Founded by Nicholas Posegay (College, CMES ’17), Elysa Bryen (College ’17), and Madeline de Figueiredo (College '19), UChicago Majalla is the University of Chicago’s first-ever fully-Arabic magazine. It serves as a catalyst to unite independent Arabic classes throughout the University. It provides a platform that not only enhances Arabic language learning opportunities on campus, but also provides a space for students to situate their own experiences in a uniquely Arabic context.
Each year, students submit original Arabic works on Arabic culture, current events, travel, history, pop culture, academic writing, creative writing, fiction, poetry, and photography. So far, we have published three issues of UChicago Majalla, debuting in the Fall of 2016 and continuing up to now. In addition to featuring more advanced pieces of Arabic prose, Majalla promotes collaboration on individual pieces, as some students in the early stages of Arabic study do not feel comfortable writing literary pieces entirely on their own. Beginners are encouraged to work with more advanced students to co-author articles, and in many cases receive direct feedback from the magazine editors.
Perhaps the most unique feature of our magazine? It’s entirely student-run. An editorial board and team of undergraduates edit each submission before it goes to print. Here, too, is an opportunity for students to engage with the Arabic language: the feedback students receive on their submissions can inform their future engagements with Arabic writing, and editors can benefit from delving even deeper into the grammatical concepts that dictate good writing. As involvement grows, students have bolstered their reading and writing skills, and forged relationships with like-minded Arabic-speaking students and faculty.
In both cases, this type of cooperation further enhances cross-level linguistic interactions that can strengthen ties within the larger UChicago Arabic speaking community. We have developed a burgeoning student interest group in the campus community, and we have facilitated cultural connections between graduate students, undergraduate students, and Arabic speakers on campus in general.We are thrilled at the direction Majalla has taken on campus, and we can’t wait for the next chapters in our short, ambitious career to unfold.
Olivia Rosenzweig is Editor-in-Chief of Majalla. She is a fourth year at the UChicago planning to graduate in June 2019 with a BA in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC) and a Master's degree in International Relations. She is highly proficient in both Hebrew and Arabic, having studied MSA and various colloquial dialects. She grew up in a New Jersey suburb of NYC but has since lived in Jerusalem, Morocco, and Vienna, Austria. In addition to her work on the magazine, Olivia is currently a video analyst with the Minerva project at the Chicago Project on Security and Threats and very active in an immigrant tutoring group on campus and the UChicago Jewish community.
Gabe Davis is a fourth year Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations major in the College. He joined Majalla in Autumn Quarter 2016, has served as its Co-Editor-in-Chief, and currently serves as Majalla's Managing Editor. Outside of the magazine, Gabe is a Data Collection Supervisor at the Chicago Project on Security and Threats, as well as a Chair in Model UN, an undergraduate representative to the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, a volunteer for the Hyde Park Refugee Project, and a brother of the Alpha Phi Omega national service fraternity. When he’s not doing any of the above, you can find him scouring the Reg for books on the Western Sahara conflict or cooking.
Bettina Hammer is a 3rd year, originally from a small town on the border between Vermont and New Hampshire, majoring in sociology and minoring in Arabic. She worked with UChicago Majalla as a contributing editor before joining the board as social media chair. In addition to her work with Majalla, Bettina is a research assistant on the Minerva Team at the Chicago Project for Security and Threats (CPOST) and volunteers with local community organization Sirat teaching ESL to Syrian refugees in Hyde Park. In her free time, she likes running, hiking, and eating pancakes.
Tala Azzam is a second-year student at the college with a potential major in biochemistry. She is the content editor of Majalla. Born and raised in Lebanon, she is a native Arabic speaker and joined Majalla in order to help support the growth of Arabic language on campus. She is also involved in Peer Health Exchange and is on the Crew team.
Firat Ciftci is a second-year in the college and the Majalla layout editor.