Meet the Middle Eastern Leadership Council (MELC)
Series by Carly Gorelick
Many CIOs at UVA play a central role in promoting greater spaces and resources for minority students at UVA. The purpose of this spotlight is to give these CIOs that operate for the benefit of minority communities on grounds another platform to be heard and acknowledged. The hope is that this spotlight can encourage recognition and involvement by the student body, particularly going forward into the 2015/2016 academic year. Iris is inspired by the devotion, spirit, and the goals of these CIOs and wants to give credit to these groups accordingly.
Middle Eastern Leadership Council (MELC)
Chatting with Adrianna Taweel
What is your position in the organization and what does your role entail?
I am the president of MELC. MELC is a unique organization because we act as the umbrella organization for other Middle Eastern groups on grounds. That being said, as president, my job entails communicating between the organization, planning events, and working with a stellar executive board to host our annual Middle Eastern Cultural Month in the spring!
What are the ultimate goals of your CIO and how do members work to accomplish them?
The ultimate goal of MELC and its constituent organizations is to establish a strong Middle Eastern presence on grounds. MELC is specifically a cultural group where friends and strangers from all backgrounds can come to our events and learn about the Middle East. We strive to not only establish a presence, but also to make Middle Eastern students and those interested in the Middle East feel as though they have a home here at UVa. The executive board and MELC’s constituent organizations strive to do so by being inclusive to all members and guests, creating events that are fun and foster a sense of community, and have start a healthy dialogue about the Middle East.
What does your club hope to achieve this fall semester?
MELC is currently working with the Office of Admissions to find ways to make prospective and admitted Middle Eastern students feel as though they are already a part of a strong community. We also host a “MELC Friday” every Friday in Lawn Room 41 at 4pm and use that time as a social hour to meet new friends and eat some good food. This fall semester, our goal is inclusion and expansion. We really feel we are off to a great start!
Are there any upcoming events we should expect this semester?
As I mentioned previously, MELC hosts a MELC Friday every Friday in Lawn Room 41 at 4pm. Anyone is welcome for free food and fun! We also encourage people who are interested in the Middle East and/or are Middle Eastern to check out the organizations under us on Facebook or @UVa for events they will be having this upcoming semester: Persian Cultural Society (PCS), Arab Student Organization (ASO), Afghan Student Association (ASA), Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine (SPJP), Lebanese Club at UVa, and Muslim Student Association (MSA). They host events throughout the semester as well and would love to see new members!
How can the student body get involved with your organization?
Since MELC is solely an executive board that works with the organizations under us, I would encourage students to join the organizations listed above. They have student bodies and would love to see those numbers grow. Also, come to MELC Fridays! If you are interested in an executive position, we hold interviews for new positions every spring. Also, for first years interested in an executive position, we choose 1-2 applicants to be a “First Year Representative” on the executive board every fall semester (now is your chance!) I was the First Year Rep two years ago and look where I am now! If you are interested in getting involved, please don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Facebook.
What do you love about your organization?
I love that my organization gave me a home at UVa. Everyone was so welcoming when I first joined and the energy cultivated within the organization is so positive!
Last year, MELC had the privilege of hosting Maysoon Zayid, a Palestinian comedian. Before the show, a couple of us got to talk with her. She is the most down-to-earth woman I’ve ever met and getting to know her was one of the greatest (and laughter-filled) experiences of my life! I admire her for her strength, courage, and ridiculousness. She is someone I strive to be and I am grateful that MELC brought her to UVa!
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