Together We Came: Champions of Change

Posted by Arab American Institute on June 26, 2015 in Blog
On the occasions of Immigrant Heritage Month and World Refugee Day (June 20th), it seems fitting that President Obama should honor those extraordinary people who have fled their home countries, and endured to pursue successful lives in the United States. Mariela Shaker and Marwan Sweedan, refugees from Syria and Iraq, respectively, were recognized by the White House yesterday as “Champions of Change.” The White House describes these individuals as “ordinary Americans who are doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.”
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Together We Came: Cherien Dabis

Posted by Arab American Institute on June 19, 2015 in Blog
Award winning director, producer, and screenwriter, Cherien Dabis is a source of inspiration both on and off the screen. Dabis was born in Omaha, Nebraska on November 27, 1976 to a Palestinian father and Jordanian mother and visited Palestine for the first time when she was just eight years old. Her latest award-winning film, May in Summer, has made waves by highlighting the complex identities of people and families in the Arab world, with both sadness and humor.
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Palestinian Comedians Make History

Posted by Gabrielle Borg on June 09, 2015 in Blog
On Friday, June 5th, four Palestinian comedians made history by being the first Palestinian comedy production to perform at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The comedy tour called, “Being Palestinian Makes Me Smile” was created by Amer Zahr and included special guests Mike Easmeil, Mona Aburimshan, and Said Durrah. Together, the comedians sold out the prestigious venue and attracted a diverse group of people. Opener Mike Easmeil joked that the “opera was in the theatre across the hall” in case non-Arab guests in attendance had wandered in by accident.
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Salma Hayek Pinault Honors the Spirit of Kahlil Gibran and Celebrates her Arab Heritage

Posted by Waseem Mardini on May 01, 2015 in Blog
Award-winning actor and activist Salma Hayek Pinault received the Award for Individual Achievement for her tireless work to improve the lives of women and girls worldwide. In an interview with Al Arabiya, Ms. Hayek said she was honored to receive this award from the Arab American Institute and spoke of the importance of reminding people of "the tremendous contributions that the Arab American community" has made to the United States. Taking to the stage at the 2015 Kahlil Gibran Gala on April 29 in Washington, DC, Salma began by speaking of her heritage beginning in Mexico. Her birthplace Coatzacoalcos in the Mexican state of Veracruz, was home to communities with roots in the Middle East including her paternal grandparents who are Lebanese. Salma said she was raised to be proud of her Arab heritage.
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A Nuanced Lens Capturing the Middle East

Posted by on April 21, 2015 in Blog
By Maha Elsamahi Winter Intern, 2015 Having a foot in both the Middle East and the U.S. profoundly influenced Matar’s photography, “Although I belong in many ways to the Middle East, I am still seeing it with fresh eyes and perspectives.”
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Arab American-led initiative promotes Nile River cooperation

Posted by on April 17, 2015 in Blog

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.

The dam is designed to generate 6,000 megawatts of clean and sustainable energy for the region and advance Ethiopia’s development. At 1,780 meters wide and 145 meters tall, it will be the largest dam on...

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Unsung Heroes

Posted by on April 02, 2015 in Blog
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.
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Laura Blundy: Committed to Justice and Civil Rights

Posted by on March 13, 2015 in Blog

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. The USCCR is an incredibly important body, one that is required to fill its advisory committees with a balanced, diverse representation of political and philosophical viewpoints; Laura’s appointment is a huge step forward in giving official capacity to the Arab and American Muslim communities. USCCR is charged with “studying issues relating to discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex,...

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50 Years After Selma: Our Past, Our Future

Posted by on March 07, 2015 in Blog

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. Aptly referred to as “Bloody Sunday,” the march in Selma was an important turning point in the civil rights movement. Worldwide TV coverage broadcast powerful and shameful images of police officers brutally attacking nonviolent marchers who were attempting to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The resulting media attention and government intervention to protect future civil rights marches helped spur the passage of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) just five months later,...

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AAI Celebrates Black History Month

Posted on February 19, 2015 in Arab American Institute

Throughout the month of February, AAI will be celebrating Black History Month by revisiting the lives and stories of African American leaders in the civil rights movement who paved the way for greater justice and equality.

  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...

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