The Markaz and Occidental College invite you to a new TEDx-style talk by Kal Naga aka Khaled Abol Naga, on Thursday, Sept. 21 at 7 pm at Occidental College's Choi Auditorium. Seating is limited and we encourage you to RSVP early, below.
Egypt was at the center of the Arab revolutions in 2010-2011, but many of the artists who became spokespersons for the uprising (or "thawra") can no longer safely work in Egypt, among them Kal Naga. This celebrated actor, producer and director from Egypt, whom we saw in the show TYRANT and who has appeared in many Arab movies, argues that "honest arts" can and should change the world—that the language of cinema, theatre, literature, poetry, painting, graffitti and music can revolutionize the self and our collective cultures.
Naga held UNICEF's Goodwill Ambassador post for Egypt 2007-2015. He's used his credibility and fame as a movie star in the Middle East to advocate for social justice, child rights and freedom of speech. Giving a plethora of TV talk show interviews, Naga has also produced material for social networks that promotes socio-political change. He appeared in Jehane Noujaim’s award-winning documentary about Egypt’s uprising, The Square. He has been actively engaged as an artist for most of his professional life, and during this exclusive Los Angeles presentation, will give Americans insight into Egypt’s thawra (Revolution) and how honest art can galvanize the people while revolutionizing the self.
Naga will be introduced by UC Irvine's Omaima El Gammal.
This program takes place at Occidental College, 1600 Campus Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90041, in the Choi Auditorium. Parking is free. There is a requested donation of $10/$5 students (Oxy students free).
More about Kal Naga
A multi-award winning actor and feature-film producer, Naga has has collected numerous Best Actor awards from Egypt and other regional and international film festivals since 2001. He’s starred in feature films in Egypt and the Middle East since his first lead role in A Citizen, A Detective & A Thief (2001) by acclaimed director Daoud Abdel Sayed. He is often referred to as The Egyptian Brad Pitt or the new Omar Sharif to the US audience. Kal Naga also appeared in season 3 of US FX TV show TYRANT as a series regular in 2016, will appear as a guest star in The VIKINGS new season 5, in November 2017, and as a recurring role in BBC TV mini series THE LAST POST in 2018.
Passionate about his country and his people, Naga says Egyptians are very proud of their African roots and adds that there are many lessons that we can learn from the Egypt revolution. He told CNN’s Nima Elbagir: “The power of the people is always stronger than the people in power...It’s time that the people now are realizing that all those dictatorships, all these iron-fist governments, are not helping anybody, not Egypt, not the west.”
Naga has carved out a distinctive acting career, and co-produced and starred in the critically-acclaimed Microphone, a movie exploring Egypt's underground art and music scenes. He has a history of spotlighting issues affecting Egyptian youth, championing such causes as HIV awareness, female genital mutilation and the treatment of street children. As he told CNN, "My interest was always to stand by the youth, youth empowerment…It’s an untapped treasure, the youth of Africa, not only the Arab world, because there is a lot of young people there. We need to empower them, protect them, educate them, so that we really have the real development going on.”
It’s clear that Kal Naga wants to make a difference. He posts his opinions on his blog where he comments regularly on social issues affecting the Arab world. "If I’m honest enough and expressing my opinions about things socially, politically, I feel better about myself and I feel that I can actually be a better artist,” said Naga.
Omaima El Gammal
Omaima El Gammal is an Egyptian American faculty member in Humanities at UC Irvine. Fluent in Arabic, her education, research and pedagogical training in both Comparative Literature and Foreign Language acquisition belie her commitment to interdisciplinary work. After receiving a dual undergraduate degree in French and Comparative Literature from UC Irvine, Omaima completed a M.A. in Comp Lit at Case Western and returned to UCI to complete another M.A. in French as a step toward the Ph.D in French Language and Literature.
In her doctoral dissertation, Myths / Countermyths: Representations of Colonial Algeria, she analyzes the different ways Algeria and Algerian identity are imagined and reinvented in the work of four Algerian writers: Louis Bertrand, Albert Camus, Kateb Yacine and Assïa Djebar. She argues that although the struggle for Algeria was fought on multiple terrains—militarily, politically, culturally and artistically—from the late nineteenth century until independence Algerian literature became the privileged site for the ongoing negotiation of cultural politics and the staging of the problematics of origins and nationalism.
Most recently, Omaima presented a paper on Memory, Trauma and Violence in Modern Arabic Literature titled “Dismembering and Remembering: Rewriting the Female Body in the Works of Assïa Djebar.” She is a member of the MLA, NeMLA, AFT, as well as The Egyptian American Organization (Orange County Chapter).
- September 21, 2017 at 7pm – 9pm
- Occidental College, 1600 Campus Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90041
- $5.00 USD