June 4, 2012
Posted: 1809 GMT
This month, 'Inside the Middle East', celebrates its 100th episode with a special look at education, focusing on the ways Egypt, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates are developing their future generations. Our first airing is Wednesday June 6 (click here for showtimes in your area).
Here's a look at what's coming up this month on 'Inside the Middle East':
Illiteracy in Egypt
In Egypt's bustling capital, Cairo, host Rima Maktabi speaks with several young Egyptians who explain the challenges of studying – or simply learning how to read – in a nation currently undergoing a rocky transition to democracy. A staggering one-third of all Egyptians are illiterate, according to government officials. As the presidential campaign heats up in Egypt's first free election in more than three decades, Maktabi meets with students, authors and vendors in Cairo's famous, open-air Ezbekiya book market to find out why reading has become a low priority.
Spiders in Space
He likes science, spaceships, and spiders. Now, Amr Mohamed, a 19-year-old Egyptian living in the coastal city of Alexandria, will get to combine all three of his passions. Mohamed was one of three global winners of the 2012 'Space Lab' competition, a YouTube-sponsored initiative to send high-school science experiments into space. His project – to see how microgravity will affect the zebra spider's ability to catch its prey – will be launched into space for testing by astronauts living onboard the Space Station later this year. Maktabi traveled to Alexandria to meet young Mohamed, to find out how his experiment can help other Egyptian children reach the stars.
Lebanon’s missing history book
The famous Lebanese-American poet and writer Khalil Gebran once said, "history doesn't repeat itself except in the minds of those who are ignorant of their history." In Lebanon, the collective memory of a whole society could be at risk. In schools throughout the nation, many Lebanese students still are not taught some aspects of their country's basic history. Maktabi heads to Beirut to find out why.
Naseer Shamma's 'House of Oud'
Finally, the program explores the music-makers market in old Cairo to see how craftsmen are shaping the wooden oud, a traditional Middle Eastern guitar and the instrument of choice for many musicians in the region. Some of the craftsmen are fearful that their art will eventually fade away as machines take over. But if anyone can save the culture of oud-playing, it's Naseer Shamma, a world-famous Iraqi musician. Shamma has established music schools from the UAE to Egypt to Algeria. Inside the Middle East meets with Shamma to find out why teaching music is so important.
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