affects and is a shared history among millions of people around the world. It also discusses themes such as family, brotherhood, conviction and freedom.

3- Relatable heroes- Though this is not the focus of the movie and is not made explicitly clear, Bilal and some of the other inspiring characters are Muslim and/or Arab characters. and this is important because they give viewers in the region, especially young ones, real heroes from their own culture, religion and history, that they can relate to and be proud of.

The feeling of empowerment, stronger faith and pride this movie made me feel are what I appreciated most about the movie.

What are you waiting for? Book your tickets now!

For more information visit the Bilal movie official website and Facebook page.