Noor Charity Festival – Interview

This Sunday (23rd April) the first Noor Charity Festival will take place in St Mary’s Quad. The Interpreter speaks to the team behind the event to find out more.


What is Noor Charity Festival and how did it come about?

Noor Charity Festival is a cross-society event which sees the blending of student talent with a “Middle Eastern” theme.

Some of you may remember ‘St Andrews for Syria’ last semester which was organised primarily by Amina Society and their committee. The event centred around a panel discussion and Q&A session throughout which leading academics, journalists, and representatives from UNHCR in Turkey and the International Committee of the Red Cross discussed the Syrian refugee crisis from varying perspectives.

The Noor Charity Festival aims to build upon the huge success of the academic discussions at St Andrews for Syria, by shining a different light on the refugee issue. As is so often the case in the media, we witness the crisis through an extremely politicised lens, in which human beings become nothing but numbers — we want to focus on the dance, visual arts, music and cuisine that makes this region so diverse and fascinating.



Who exactly is involved in the organisation? 

There are a number of societies that are working on this project together: the Fellowship of St Andrews, British Red Cross Society, Refugee Action St Andrews (RASA), Middle East Society and Amina Society (a representative society for a Dundee based charity that promotes the empowerment of British minority ethnic women and the integration of refugees into the Scottish community). Having the insight of such a diverse range of student societies has meant that we have been able to reach out to all corners of the St Andrews community to seek their engagement with the concept too.


Why was the festival organised and what’s on offer for festival guests?

With the aim of giving you a true flavour of some of the Middle East’s cultural aspects, attendees can expect access to traditional Arabic food, dance, visual arts, live music and a DJ throughout the afternoon.

Aside from food, art and entertainment, the Noor Charity Festival will stay very true to its charitable cause — supporting the Dundee Refugee Support project with the proceeds from the event, while offering an opportunity to discuss and learn more about the humanitarian crises affecting the region. Alasdair Gordon-Gibson, a PhD student at St Andrews, will be giving a talk to contextualise the event – he has worked with the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (ICRC) in conflicts across the world. Throughout his career with the ICRC which spanned nearly twenty years, his primary focuses were planning and managing humanitarian programmes in emergency relief and economic security.

It is within this framework that we hope to raise as much money for Dundee Refugee Support while highlighting the importance of unity, humanity and tolerance in difficult times such as these.


Event tickets cost £7 and can be purchased now:

See the event Facebook event:


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