By Sarah Zahaf
2021 has officially begun. After the whirlwind of a year we had in 2020, and with the presence of the pandemic still impacting us all, it is understandable that many of us would feel unmotivated and pessimistic about the new year. However, 2021 could potentially be an exciting new chapter. So, it’s time to start the new year feeling productive, motivated, optimistic and curious. Here at Sekka, we have cultivated a list of 5 podcasts from the Arab world that you can tune into in the first weeks of 2021 . These podcasts will keep you feeling informed, motivated, entertained and touched this year.
1. Minnana Minnakum
Produced by the Kerning Cultures Network, and hosted by Saudi designer and entrepreneur Alaa Balkhy, Minnana Minnakum—which translates to ‘from us, from you’ in Arabic— is an Arabic language podcast that features Alaa’s intimate conversations with inspirational Arab women from different fields, including photography, design and business. The episodes shed a light on these women’s interesting journeys, and what made them the successful women they are today. Guests include Saudi businesswoman Maha Al Sudairi and Saudi photographer Marwa Al Maqait. Episodes are less than hour long, and provide the perfect dose of inspiration to begin the year.
Afikra , which translates to ‘on second thought’ or ‘come to think of it’ in Arabic, is an English language podcast that is hosted in 2020 by Michael Muhanna, the founder and executive director of Afikra, an organization that is dedicated to inciting curiosity about the history and culture of the Arabian region . The podcast, primarily based on audio recordings of Zoom talks that were held by the organization over the past months, features conversations and presentations about the Arab world by Arab academics, and art and media experts. Episodes range from a conversation with Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, the founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation, about Arab art and its promotion, to how to listen to world music from a Middle Eastern point of view. The variety of topics allows listeners to learn more about the various aspects of history, culture and society in the different countries that make up the Arab world. Each episode is around 30 minutes to an hour long, and will stimulate the minds of any history, arts and culture enthusiasts with an interest in learning more about the Arab world.
Ara, which translates to ‘I see’ in Arabic, is an Arabic language podcast hosted by Mthayel Al Ali, an Emirati entrepreneur, influencer and the founder of Takhayyal, a social media platform and consultancy dedicated to creating impactful content. Her podcast, which she launched in 2020, focuses on her personal experiences, as well as those of others, in an effort to change her community by bringing to light topics that are not commonly discussed in society. The episodes range from Mthayel’s personal journey of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, to interviews with a man and a woman who experienced sexual assault. Episodes are up to 20 minutes long, and are ideal for those looking for raw and honest content.
4. Third Culture Talks
Third Culture Talks is an English language podcast hosted by by Meis, Mike and Sabreen, three MENA region multicultural millennials. As the name implies, the podcast is focused on the hosts’ (and others’) experiences being raised in countries and cultures that differ from those of their parents . Episodes range from the importance of representation, to the language third culture kids thinks in, to the struggles of trying to fit in. Each episode is between 20 to 45 minutes long, and is especially fitting for third culture kids to tune into.
5. Dom Tak
Dom Tak is an Arabic language podcast created by Sowt, a podcasting platform based in Jordan, that shares stories about Arabic music. Available in two seasons, the first season’s episodes shed a light on celebrated Arab female musicians, including the legendary Lebanese singer Fairuz, and recounts the lives of these women, their talents, influence and surprising tales. The second season’s episodes tackle the various genres Arabic music, new and old, from Arab Rock to Arab Jazz . Each episode is approximately 30 minutes long.
Sarah Zahaf is a Chinese-Algerian writer and a student studying International Relations and English at the American University of Sharjah. She is passionate about diversity in culture, arts and literature. She is currently interning at Sekka.
The views of the authors and writers who contribute to Sekka, and the views of the interviewees who are featured in Sekka, do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sekka, its parent company, its owners, employees and affiliates.