Posted on June 02, 2016

In celebration of the third annual Immigrant Heritage Month, AAI is continuing our "Together We Came" campaign to highlight outstanding Arab American immigrants and their descendants who have had an indelible impact on the vibrancy of our nation. From creating the first artificial heart to sending the first shuttle into space, the Arab American community has been an important part of American growth and success. The portraits of Arab Americans shared here will remind us that the United States is a nation defined by our diversity and the contributions of countless immigrants from all over the world. Click here to share your own immigrant story or email it to us at

2016 Immigrant Heritage Month Portraits

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha


The “whistleblower” of the Flint water crisis, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha is a pediatrician recognized as one of the community's key advocates.

The daughter of Iraqi immigrants, who first settled in the UK and later moved to Michigan, Hanna-Attisha says her motivation for working with impoverished communities comes from her parents’ experience living through injustice in Iraq. Watching the struggles her parents faced when they first arrived in the U.S. also helped equip her for this work. Continue reading...



Rami Malek


Capturing American audiences as Elliot Alderson in the “compulsively watchable” TV series, Mr. Robot, Rami Malek was born in Los Angeles to Egyptian parents. Malek cherishes his connection to the Arab world and his ability to advance the representation of Arab Americans on television and in the movies. He has received critical acclaim for his performance as a paranoid cyber hacker on Mr. Robot. After the series’ first season, Malek won “Best Actor in a Drama Series” at the Critics’ Choice Award and was nominated for a number of other awards, including a Golden Globe, Satellite Award, Screen Actors Guild, and two Dorian Awards. Continue reading...



Diana Al-Hadid


A Brooklyn-based artist, Diana Al-Hadid was born in Aleppo, Syria in 1981. At the age of five, her family immigrated to Cleveland, Ohio. The daughter of a florist and an insurance agent, Al-Hadid pursued a BFA at Kent State University and an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. She later attended the prestigious Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Continue reading...




Robert George


For many, Christmas represents a time of hope and joy, and for those who knew Robert George, Christmas did not just come once a year. Born in 1924 to Lebanese parents, George was inspired with a vision in 1949 to “become Santa Claus”. When he moved to Los Angeles a few years later, George transformed his home into a year-round Christmas display, decked with Styrofoam snow, twinkling lights, a toy train, and thousands of donated toys. Continue reading...




Richard Hanna


Known for his community and work experiences, voting transparency and willingness to put partisan politics aside, Richard Hanna has represented New York’s 22nd district in the House of Representatives since 2011. Of Lebanese descent, Hanna was born and raised in upstate New York. After his father’s sudden death when Hanna was just twenty years old, he became the primary supporter of his mother and four sisters, a responsibility that required Hanna to put his education on hold. Continue reading...





Mona Yacoubian


Mona Yacoubian is one of Washington’s most knowledgeable foreign policy experts. You've probably heard her analysis on C-SPAN or PBS NewsHour, or read her numerous articles in Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, and Foreign Policy magazine. A Fulbright Scholar and member of the Council on Foreign Relations Yacoubian is currently  Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Middle East at the U.S.Agency for International Development (USAID). Continue reading...



Dr. Mohamed El-Erian


Wildly successful economist, academic, journalist, author and consultant, Dr. Mohamed El-Erian, was no match for his 10-year old daughter who revealed to him in an astute letter the one job where he wasn’t exceeding expectations: being her dad. This letter poignantly listed 22 milestones, “from her first day at school… to a Halloween parade,” that her father had missed that year due to his demanding work schedule. And just like that, El-Erian went from overseeing the management of almost $2 trillion of assets for PIMCO to co-scheduling a private father-daughter holiday with a very persuasive ten-year old. Continue reading...


Hala Gorani


Hala Gorani, who considers her role to be the "eyes and ears of the people who are not there" has been able to galvanize global empathy for some of the world’s most tragic events. In her 22 years of journalism and field reporting, Gorani has reported from every country in the Middle East, and is often among the first reporters on the ground. Her coverage has resulted in many honors including an Edward R. Murrow Award for her coverage of the Lebanon-Israel War in 2006, a Golden Nymphfor the Haiti earthquake in 2010, an Emmy for the Egyptian Revolution in 2011, and a Peabody for the Arab Spring in 2012. Continue reading...





Jamie Farr


A veteran of American television, Jamie Farr entertained audiences as a homesick Army Corporal in the 1970s television series M*A*S*H. Born Jameel Yusuf Abud Farah in Toledo, Ohio, Farr is one of many Arab Americans who have graced both the silver and the small screen. Raised in a Lebanese community, Farr is not only proud of his heritage, but he makes sure to incorporate his own life experiences into his work.  Continue reading...









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Together We Came Archives:

2015 Immigrant Heritage Month Portraits

2014 Immigrant Heritage Month Portraits