Sharing Our Stories, Roots of Understanding
For Americans of Arab or Mid-Eastern Heritage, Ancestry, Experience
Powerful Interactive Seminar by Communication Specialist Dr. Dolly Haik-Adams Berthelot 2002

Never has it been more critical for Americans of Mid-Eastern descent* to reflect on, recall, share, and preserve their own stories, and to hear and understand the stories of others--those of similar heritage and those of different but inter-related heritage. Real life experiences--and the stories that bring such experiences to life--hold the wisdom of individuals and of cultures. Yet, too often, we understand little of our own rich life, family, religious, and cultural histories, and even less of the life, family, religious, and cultural histories of others.

Just as nature abhors a vacuum, human beings tend to fill what they don't know about themselves and others with faulty assumptions, misconceptions, half-truths, bigotry, stereotypes, and irrelevancies. In volatile socio-political climates such as our world today, what we don't know can hurt us. What is not known about us can also hurt.

Ask yourself, how much do you really know and understand about other Mid-Easterners  whose roots may intertwine with yours, yet who may consider themselves a different ethnicity or may practice a different religion, believe a different philosophy, act out of different cultural traditions? How much do they know and understand about you? In fact, how much do folks of your own culture or ancestry understand, especially the younger people? Our courses, private consultation, and creative writing and editing services can help you remedy the ignorance--in a safe, stimulating, and perhaps enlightening environment.

Sharing Our Stories, Roots of Understanding For Americans of Arab or Mid-Eastern Heritage, Ancestry, Experience is an interactive workshop designed for any Americans with cultural roots, family history, or ancestry in or connected with the Mid-East or with the various religions associated with that exquisite and tumultuous region. Classes may be provided only for persons within one culture or group (such as existing religious, educational, cultural, social, or residential groups) or for a mix of people with a mix of roots in various Mid-Eastern heritages or cultures. Each approach has its benefits. If you'll indicate what you'd prefer, we will try to arrange it or recommend options. Consider an introductory program as a keynote or short workshop for your festivals, conferences or conventions.

Every experience you examine from your own life or family history helps you better understand yourself, your family, your cultural heritage. Every experience you share helps others understand you, your family, and your cultural heritage. Every experience you hear or read from another person helps you better understand them, their families, and their cultural histories. Everyone benefits. Thoughtful and creative exercises and dynamic discussion will help you reflect on, remember, share, and write stories that speak a living truth about you and your people. You'll learn from the real-life experiences of others. And you'll connect deeply with other human beings. Remember, every life and family story of individual Arab or other Mid-East persons also reflects rich Arab or Mid-East culture and heritage. And reveals universal humanity.

Think what Alex Haley's Roots (a brilliant family and cultural history) has done for Black Americans, how Frank McCourt's memoirs have brought Irish emigrants to life, and how Amy Tan has given all a glimpse of her Chinese culture. Jewish people have a strong tradition of story telling, as evidenced by innumerable books, films, museum exhibits, and professional story tellers. Since 9 11, several women from Afghanistan and other Islamic cultures have begun to satisfy the new curiosity about a world that is strange and threatening to many. Such intercultural exchange is all healthy. Certainly not all Moslems are alike and not all in the Mid-East are Moslems. Nor Jews, for that matter. Where are the comparable stories of, for example, Lebanese heritage, which includes many Christians? We must find them, share them, write them.

Rich stories and fresh perspective will humanize genealogy and family history...Don't your ancestors deserve to be remembered? The dry facts of genealogy are important but insufficient. Stories bring the names, dates, and places to life. What about your parents and grandparents, relatives you or others can still remember? Will precious memories die with people or be passed on? Well executed interviews are essential, translation into powerful stories vital. Take action before it's too late. Dr. Dolly Haik Adams Berthelot will help you share those stories interpersonally or in print. She'll interview and write for you or guide you in doing it yourself.

Mid-Eastern heritage especially interests Dr. Dolly, the creator of Stories, Roots of Understanding™. Like many Mid-East emigrants, her maternal grandparents (Orthodox Christian Lebanese) immigrated at the turn of the 20th Century to escape Ottoman rule and find the legendary "streets paved with gold." She is developing a book on the Haiks and others of Lebanese descent in the Southern U.S. In the 1970s, Dolly and her husband loved living in Turkey, center of the Ottoman Empire. In that culture, which was 98% Moslem, they felt drawn to the warm hospitable people, beautiful mosques, enchanting music and scrumptious food. (See Dr. Dolly's internationally published travel article "The Turks Are On The Move.").

Beyond such personal affinities for Mid-Eastern or Semitic heritage and culture, Dr. Dolly offers a rare blend of writing and communication expertise. For decades she has relished professionally fostering improved multi-cultural/multi-racial communication, human relations, conflict management, and community building. See Unity in Diversity.

Dr. Dolly also invites contacts and contributions for her book in process about her Haik family and other Lebanese Americans in the Deep South. Or, ask for professional help with your own stories and that of your family, your alma mater, your community, your church, your mosque, your temple, your synagogue, or your business.

*We intend 'Mid-East heritage' to be used here as inclusively as possible, referring to Arabs, Lebanese, Jews, and others. In spite of their differences, Arabs, Assyrians, Phoenicians, Hebrews, etc share some Semitic roots and cultural similarities. Participants may self identify by ethnicity, geography, religion, or any combination. The purposes are story sharing and life writing, not opinionating; cultural and personal exploration, not political or religious indoctrination or attack. All who share these goals are welcome.

All services are fully guaranteed to your satisfaction.

Mine Your Memories™ is an affiliate of Berthelot Consulting, Pensacola, FL.
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