Posted by Arab American Institute on January 28, 2016 in Blog
The Arab American Institute is proud to launch its first annual Arab American Leadership Council Middle East Study Tour as part of our Arab American Generations programming.
The ALC Study Tour takes a group of Arab American elected and appointed officials to three countries in the Middle East - one in the Gulf, one in North Africa, and one in the Levant - to meet with government officials, civil society leaders, United States officials, business owners, and academic institutions in order to learn the perspectives and challenges U.S. policymakers must reckon with in making informed foreign policy decisions. AAI specifically seeks to engage the Arab American farm team of locally elected officials serving communities across the country, many of whom will seek higher office. Though accomplished public servants, many of our community’s best and brightest have had limited exposure to the Arab World. This program is designed to empower Arab American officials to be stronger advocates for better policies, while also establishing a strong relationship between both peoples to overcome the East-West divide.
For AAI’s first ALC Study Tour, six Arab American elected officials traveled to the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Lebanon for extensive meetings and site visits to learn each country’s political, business, and cultural history and future outlook.
AAI Executive Director Maya Berry and Policy Director Kristin McCarthy led six Arab American elected officials to the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Lebanon for extensive meetings and site visits to learn each country’s political, business, and cultural history and outlook.
Maya Berry said, "This first group of delegates showed us immediately how this program can serve as a bridge of understanding and eventually, action."
The January 2016 delegates are:
|City Council President and lawyer Susan Dabaja (Dearborn, Michigan). Susan’s family is from Bint Jbeil, Lebanon.||Former State Representative and candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, Dr. Matt Heinz (Tucson, Arizona). Dr. Heinz's grandfather is from Dhour El Choueir, Lebanon.|
|City Councilmember and business owner Sam Hindi (Foster City, California). Sam's family is of Palestinian origin, his parents lived as refugees in Lebanon before moving to the United States.||Former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Nick J. Rahall (Beckley, West Virginia). Congressman Rahall’s grandfather immigrated to the United States from the village of Kefeir in the Asbaya district of South Lebanon.|
|Former State Representative and lawyer Rashida Tlaib (Detroit, Michigan). Rashida's family is from Beit Hanina, Palestine.||Mayor and business owner Ali Saleh (Bell, California). Ali's family is from the village of Yaroun in South Lebanon.|
Read published articles written by the delegates about how this program has impacted them:
- Sam Hindi: "An eye-opening study trip"