“With all that is going on in the world politically, I wanted to be a part of teaching my peers about the culture, the arts, and the lifestyle of the Middle East.”
Multicultural diversity enriches and strengthens a community. Florida State is blessed to have cultural connections to the Middle East, in particular, through Verena Dalati.
Born in Lebanon, Verena and her parents relocated to the U.S. when she was only three years old. Since her “culture has always been one of the most important things” in her life, she wants to pass on that knowledge. “With all that is going on in the world politically, I wanted to be a part of teaching my peers about the culture, the arts, and the lifestyle of the Middle East.”
Considering the fact that the Middle East is not focused on in high school, Verena has a great deal to teach. Yet, she does not need to force it, as she has found her fellow students to be “extremely curious, wanting to learn about and understand” that part of the world.
Verena is fluent in Arabic and English and semi-fluent in French and Spanish. She’s found that learning a culture’s language not only helps her to delve more deeply into that culture, but also enables her to focus her artistic talents on the comparison of various cultural designs. While still in high school, her impressive portfolio was selected as the main exhibitor at Delray Beach’s Cornell Museum of Art and History.
She now translates her talents into her Interior Design projects. A dedicated student (4.0 GPA), she has been recognized by the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, and was recently chosen to assist with the interior design aspects of the environmentally friendly building that is currently being built on Florida State’s campus.
As the public relations chair for the past two years for FSU’s Arab Cultural Association, Verena informs students from all backgrounds about the Arab culture. In 2005, she took it to another level by co-founding Belly Dancers at Florida State, a recognized student organization. The core group of belly dancers has added their own choreography to their performances on campus and in the community. She says, “I am so proud of this organization—my little baby that was given the chance to grow!” Beginner’s classes are available, and, if desired, faculty and staff are also welcome to join in this fun way to exercise.
“All women, she says, “are beautiful and strong. We have the power to make our dreams come true.” Verena will continue making her own dreams come true by following her passion for art and design. “All I have experienced at FSU has made me a stronger, more open individual,” she says. “I hope I have opened the eyes of my peers not only to the Middle East culture, but also to the importance of belonging to something greater than yourself—a community.”