2016 Summer Interns


James Abate is a rising senior at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service; he is studying International Politics and Arab Studies. He has just returned from studying Arabic and literature in Amman, Jordan. James's family is Lebanese and Italian and he prides himself on his unique ethnic heritage. This summer he is interning in the policy department at the Truman National Security Project. At university, he is the president of the Georgetown University Arab Society as he is passionate about his community in and around Washington D.C. James's interests include foreign policy in the Arab world, the Arab diaspora, political philosophy, and infrastructure development. He is hoping to attend law school after graduating from Georgetown and eventually plans to return to live in the Middle East. 



Leila Elaqad is a senior majoring in Sociology at The Ohio State University, with minors in Arabic and Women’s Gender and Sexuality studies. Leila is of Palestinian and Croatian heritage and is very interested in issues of immigration and race in the U.S. This summer she is working as AAI’s external intern in Senator Richard Durbin’s office until July, at which point she will begin working as AAI’s policy intern. In Columbus, she has worked as a resident assistant at a nonprofit that  provides housing and support to physically disabled individuals and as a teaching assistant in OSU’s Sociology and Political Science departments. On campus, she has been active in advocacy related to women, LGBT communities, and the divest campaign. Leila hopes to combat anti-Arab discrimination, to build solidarity with other marginalized groups, and to uphold American values of free speech by fighting anti-BDS legislation.





Emma Ashooh will be a senior at American University in Washington D.C this fall. She is a scholar in the three-year Politics, Policy, and Law Program, majoring in Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government  (CLEG) with a minor in Arab Studies.  Originally from New Hampshire, Emma is of Lebanese descent and enjoys sharing the tastiness of Lebanese food with her friends.  She is passionate about national security, refugees, the Middle East, and policy affecting all three.  Previously, Emma studied abroad in Amman, Jordan and interned in Amman, on the Hill for her senator, and at a law firm in D.C. Emma is an external intern with Churches for Middle East Peace.




Kevin Hack is a first year M.A. student at the Johns Hopkins University School of International Studies (SAIS) with a concentration in Middle Eastern Studies. Before coming to Washington, DC Kevin lived in California, where he completed his undergraduate education, and later, worked in a Congressional District Office in Riverside, CA. At AAI, his interests include foreign policy issues, Islamophobia and American perspectives on Palestine. In his free time, Kevin enjoys brunch, cooking, and visiting museums in DC. Kevin is an external intern in Lebanon with the Unite Lebanon Youth Project.




Hannah Locop will be a senior in the Fall of 2016 studying Political Science at the University of Florida. Minoring in International Development and Arabic, Hannah’s interests lie in U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. In the summer of 2015, Hannah interned with a congressional office on Capitol Hill and she finds that her experience there is especially helpful as AAI’s Government Relations Intern. She hopes to learn more about the domestic issues that Arab Americans face, including domestic surveillance and Islamophobia, and to take those with her into a future career in policy or government affairs.



Natalie Nisco-Frank, from Syracuse, NY, is going into her senior year at Cornell University, where she is majoring in Policy Analysis and Management, and working towards three minors: Inequality Studies, Law & Society, and Crime, Prisons, Education, & Justice. Passionate about social justice and community empowerment, Natalie spent six years before coming to Washington, DC, working at the Brady Faith Center—a non-profit family center in Syracuse’s inner city. As a young woman of Lebanese descent, Natalie understands the importance of representation and civic and political participation at the federal and community level. For this reason, she is thrilled to join in the mission of the Arab American Institute as the Communications Intern. Natalie is also passionate about immigration policy, combating anti- Arab and Muslim stereotypes and discrimination, and supporting justice initiatives for the people of Palestine.



Hind Omar will be a senior at the University of Michigan in the fall. She is pre-law double majoring in Political Science with a focus on Comparative Politics and International Studies with a focus on International Security, Cooperation, and Norms, as well as a minor in Arab and Muslim American Studies. She has conducted research regarding Arab/Jewish relations, Islamophobia, and anti-terrorism. Hind is of Palestinian heritage and loves the depth and richness of Palestinian culture and history. Hind's interests include U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, domestic policy impacting Arab American communities, and U.S. national security. Hind is the Programs Intern with AAI.




 Michael Salib is a rising junior at Boston College majoring in Political Science with a minor in Arabic Studies. Originally from Syosset, NY, Michael is of Egyptian descent and is interested principally in the history of discrimination of minorities in the Middle East, as well as Arab-American relations and the deep-set nationalistic identities of countries in the region, as explored by writers such as Taha Hussein, e.g. Pharaonism, Phonecianism, etc. Michael is passionate about ameliorating some of the issues that have long plagued the Middle East through this bettered understanding of historical and cultural heritage of the region as a whole. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and traveling. Michael is an external intern with No One Left Behind.




Jacob Saliba is a junior at the Catholic University of America working towards an International Relations degree, with minors in Islamic World Studies & Spanish. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio Jacob is of Lebanese & Palestinian heritage and since an early age has been passionate about Modern Middle East development. His interests include Lebanese Sectarianism, the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, Middle Eastern Diasporas and the cultural diversity that makes up the region. Currently, Jacob is working on the final touches for two personal projects, Concessions for Peace & the Greater Middle East Index. For each project, Saliba hopes to bring different groups to promote peaceful solutions & expand their cultural perspectives. Jacob is interning with The Brookings Institution.




Alex Totah began his internship at the Arab American Institute in the summer of 2016, after interning on Capital Hill the previous semester.  He is from Los Angles California, where he briefly attended UCLA, after which he transferred. He is now in his Junior year at George Mason University and is studying Political Science and Government. After he graduates, he aims to participate in the Teach for American program, move to Europe and teach English, go to Culinary school, or get a paying job on Capital Hill.