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Friday April 17, 2015

Arab American-led initiative promotes Nile River cooperation

By Eve Soliman
Winter Intern, 2015

On Monday, March 23rd the leaders of Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan signed a preliminary agreement approving Ethiopia’s hydroelectric project and provide the framework principles for building the dam that would impact the entire region. The construction of Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam is projected to be completed in 2017 and will cost $4.2 billion dollars. Read More »

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Tuesday April 14, 2015

John Sexton to receive the Award for Individual Achievement at the 2015 Gibran Awards Gala

“The status quo is not an option. We’re in for what I call a radical restructuring of higher education today.” John Sexton established himself as a pioneer figure in the formation of the Global Network University as the President of New York University. Mr. Sexton helped make the idea of borderless education possible and has made great strides to improve U.S. relations with the rest of the world through the unifying force of education.  Read More »

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Tuesday April 07, 2015

Alaa Basatneh, Peaceful Syrian Protestor’s Ally in Chicago

By Maha Elsamahi
Winter Intern, 2015

When speaking with Alaa Basatneh, you immediately get a sense of her quiet tenacity and unrelenting hope. At only 22, she has become an essential player in organizing peaceful protests against the Syrian regime from her home in Chicago. Read More »

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Thursday April 02, 2015

Unsung Heroes

By Maha Elsamahi
Winter Intern, 2015

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, it’s important to remember the women in the Middle East and all over the world who work daily and without fanfare to ensure that their communities are just and peaceful places. When the cameras are off and journalists have moved on to the next story, their work continues—often at great personal risk. Read More »

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Monday March 30, 2015

Perseverance at Its Best

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recent announcement that public schools in New York City will be closed in observance of the two most sacred Muslim holidays, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, represents a meaningful achievement for the American Muslim community in New York, but also for the community nationally. Read More »

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Friday March 27, 2015

Michael Baroody to receive the Najeeb Halaby Award for Public Service at the 2015 Gibran Awards Gala

For the past seventeen years, the Arab American Institute Foundation has celebrated exceptional individuals whose work and service reflect the ideals of the great Lebanese-American poet Kahlil Gibran by promoting inclusion, cooperation, and greater understanding among people with diverse backgrounds. The Najeeb Halaby Award for Public Service was created in 2004, in collaboration with Her Majesty Queen Noor, to honor Arab Americans who have excelled in public service and have strong pride in their ethnic heritage. Over his long career Mr. Baroody has demonstrated dedication to both his country and community, ranging from time serving in the administration of President Ronald Reagan and many posts with elected officials at the state and federal level, to spearheading efforts as treasurer of the Kahlil Gibran Memorial Foundation to build and maintain the memorial sculpture dedicated to the Lebanese-American poet in Washington, DC.  Read More »

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Wednesday March 25, 2015

Spy Games

A new game, TouchTone, released this week to the iTunes app store puts you in the shoes of a National Security Agency analyst. To move through the levels, you must solve puzzles in order to intercept communications from potential security threats, all while answering to your handler, codenamed “patriot”. The game is unsettling, after solving a puzzle correctly, you’re able to read private emails and make an assessment on whether to report them as suspicious activity. The more of these messages you read, the less sure you are of your ability to distinguish threats, and the less agency you feel you have in making your assessments. Read More »

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Monday March 23, 2015

Comedy and Crackdowns in Egypt

By Maha Elsamahi
Winter Intern, 2015

The wave of expression and revitalization of public discourse that came with the Arab uprisings of 2011 has since given way to increased repression and a crackdown on activists, journalists, and even comedians in Egypt. With laws mandating life imprisonment for accepting foreign funding to the ban on protests near official buildings, state policies have made it incredibly difficult for human rights activists to safely continue their work and Egyptian civil society to function normally. Read More »

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Friday March 20, 2015

Journalist Lawrence Wright to receive the Anthony Shadid Award for Excellence in Journalism

We created the Anthony Shadid award in 2012 with Anthony Shadid's widow, Nada Bakri, as a way of honoring journalists whose coverage of the Arab world or the Arab American community has had groundbreaking impact. It is for his commitment to humanizing and demystifying the Middle East’s most complex people and conflicts that we celebrate Lawrence Wright with the Anthony Shadid Award for Excellence in Journalism at this year’s 2015 Kahlil Gibran "Spirit of Humanity" Awards Gala, on April 29 in Washington, DC. Read More »

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Friday March 20, 2015

Arab Portrayals in Film: A History of Stereotypes

Dr. Jack Shaheen, the author of “Reel Bad Arabs” and “A is for Arab: Archiving Stereotypes in US Popular Culture”, has spent his career analyzing the way Arabs have been portrayed in American film and television over the last century. In 2006, his book “Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies People” was adapted into a documentary and shown across the United States and to global audiences. In his book Shaheen asks “What is an Arab? In countless films, Hollywood alleges the answer: Arabs are brute murderers, sleazy rapists, religious fanatics, oil-rich dimwits, and abusers of women.” Shaheen’s book and documentary highlight the many examples in the American media that portray Arabs and the Middle East with the same repetitive negative stereotypes over the last century. Read More »

Posted by Shadi Matar at 3:04 pm / / Leave a comment

Friday March 13, 2015

Laura Blundy: Committed to Justice and Civil Rights

Two weeks ago, the United States Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) appointed Arab American Laura Blundy to its Florida State Advisory Committee. Laura will be the only Arab American and American Muslim serving on the Florida committee. Read More »

Posted by Joan Hanna at 9:09 am / / Leave a comment

Thursday March 12, 2015

Grabbing Control of the Reins: The Republican Congress’s Attempt to Orchestrate U.S. Foreign Policy

From the brutal conflict in Syria, to Boko Haram in Nigeria, and pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine the White House has its hands full in implementing a U.S. foreign policy agenda that buttresses American interests and national security. Prominent Republicans, including Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner (OH-8), and Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Edward Royce (CA-39), have consistently criticized theadministration’s actions on multiple foreign policy fronts. Read More »

Posted by Eddie Bejarano at 11:51 am / / Leave a comment

Thursday March 12, 2015

Producer, Actress, and Activist Salma Hayek Pinault to receive Award for Individual Achievement

We established the Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards in 1999 to recognize the work of people and institutions that make a difference. The awards embody Gibran’s pride in his Arab heritage and his universal love of humanity. Read More »

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Monday March 09, 2015

What does an Arab festival have to do with losing your bid for mayor?

Every summer since 2006, Chicagoans have looked forward to watching traditional Arab dances, eating delicious Arabic cuisine created by local chefs, and learning about the diversity of Arab culture at the Arabesque Festival. The Arabesque festival was, in part, created by former Mayor Richard M. Daley and ran until 2011. In 2012, that came to an end with the election of Rahm Emanuel. Read More »

Posted by Shadi Matar at 4:31 pm / / Leave a comment

Monday March 09, 2015

Attorney General Eric Holder’s Proposal to Change the Future of Civil Rights

By Eve Soliman
Winter Intern, 2015

Approaching his final weeks in office, Attorney General Eric Holder has called for critical reforms to the U.S. criminal justice system to lower the standard of proof required for a crime to be considered a civil rights violation.  Read More »

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Saturday March 07, 2015

50 Years After Selma: Our Past, Our Future

Today, President Barack Obama is in Selma, Alabama to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act and the iconic marches that turned violent. As national attention focuses in on the anniversary of both the march and the VRA, we must not only remember what has taken place in the recent past, but we must use this as a time to reflect on the state of voting rights today.  Read More »

Posted by Kristin McCarthy at 8:33 am / / Leave a comment

Friday February 27, 2015

A Common Cause: Police Profiling Plagues Arab American and Communities of Color

By Eve Soliman
Winter Intern, 2015

The historic civil rights movement that has seen so much progress continues to be extremely important in pushing for greater equality and confronting societal ills. One of those battles is the use profiling by government law enforcement agencies. Over the past decade, profiling has had a harmful effect not only on the African American community, but the Arab American community as well. Read More »

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Wednesday February 25, 2015

For Sale: The Administration’s New Drone Policy

By Maha Elsamahi
Winter Intern, 2015

Last week the State Department announced that after a long internal review, the U.S. would now allow for the sale of armed drones to allied countries. While the U.S. has sold unarmed drones—utilized mostly for intelligence purposes—to allies such as Italy and France, this is the first time that armed drones would be sold to a country other than the UK. Read More »

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Friday February 20, 2015

More than Symbolism: Why a Name Change of a Judiciary Subcommittee Matters

"The new Senate Republican Majority’s decision to expunge civil rights and human rights from this subcommittee’s name is a discouraging sign given the growing diversity of our nation and the complex civil and human rights challenges we face,” reads a statement released by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. The sharp words were a response to Senator John Cornyn’s (R-TX) decision to rename a Senate Judiciary subcommittee from the subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights to only the subcommittee on the Constitution. Read More »

Posted by Eddie Bejarano at 4:37 pm / / Leave a comment

Friday February 20, 2015

Nakba Museum: Of Memory and Hope

In 2011, Bshara Nassar participated in a New Story Leadership program that brought together young Israelis and Palestinians in a powerful learning experience. The program took 18 participants to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum which certainly seemed like an appropriate site for reflection. Read More »

Posted by Shadi Matar at 4:35 pm / / Leave a comment

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