Students for Justice in Palestine host cultural coffee hour

Students gather for a cultural event filled with Palestinian food, coffee, henna and dance


Photo Courtesy: Taleen Salman

Zaina Zubaidi serving Arabic coffee and dessert with attendees Amena Radwan and Layalee Zeidan.

by Amina Idoui, Staff Writer

San Diego State University chapter Students for Justice in Palestine held a Cultural Coffee Hour at the International Student Center on Oct. 21.

The Coffee Hour served cultural-inspired Palestinian food, such as fattoush, a salad containing pita chips, knaffeh, a cheesy filo dough dessert and coffee to its attendees.

Zainab Ashraf applied henna on participants throughout the event, decorating hands with floral patterns and intricate dotted designs. 

The Coffee Hour is part of a series of events celebrating various regions around the world. Other featured countries, such as Brazil and Vietnam, held similar events celebrating the traditional food, drink and dance of the region.

This event drew a diverse crowd, which Yaya Khatib, a junior economics major, appreciated.

“It makes me feel more visible on campus, and I like that I can share my culture with other people,” Khatib said. “A lot of people are not Palestinian here, which is really great, and they seem to be having a good time.”

Dabke circle growing as everyone is encouraged to join. (Photo Courtsey: Taleen Salman)

Mao Kimura, a senior journalism major, discovered the event through her involvement in the International Student Association.

“I really enjoyed the dancing and the sweets,” Kimura said “I think their (Palestinian) culture likes sweet stuff. I want to learn more in the future.” 

The event ended with a dabke performance, an Arab style of line and circle dancing. The organizers provided a tutorial and encouraged people to join in. More and more people linked hands until a circle was formed. 

Zaina Zubaidi, a senior majoring in environmental sustainability, is an active board member of SJP and is Palestinian. Zubaidi, among several other women, was clothed in a thobe, a traditional Palestinain embroidered dress.

Zubaidi, and others, were inspired on informing others of Palestinian culture throughout this event.

SJP Board members: Mohammed Erakat, Layalee Zeidan, Zaina Zubaidi and Aminah Musa. (Photo Courtsey: Taleen Salman)

“This event is strictly non-political and shines more light on the deep and rich culture of Palestine that is not spoken about,” Zubaidi said. “It reminds people there is a culture and tradition beyond the occupation.”

SJP is scheduled to appear at the International Peace Village on Nov. 17. For more information on upcoming events and the club, visit @sdsusjp on Instagram.