Cultural Capital: Star of the East

An Homage to Umm Kulthum

Enjoy programs and performances honoring the legacy of Umm Kulthum.  

This Cultural Capital session honors Egyptian contralto singer and songwriter Umm Kulthum (ca. 1904–1975). Frequently referred to as the “Voice of Egypt” or the “Star of the East,” Kulthum remains an unprecedented icon of the Arab world. Her influence and image continue to resonate, inspiring musicians and artists alike.

The day features performances in Arabic from Kulthum’s beloved repertoire, and a moderated conversation about the social and political context in which Kulthum became the “Diva of Arabic Song,” during some of the most significant historical events in Egypt and the Arab World in the 20th century.


  • Huda Asfour, performer and composer
  • Lubana Al Quntar, soprano
  • Laura Lohman, associate professor of music, California State University, Fullerton
  • Hazami Sayed, executive director, Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture, Philadelphia
  • Lyne Sneige (moderator), director, Arts & Culture Program, Middle East Institute, Washington, D.C.

A reception will follow the performances and moderated conversations. Special tours of She Who Tells a Story: Women from Iran and the Arab World will be offered prior to the program starting at 2 p.m.


This program is SOLD OUT. Please email to be placed on the wait list. The waitlist will close at 5 p.m. on Friday, July 8.

This Cultural Capital program partnership is presented by the museum’s Women, Arts, and Social Change initiative in collaboration with the Middle East Institute's Arts and Culture Program, and is  made possible with the support of Abu Dhabi Festival.

National Museum of Women in the Arts