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Riḥla Podcast

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Rihla is the Arabic word for "travelogue." The Rihla Podcast brings you stories of our students' journeys as they live and study in Tel Aviv, and travel throughout Israel and the wider Middle East.

Episode 13: MAMES Students and the Israeli Elections - 2015
MAMES students Emanuelle, Haisam, and Melanie weigh in on the election season in Israel and reflect on the campaigns, candidates, parties, and key issues for Israeli voters.

Listen to their story here on YouTube.

Episode 12: Val Jensen: Working in the US State Department
Working in the US government was a childhood dream for Val Jensen. In this third edition of Rihla's Alumni Spotlight, Val, class of 2013, discusses his journey from preparing presentations in his courses to preparing them for high stakes security briefings with the US State Department, where he now works.

Listen to Val's story here on YouTube.

Episode 11: Belly Dance and Stories from Damascus
Lucy Oleinik (class of 2014) discusses her first exposure to the enigmatic art of belly dance in her hometown of Moscow, and how it ignited her love of Arabic language and culture. While reminiscing on her times in Syria and Israel, Lucy stresses the importance of striving to view the Middle East beyond its geopolitical struggles, and the role studying in the region plays in that understanding.  

Listen to Lucy's story here on YouTube.

Episode 10: Israel is a Unique Place
Jocelynn Ramiah (class of 2014) takes us through her work with asylum seekers at the African Refugee Development Center in South Tel Aviv, and speaks about how her internship with the organization has given her a window into little-known aspects of Israeli society.

Listen to Jocelynn's story on YouTube.

Episode 9: David Ben-Gurion: A Source of Inspiration
When Davey Friedman happened to read the biography of David Ben-Gurion, he immediately felt connected to th emind of Israel's founding father.  Being a young secular American Jew, the search for a fulfilling identity finally brought him to Tel Aviv. Listen to how Israel, the MAMES program and, of course, Ben-Gurion helped him to shape a vision about his role in life. 

Listen to Davey's story on YouTube.

Episode 8: Traveling to the West Bank
Andrew Vitelli had already spent some time in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem before he applied for the MAMEs program at Tel Aviv University.  In his opinion, studying from textbooks and lectures is important but not enough if you want to really experience the Middle East.  In this edition of Rihla, Andrew speaks about his impressions of travelling through Israel and the West Bank, including a fun story about a lost camera.

Listen to Andrew's story on YouTube.

Episode 7: An Academic Life
In our second edition of our Alumni Spotlight, Joyce van de Bildt, a graduate of the Masters in Middle East History, discusses her passion for learning and discovering new ideas.  Following her passion and interest in the Middle East, Joyce moved to Tel Aviv from the Netherlands to the MAMES program.  Soon after graduation, she realized that the academic life was for her.  Now  a PhD student in Middle Eastern History at Tel Aviv University, Joyce discusses her novel research in memory studies and nostalgia in Egypt - and the implications for the current turmoil there - as well as her adventures as a rising academic. 

Listen to Joyce's story on YouTube.

Episode 6: Empowering Women in Nablus
What happens when 20 women gather in the West Bank city of Nablus to talk about the women's right to work, the pressure to bear sons, and date rape? 

MAMES student Molly Lower is an intern for Women's Voices Now, an NGO that promotes freedom of expression for women in the Muslim world through film and discussion. In this podcast, she recounts a WVN film festival and conference she helped organize in Nablus.

Listen to Molly's story on YouTube

Episode 5: An Intrepid Traveler in Iraqi Kurdistan
When Christina Durano announced she would be spending spring break in Iraqi Kurdistan, everyone told her she was crazy, that Iraq was too dangerous. The same thing happened when she traveled to Egypt two days after violent protests erupted in Cairo over the "Innocence of Muslims" film. And it also happened when she went on a family vacation to Israel at the height of the Second Intifada.

But so far, Christina, a student in the International MA in Middle Eastern History program at Tel Aviv University, has managed to stay out of trouble. In this podcast, Christina discusses her travels, her experience as a journalist for the BBC, and her plans for the future.

Listen to Christina's story on YouTube.


Episode 4: Amplifying the Voices of Muslim Women
Introducing our Alumni Spotlight Series! From time to time we'll catch up with MAMES graduates, find out what they've been up to, and discuss their areas of expertise.

As a masters student in Middle Eastern History at Tel Aviv University, Heidi Basch-Harod discovered her passion for studying the stories and struggles of Middle Eastern women. Today, Heidi is the Executive Director of Women's Voices Now, a gender rights NGO that promotes freedom of expression in the Muslim world. In this podcast, Heidi talks about why freedom of expression through art is the first step towards gender equality.

Listen to what Heidi has to say on YouTube.


Episode 3: An American Journalist in Ramallah
Patrick lives in Ramallah. He moved there to begin his career in journalism right after finishing his graduate courses in the International MA in Middle Eastern Studies program at Tel Aviv University. In this podcast, Patrick talks about his life in the vibrant West Bank city, and what he has learned as grad student and journalist living and traveling in the Middle East.

This podcast is temporarily unavailable.


Episode 2: Working with Syrian Refugees in Lebanon
Last summer, Hanna (class of 2012) went on a class trip to northern Israel. There, she gazed over the borders with Syria and Lebanon, and felt she had to do something to help the refugees of the current Syrian crisis. Luckily, Hanna, who is also a resident orthopedic surgeon, was in a perfect position to help.

Listen to Hanna's story on YouTube.


Episode 1: Caroline in Israel
On this episode of Rihla, Caroline (class of 2012) discusses her experiences as a MAMES student, both inside and outside of the classroom. 

This podcast is temporarily unavailable.

The Rihla Podcast is produced by Valerie Strassman and Adami Gordon.
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