If you could invite ANY three people to dinner (from the past or present), who would you invite, and why? We asked our CISL students this question earlier this month and were so impressed with their responses! From dictators to famous authors to ancestors, our students put together some fascinating–and delicious!–dinners.

Congratulations to Hind Alrajhi, our CISL San Francisco student from Saudi Arabia, and to Daiane de Lima, our CISL San Diego student from Brazil. You are our winners! We enjoyed your responses and would love an invite to either of these imaginary dinners if they ever happened!


Hind Alrajhi

Level 8

The Arabian night

If I had an opportunity to have dinner with, I’ll invite King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, May Shidyaq, and Maguy Farah.  Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz is the current King of Saudi Arabia.  Even though he has been the King for only six years, he has done many accomplishments for Saudi Arabia and the world.  He has implemented many reform measures in some ministries, such as Ministry of Education, Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Commerce, and Ministry of Finance and national economy.  In 2005, he implemented a government scholarship program to send young Saudi men and women to Western universities for undergraduate and postgraduate studies. He donated half a billion dollars to the United Nations World Food Programme in 2008. 

           May Shidyaq is a former television journalist.  She was an interviewer on political programs and she demonstrated and revealed the truth and scandals about politicians.  In 2005, there was an assassination attempt to kill her.  Shidyaq was seriously injured by a car bomb which was the cause of losing her left arm and leg and now she has an artificial leg and arm. After months of treatment and numerous surgeries, May appeared on TV on in 2006, defiant, smiling and promising to return to journalism.  In 2009, May made a surprise announcement on the air that she would no longer present on TV because she got lots of threats and suffered from the painful experience, especially the thirteen operations which she had during three years after the assassination attempt . 

           Maguy Farah is a fortune teller.  The reason why I want to invite her is to ask her about her divination about the future of Saudi Arabia so she can tell King Abdullah.  The other thing I would like to ask her is, in case she predicted a bad thing will happen to a famous person, will she forewarn him/her?  Also we can know May’s opinion about king Abdullah’s manner in policy especially because she is interested in policy.

          Since we all are Arabs, I’ll serve them Arabic food especially Saudi food, such as Kabsah and Haneed (rice and lamb) and Lebanese food, such as Mashawy (grilled chicken, beef, or lamb skewers), Kibbeh (mainly stuffed, can be made in different forms including fried, uncooked, and cooked with yogurt) and Mezze  (pickled vegetables or raw vegetables, hummus, baba ghanouj with bread).  Also I’ll serve them a dessert called Baklava (layered filo pastry filled with nuts) steeped in syrup (orange or rose water and sugar) or honey.


Daiana de Lima


I would ask my grandmother, Lady Gaga, and Danilo Gentili (a brazilian comedian) to have dinner with me. I chose these people because it would be nice to see how they interact with each other. 

My grandma was a very savvy woman, someone who could enjoy the simple things of life. She has some great stories to share. Lady Gaga is Lady Gaga. There’s not much we can say about her since she’s a public figure. I believe that she seems to be very opinionated and smart. She probably would get along very well with my grandmother.

The last person is Danilo Gentili. He’s a well known comedian in Brazil, with a fierce tongue and is not afraid to talk about polemic subjects.

Our dinner would take place at a nice restaurant where I could engage them into a conversation and ask them about their lives. Would they consider running for president? How would do they feel about the next generation? What do they want to improve? This discussion could take more than just one dinner and could perhaps last until breakfast. All of them are very well educated in general, I expect it to be a good talk. We would probably see my grandma talking about how she raised thirteen children, Lady Gaga discussing family nowadays and Danilo Gentili comparing how was education back then and what is happening with it now.

To boost up the conversation, I would serve some brazilian dishes mixed with “finger food” like small hamburgers, something called “pão de queijo”, a Brazilian bread made with cheese. I would also serve as a main dish some rice, beans, veggies and a good cut of meat with stock. To top it off, I would serve “brigadeiro” which consists of condensed milk, butter, chocolate powder. It’s baked until it reaches a chewy consistency. It’s a sweet way to end the night!