Arab American Heritage Month 2022

Arab American Heritage Month


This month, we celebrate “Arab American Heritage Month.”  Arab American Heritage Month commemorates the contributions of Arab-Americans to American life and their struggles to receive full protections as American citizens.


Diversity Champion

Diversity Champion
Dr. Rebecca Karam

This month we celebrate our Dean’s Research Associate, Dr. Rebecca Karam. Dr. Karam’s research focuses on the making of Arab American communities and the racialization of Muslim Americans.

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Diversity Torch

Diversity Torch
Tamara Siblani

Tamara Siblani is an third year MSU student who is majoring in Psychology and minoring in leadership of organizations. She is also treasurer of MSU Arab Cultural Society, which works to advance the customs and culture of Michigan State’s Arab students.

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Diversity Spotlight

Diversity Spotlight
Ikram Adawe

Ms. Ikram Adawe a MSU School of Social Work alumna and Arabic-fluent therapist who works with Arab American communities as well as refugee and immigrant populations in the Greater Lansing Area, providing them with trauma informed care.

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Additional Resources

  • Scholarly Associations and Programs
    Arab American Studies Assn. -

    From the website:

    The AASA aims to stimulate academic research in Arab American Studies and advance the study of Arabs in diaspora, including in the United States and across the Americas. Through organizing a major conference every three years and annual meetings in alternating years in conjunction with the Middle East Studies Association and the American Studies Association, AASA aims to facilitate communication among scholars through meetings; promote cooperation among members of the Association and persons or organizations concerned with Arab American Studies; and explore intersections and comparative approaches among Arab American, Arab, and diasporic Arab experiences, as well as among SWANA (Southwest Asian and North African) communities more generally.


    Middle East Studies Assn. -

    The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) is a non-profit association that fosters the study of the Middle East, promotes high standards of scholarship and teaching, and encourages public understanding of the region and its peoples through programs, publications and services that enhance education, further intellectual exchange, recognize professional distinction, and defend academic freedom in accordance with its status as a 501(c)(3) scientific, educational, literary, and charitable organization.


    Center for Arab American Studies, UM Dearborn -

    From the website:

    CAAS advocates this understanding through education, research, public outreach, and cultural exchange programs. In addition to offering a minor and a certificate in Arab American Studies, CAAS provides internship opportunities for students with professional, public, and community-based agencies.  We foster community partnerships, encourage academic fellowships, and serve as a center for academic inquiry for scholars to investigate and share their work on the Arab American experience.


    Arab American Cultural Center, UI Chicago -


    Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies (NC State University) -

  • Cultural Organizations and Associations
    Alif Institute, Atlanta -


    The Arab American National Museum, Dearborn, Michigan -

    From the website:

    The Arab American National Museum (AANM) is the first and only museum of its kind in the United States devoted to recording the Arab American experience. Since opening in 2005, AANM’s mission has been to document, preserve and present the history, culture and contributions of Arab Americans. Our exhibitions cover the Arab world and the history of Arab Americans from the first immigrants who arrived in the late 19th century to today. We offer safe spaces for open dialogue and community gatherings and provide educational opportunities for children and students of all ages to expand their knowledge and appreciation of Arab American history and culture. We work with established and emerging artists of all artistic mediums to uplift their work and share it with our regional and national audiences. All of this is intended to build community through the arts by showcasing our nation’s cultural diversity in thoughtful and impacting ways. 

    AANM has one of the most extensive archives of Arab American historical documents, oral histories and artifacts. We are the only museum in the country that actively collects Arab American art. The Annex @ AANM, a multi-purpose space and a symbol of the Museum’s growing engagement with the community, opened in 2015.


    Mizna (arts, film) -

    Culture and Arts organization based in the St. Paul. It is known for its support of the arts in all forms from poetry to performance, with a focus on SWANA (Arab and Southwest Asian and North African) artists. It is known for its well respected journal of the same name and film series and annual film festival


    Zawaya -

    Arts and Culture education and promotion in the Bay Area.

    From the website

    Our Programs shed light on Arabic culture by teaching volunteer community members to perform Arabic Arts. We invite participation of all members of the community without regard to knowledge of the Arabic language. We encourage participation without regard to race, creed, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation.

    Aswat (Arabic for “voices) is our largest program to date. It is a music group with live Arabic music players and a choir, whose members come from the community at large.

    Due to popular demand, we have developed the following specialized ensembles:

    • Aswat Youth ensemble
    • Aswat Women’s Ensemble
    • Sacred Music Ensemble
    • Oud Ensemble
    • Percussion ensemble.

    Zawaya aims to achieve its mission by arranging for Aswat ensembles to perform in self-produced performances through out the San Francisco Bay Area and by partnering with and performing at events of other local nonprofits.

  • General Audience – Readings
    • Abraham, Nabeel, Sally Howell, and Andrew Shryock, eds. 2011. Arab Detroit 9/11: Life in the Terror Decade. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press.

    • Abraham, Nabeel, and Andrew Shryock, eds. 2000. Arab Detroit: From Margin to Mainstream. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.

    • Baker, Wayne, Sally Howell, Amaney Jamal, Ann Chih Lin, Andrew Shryock, Ron Stockton, and Mark Tessler. 2009. Citizenship and Crisis: Arab Detroit After 9/11. New York: Russell Sage Foundation Publications.

    • Bawardi, Hani J. 2014. The Making of Arab Americans: From Syrian Nationalism to U.S. Citizenship. Reprint edition. University of Texas Press.

    • Fadda-Conrey, Carol. 2014. Contemporary Arab-American Literature: Transnational Reconfigurations of Citizenship and Belonging. New York: NYU Press.

    • Jamal, Amaney, and Nadine Naber, eds. 2008. Race and Arab Americans Before and After 9/11: From Invisible Citizens to Visible Subjects. Illustrated edition. Syracuse, N.Y: Syracuse University Press.

    • Naber, Nadine. 2012. Arab America: Gender, Cultural Politics, and Activism. New York: NYU Press.

    • Orfalea, Gregory. 2005. The Arab Americans: A History. Illustrated edition. Northampton, Mass: Olive Branch Press.

    • Suleiman, Michael, ed. 1999. Arabs in America: Building a New Future. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

  • General Audience – Films
    • PBS No Passport Required: Detroit (2018). Chef Marcus Samuelsson heads to Detroit — home to one of the largest and most diverse Middle Eastern communities in America — to explore its culture, history and food. With a family of Syrian refugees in Dearborn, he shares a home-cooked meal and talks about their proud heritage and overcoming misconceptions.

    • Brooklyn Inshallah (2019). This film follows three Arab Americans: an Arab Lutheran pastor running for NYC Council, Muslim activist Linda Sarsour, and a local community organizer, Aber Kawas.

    • The Last Harvest (2012). This documentary, produced by UCLA researcher Jonathan Friedlander, explores the lives of Yemenis who settled in California’s San Joaquin Valley. At the peak of migration, some 5,000 Yemenis were employed in the fields of central California. Today only several hundred remain.

  • Social Service/Community Advancement and Inclusion
    The Arab American Action Network -

    The Arab American Action Network, based in Chicago, is a grassroots non profit that provides a range of social, educational and training services to the community, but also works on issues of cultural heritage awareness and cross cultural engagement with other communities


    Arab American Civic Council -

    The Arab American Civic Council is a grassroots organization that builds community by facilitating civic participation towards justice and equity.


    Access Community -

    Based in Dearborn, Michigan, ACCESS supports one of the largest Arab and Arab American communities outside the Middle East, that found in Detroit and its Suburbs.

    From its website

    Today, ACCESS is the largest Arab American community nonprofit in the United States. With 10 locations and more than 120 programs serving metro Detroit, ACCESS offers a wide range of social, economic, health and educational services to a diverse population.

    ACCESS continues to honor its Arab American heritage while serving as a nonprofit model of excellence. The agency is dedicated to community-building, focused on service to those in need.


    American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee -

    Founded in 1980, the ADC is perhaps the most important National Arab American organization today. Its goals, from its website

    Defend and promote human rights, civil rights, and liberties of Arab Americans and other persons of Arab heritage.

    Combat stereotypes and discrimination against and affecting the Arab-American community in the United States.

    Serve as a public voice for the Arab American community in the United States on domestic and foreign policy issues.

    Educate the American public in order to promote greater understanding of Arab history and culture.

    Advance the cause for transnational social justice with communities of color and oppressed peoples domestically and internationally.


    The Arab American Association of New York -

    From website

    Our mission is to support and empower the Arab American and Arab immigrant community by providing services to help them adjust to their new home and become active members of society. Our aim is for families to achieve goals of independence, productivity, and stability.


    Arab American Institute -

    To confront what was coined the “Politics of Exclusion” by our co-founders, the Arab American Institute Foundation was launched in 1995 by the Arab American Institute as the civic engagement arm of the Arab American community.  For over twenty years, AAIF has engaged with the 3.7 million Arab Americans living in all 50 states to encourage their full participation in local, state, and national governance.


    Arab Cultural & Community Center Arab arts and culture -

     The Arab Cultural and Community Center (ACCC) of San Francisco is a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting Arab art and culture and enriching the lives of the Arab American community. The ACCC achieves this by providing culturally focused social services and promoting cross-cultural events to all residents of the Bay Area and beyond, drawing upon our Arab-American heritage and traditions to guide their work.


    Arab Resource and Organizing Center, San Francisco, CA -

    The Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) envisions powerful and liberated Arab communities living with dignity from here to our homelands. We see the liberation of Arab people inextricably tied to the liberation of all people of color.


    Yallah Count Me In -

    A community organizing tool that provides census and other data concerning Arab American Communities in each state of the union.


    Arab American Bar Association -

    The Arab American Bar Association ("AABA") is an organization committed to diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, with a focus on assisting in the recruitment, retention, and advancement of  individuals of Arab descent in law schools and in the legal profession.  


    National Arab American Medical Association -

  • MSU Press Scholarly and Literary Publications on Arab Americans
  • Student Organizations at MSU

    Arab Cultural Society


    Iraqi American Union


    Lebanese Student Association


    Middle Eastern Law Student Association


    MSU Women of Color Community


    National Arab American Medical Association NextGen - Graduate Student Chapter


    Saudi Student Organization at MSU


    Students Organize for Syria


    Students United for Palestinian Rights

  • Media
    Arab American News (Dearborn based newspaper)


    Click on Detroit Arab American Community

  • Michigan State University Resources
    MSU Arabic Langauge Program

    MSU Muslim Studies Program

    Muslims of the Midwest Archive (not limited to Arab Americans)   

    Migrations of Islam (not limited to Arab Americans)

    MSU Muslim Studies and School of Journalism

    Michigan State University School of Journalism. 2014. 100 questions & answers about Arab Americans. Canton, Mich.: Read the Spirit Books