Slam It By: Yara Khatib Intro
Stand up. Exhale. Moisten your lips. Swallow. Slam. SLAM IT!, founded in 2011 by students Smita Sen and Paniz Sehat Niaki, is an organization centered on encouraging individuals to “express themselves in honor of those who cannot” – to take advantage of the privilege of being heard. And we are the UAE’s first annual Slam Poetry competition. We focus on raising awareness of the difficulties faced by Autistic individuals and their families, recognizing that Autism hinders one’s ability to communicate. While raising awareness of Autism, we engage individuals in the rising art of spoken word poetry, helping them appreciate the fact that they can express themselves and be immediately/EASILY understood. We host inter-‐school poetry slams to create a stage for people of all ages. We give them an audience and an opportunity to really express themselves and be heard.
Last year, “SLAM IT!” had its first grand opening in the Universal American School Dubai (UAS) library on the 12th of May 2011, with a large audience pouring in to witness the one-of-a-kind talents of the performers. The students and the teachers took the stage with original compositions of poetry, rap, and creative writing, performed with utmost passion and confidence. The show was so impressive that the Fine Arts Booster Club (FABC) SLAM IT! and its noble cause This year, SLAM IT! organized the UAE’s first-‐ever interschool poetry slam competition. Students from Al Ittihad Private School, Dubai American Academy, Emirates International School, the International School of Choueifat Sharjah, and the
Universal American School competed before a live audience for the grand prize – 1000 AED and the title, Master of Slam 2012. We featured a speaker from the Dubai Autism Center, Ms. Maya Helou, to speak about the cause, and a panel of Guest Judges, including Dr. Gunther Brandt, Director of the host school, UAS, Ms. Maha Gargash, the renowned Emirati writer and author of The Sand Fish, and UAS History teacher Mr. Lauer, who majored in English. At the groundbreaking event that took place on the evening of April 4th, poet Jennah Fakhouri from Al Ittihad Private School received roaring applause and took home the Grand Prize for her poem, Let Them Be Free. She was our Master of Slam 2012. Second prize went to Nidaa Rasheed, from Dubai American Academy, for her moving poem, This is Me, while third prize went to the impressive Jade Marion, a poet in Grade 7, for her poem
Next year For the upcoming year 2013, future president Yara Khatib plans on taking the event to whole new levels. Her, along with Vice-‐president Danya Zituni, hope to broaden the event to schools all across the UAE, from Sharjah to Abu Dhabi, and move the event to a more suitable venue for larger audiences. As the following SLAM IT! year progresses, they plan on holding performance preparation classes to help increase the efficiency and perceptibility of the poems that each contestant plans on reciting at the event. They plan on making sure that each poem is not just heard, but felt. Students of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to compete and express themselves in this outstanding event, so to the aspiring poets out there, be prepared to express it, feel it, bring it, SLAM IT!