Celebrating Black History Month: An Evening of Jazz 

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In celebration of Black History Month, Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) is honoring Black heritage and achievements including hosting a jazz appreciation evening featuring the Doha Jazz band.

GU-Q Dean Safwan Masri remarked: “Jazz is a tool of communication whose message plays loud and clear – we are a family, a community. I invite everyone to hear this message in tonight’s concert at GU-Q, and enjoy the beauty of music and the power of fellowship it inspires. As African American poet Langston Hughes said: ‘Jazz is a heartbeat – its heartbeat is yours.’ ”

In keeping with how Black History Month was originally observed in 1915, GU-Q is honoring African American contributions throughout US history, while embracing the chance to celebrate Black community members from around the world.

Tracing the rich history of jazz music in his remarks, Dr. Maurice Jackson, Associate Professor of History and African American Studies at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, said: “I know of no music that has incorporated so much the music of the world. Go almost anywhere and you can see the influence of jazz.” 

In addition to the jazz evening, the GU-Q community is organizing thought-provoking discussions, guided tours, and interactive sessions throughout February. Highlights include a  Diverse Diplomacy Leaders Speaker event, a screening and discussion of the film Al-Sit with Director Suzi Mirgani, student presentations on Colorism led by Dr. Rogaia Abusharaf, and a lunch talk on the Harlem Renaissance with Dr. Jackson, who is also teaching courses on the cultural history of African Americans, including the history and influence of Islam in America during his time as a visiting professor at GU-Q. 

Black Student Association (BSA) member Dalva Raposo (GU-Q’24), originally from Mozambique, remarked: “Black History Month, though initially an African American-focused event, has evolved in such a globalized way that allows us to highlight the accomplishments of Black people worldwide, showcasing the valuable contributions made by Black people in several economic industries and political and social sectors.” Her student club is hosting a panel discussion on Black Leadership in Qatar on February 20, 2024.

To further highlight the diverse history and experiences of and struggles of African Americans and Black people from around the world, GU-Q offered tours of the Msheireb Museums Bin Jelmood House, and curated four exhibits around the GU-Q building, including “Black Heritage and the Arts,” and “Pioneers of Justice.” In the GU-Q Library, posters from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service depict the history of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the 1968 Poor People’s campaign, while a display co-curated by the BSA, and African Students Association (ASA) presents a compelling narrative of African American history and culture through literature and other resources available to students of International Affairs and the wider community in Qatar.