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Arabian Heritage Project's Al Kout Festival Brings AUK to Life

For two full days, March 15-16, the American University of Kuwait campus was converted into an elaborate fair with 7 hours of shows a day introducing the students and community to the wonders of Kuwaiti heritage. The AUK Arabian Heritage Project's Al Kout Festival opened with a great start. The Arabian Heritage Project is a center devoted to promoting and fostering culture in the Peninsula, and the annual Al Kout Festival is a way to bring that heritage alive. "This year, since it was the 50/20/5 Anniversary of Kuwait and we were under the Patronage of the Minister of Education, Dr. Moudi Al-Hmoud, we wanted to feature our students more than ever," says Dr. Lisa Urkevich, the Director of the Arabian Heritage Project. "Although everyone loved our professional guests, our most popular stage shows were by far those that featured our gifted student musicians, singers, poets, and artists. Under our Al Kout motto, 'Where Kuwaiti past meets Kuwaiti future' we were able to show how our students are thinking about their heritage but in a fresh, invigorating way that looks to the future."

This is the third time Al Kout Festival has been offered at AUK, and it was the most elaborate festival so far. The National Museum provided a grand, detailed display of Kuwaiti heritage, over fourteen different craftsmen and women graced the campus, camel rides were offered all day, and a rare Irish stallion from one of the leading stables in Kuwait was walked in the campus. Over nine Bedouin artisans introduced their craft in a traditional tent surrounded by tools of Bedouin life. A bazaar of over 40 booths and tables stocked with goods and food from leading merchants and restaurants lined the center of campus, and a car show with antique vehicles was an Al Kout favorite. Student 50/20 logo winners exhibited their highly lauded graphic displays.

The grand stage built in the central campus was the focal point where seven hours of performance took place each day. Dozens of talented AUK students were featured performing Kuwaiti traditional pieces that they themselves often arranged musically. Student poets offered original poems, at least one praising "Al Kout." The great Salman Al-Amari, master of Kuwaiti sawt, and his ensemble was featured. Famous Bedouin poet Salem Sayar fascinated students and guests, as did a leading Adani band. Brief performances of classical South Indian Karnatic music soothed the crowd, followed by shows each day by the great Kuwaiti Sea Bands, Bin Hussein and Mayouf. The festival ended with a standing-room-only concert by the phenomenal singer Fatoomah. As one student blogged about all the stage performances, "WHAT A SHOW!"

The festival was generously sponsored by Kipco, Burgan Bank, Kuwait Hotels, Gulf Net, Gulf Insurance, and Kamco who all support Kuwaiti heritage with great pride.

For more information please contact
Dr. Lisa Urkevich,
Arabian Heritage Project

Al Kout Festival in images

Released by the PR & Marketing Department on the 22nd March 2011

Photography by the AUK Public Relations & Marketing Department (C) 2011

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