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Illustration by Vivi Zhu

NYUAD Launches its First Arabic Language Publication

On Nov. 16, NYUAD launched AlNakheel magazine, its first Arabic language publication. We spoke to Al Reem Al Hosani, the magazine’s founder and chief editor, to learn more.

Nov 21, 2020

On Nov. 16, NYU Abu Dhabi’s very first student-led Arabic language publication, AlNakheel Magazine, was launched. The magazine’s first issue features native and non-native speakers, including both faculty and students. The articles span a wide range of genres, from travel and experience journals to short stories, interviews and book and film reviews.
Al Reem Al Hosani, Class of 2021, founder and editor in chief of the magazine, shared that she has been passionate about Arabic literature since high school and came up with the idea of an Arabic language publication during her sophomore year at NYUAD after she observed non-Arab students’ appreciation for the language and the effort they put in to master it.
“Almost every academic department on campus has a newsletter channel,” said Al Hosani “I saw a gap; all these people are learning Arabic, but we don’t have a concrete, original Arabic content publication.” She noted how one could potentially leverage the resources in NYUAD’s strong Arabic department.
Al Hosani expressed her frustration at the absence of platforms through which she, and many others, could share their Arabic writing. It seemed intuitive to her that a UAE-based university should have an Arabic language publication. From there, Al Hosani embarked on the journey of “bringing talents together.”
Al Hosani started curating the publication by asking current students and alumni to send their writing from Arabic classes, working together to improve them, and then collecting them for her publication. “I saw my friends writing about [very different] experiences, for example, learning Arabic, … during National Day Celebrations on campus … and in fall break [trips] to Oman or Bahrain,’’ said Al Hosani, adding that she found all these topics to be very relevant to student experiences on and off campus.
She also emphasised the need for the magazine to serve as a platform for Arabic students to practice engaging with the language. She is especially committed to maintaining the diversity of language levels in the articles and to make the publication accessible for people at different stages of their Arabic-learning journey.
Al Hosani described AlNakheel as a space for Arabic speakers to learn from others and express themselves while showcasing their writing capabilities. “We want to shed the light on Arabic speakers, both native and non-native,” she said. “Finally, this is us telling the world that the Arabic language is important to us.”
Mirela Minkova, Class of 2022, who has been studying Arabic since her freshman year, contributed three articles to the digital magazine’s very first issue. Minkova said that she appreciates that the publication has been “adapted for non-native speakers or learners,” and that she is very grateful and honored to be able to contribute to the project.
Al Hosani also expressed her hopes for this project to grow beyond NYUAD to further support Arabic speakers and learners. “Al-Nakheel”, which translates to “the palms” in English, is a cultural symbol in the UAE.
“One palm tree can offer a lot,” said Al Hosani. “We are just one magazine, but we want to offer you more than what you just see on the surface.”
Tatiana Houhou is a staff writer. Email her at
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