Discover Stories

Our stories increase cross-cultural understanding by broadening knowledge of the people, cultures, histories and geography of the Arab and Muslim worlds and their global connections.


The Long Wandering of the Damascus Rose

The Long Wandering of the Damascus Rose

Widely regarded as the most fragrant of roses, the Damascus rose bloomed first in Central Asia and came to the Levant and Anatolia via the Silk Roads. Today it is cultivated most intensively in Bulgaria’s Rose Valley, where it thrives as both export and heritage.
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Refuge in Recipes: The Research Journey of Nawal Nasrallah

Refuge in Recipes: The Research Journey of Nawal Nasrallah

It was time for the family to sit down for dinner at Nawal Nasrallah’s home in Bloomington, Indiana. Nasrallah had made her 18-year-old daughter Iba’s favorite dish, Iraqi-style eggplant biryani, in honor of the college acceptance letter Iba had just received. Iba spooned the biryani onto her plate, took a bite and burst into tears. “Where am I going to find food like this at school?” she asked.
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Flavors: Upside-Down in Babylon Pineapple Palace Cake

Flavors: Upside-Down in Babylon Pineapple Palace Cake

Palace cake was made in honor of the gods who were worshipped in the temples of Ur on the banks of the Euphrates. It contained raisins, aniseed, and an unbelievable amount of fat and dates.
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FirstLook: Beni Isguen, Algeria

FirstLook: Beni Isguen, Algeria

As a young college student in the 1980s, George Steinmetz hitchhiked in the desert lands of north-central Algeria along the Sahara. In 2009 he revisited the region, now as a world-renowned photojournalist working on a book about the world’s extreme deserts and the human adaptations and settlements in them.
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2023 Calendar: Fauna

2023 Calendar: Fauna

From North African deserts to Indo-Pacific archipelagos, creatures of the lands, seas and skies have been depicted in art, venerated in temples and hunted for more than 8,000 years. Now they are increasingly protected.
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Art of Islamic Patterns: A Southeast Asian Rosette

Art of Islamic Patterns: A Southeast Asian Rosette

Cursive, vegetal, biomorphic forms predominate in patterns in Malaysia, Indonesia and parts of Thailand. This final installment in our series is based on the geometry of leaves and petals.
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Andrew Nemr Taps Into Story

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Bahrain’s Pearling Pathway

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Sepak Takraw's Kick in Minnesota

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Art of Islamic Patterns: Rüstem Pasha Rosette Part 1 – Geometric Sub-grid

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Percussionist Elias Aboud - Berlin Cultural Jam

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Art of Islamic Patterns: Mamluk Rosette – Part 1

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Surfing Morocco’s New Wave

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Art of Islamic Patterns Lesson One: Alhambra–Alicatado

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How to make Harisa

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