Gender and feminism issues in the Middle East were discussed by Eton College pupils at a special majlis-style event.

Boys with a whole range of experiences, including some from the Middle East and others studying Arabic, joined in the lively debate. The structure of the event was based on a traditional majlis, which is a type of gathering or council. There was no central speaker, instead those taking part focused on one central issue.

Rakan Dajani (ASR) chaired the meeting, and he and fellow pupil Ned Kenwright (SMM) read works by Joumana Haddad, I Killed Scheherazade and Superman is an Arab, to help establish the basis for the debate.

“Using the ideas in these books, a basic framework of discussion was established; however, this did not prevent a number of fascinating detours and digressions in the conversation – proof of the enthusiasm of those involved,” said Ned.

“Many boys left the meeting not only with a greater understanding of gender issues in the Middle East, but also with a better understanding of gender issues worldwide, especially in Britain itself.”

A range of sweets and hot drinks from the region also helped to set the scene for the Middle Eastern Society night, which was run entirely by the boys.