Posted by Shadi Matar on June 16, 2015 in Blog

rima_with_award.jpegAt the 15th annual Orange County Flag Day celebration on June 13, Rima Nashashibi received the Nagi Daifallah Social Justice Award.

Nagi Daifallah was a young Yemeni man who was an active member of the labor union, United Farm Workers, who was killed by a police officer for his participation in the 1973 California Grape Strike.

A leader in the Arab American community both in her home state of California and internationally, no one is more fit to receive this award than Rima Nashashibi. Nashashibi has over two decades of experience and dedication working with issues such as women empowerment, gender equity, and racial anti-discrimination. Born in Jerusalem, Palestine, Rima received her degree in Economics from the American University of Beirut before she immigrated to the U.S. in 1980, settling in Orange County, California.

Ms. Nashashibi's political career began with her serving as a delegate to the California Democratic Party in 1988. Ten years later, she made history when she was elected in 1998 as the first Arab American to serve the Democratic Party of Orange County. She engaged Arab Americans on the importance of voting and being involved in political life. Nashashibi also saw the importance of building bridges within and between communities, evident in her involvement and founding of several caucuses and advocacy groups.

Nashashibi has founded and led local, regional, national, and international organizations such as the Arab American Caucus, the Arab American Democratic Club of Orange County, and the Coalition of Women from Asia and the Middle East. She is the former Western Region chair for the Arab American Institute and previous President of the Orange County Chapter of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. Her continued desire to assist Arab Americans was recognized by the American Consulate of Jerusalem, who requested Nashashibi to conduct a workshop for future political leaders in the West Bank.

While promoting engagement with Arab Americans and Arabs throughout the United States and abroad, Nashashibi also highlights the importance of intersectionality within political activism. She has served as a panelist covering subjects such as women and their role in conflict management, achieving sustainable peace, and has spoken in Kuwait, Qatar, and the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Challenging the false stereotypes of Islam and demonstrating the progress of the American Muslim and Arab American community in government and politics, Nashashibi was selected as one of ten public figures and activists to be profiled in Paul Findley’s book Silent No More: Confronting America’s False Images of Islam.

Ms. Nashashibi holds a number of board positions across many different types of organizations. She is the appointed chair at the University of California at Irvine, appointed member of the Arab American Museum, member of Women of Visio Orange County, and Advisory Board Member of UNWRA, and is presently the managing partner of Nashashibi International Consultants, LLC.

Nashashibi is the recipient of numerous awards, including: Life Time Achievement Award by the Arab American Democrats of California, In Honor of Women Making a Difference in Orange County 2012 by the California State Senate, Harry S. Truman Lifetime Achievement Award by the Democratic Party of Orange County 2006, and the Protégé Award 2006 by the American Business Women Association.  

As she continues to promote openness, tolerance, fairness, and justice for persons of all genders, ethnicities, and religious backgrounds, it is no surprise Nashashibi is receiving the Nagi Daifallah Social Justice Award. Nashashibi’s unceasing dedication and passion to build, connect, and inspire communities has not gone unnoticed.