Posted on June 01, 2018

In celebration of the fifth 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. Now more than ever, it is crucial that we celebrate immigrants and share their stories. In times of bigotry and fear, these stories remind us that the United States is a nation defined by diversity and the contributions of countless immigrants from all over the world.

From creating the first artificial heart to sending the shuttle into space, the Arab American community has been an important part of our country’s growth and success.  Click here to share your own immigrant story or email it to us at

2018 Immigrant Heritage Month Portraits 

Abie Abraham

“I was never one of those guys, hero guys wearing medals and all that,” Abie Abraham once said. His bravery in WWII and his continued service after, however, tell a different story.

Abie was born on July 31, 1913 in Lyndora, Pennsylvania to Syrian immigrants Elias and Esther Thomson Abraham, the third of 11 children. His father arrived on Ellis Island on May 18, 1902 when he was just 14 years old. As a teenager, Abie set a Guinness World Record by sitting on a tree stump for three months, the first sign of the discipline and dedication that he would continue to show throughout his life. Read more...

Callie Khouri 

The movie Thelma & Louise took the world by storm when it hit theatres. Although controversial at first, it eventually became a classic, with its strong female leads resonating well amongst audiences. The writer of the screenplay, Callie Khouri, used her passion and creativity to be an advocate for women’s rights throughout her life.

Khouri was born November 27,1957, to a Lebanese American doctor and a “southern belle.” She spent her early childhood in San Antonio as an Army brat... Read more...

JJ Totah

June is pride month and Arab American teenage actor JJ Totah is a powerful force for the LGBTQ community, reminding everyone to be proud of who they are.

Totah was born in Sacramento, California to a family with Palestinian, Lebanese, and Italian ancestry. As a child, he was aware of the stereotypes and protocols of how young boys were supposed to act. Totah, in many ways, did not lead the life of a normal kid. While most children had dreams of being teachers or engineers, JJ had always wanted “to be Wendy Williams” and host a talk show. Read more...

Dr. Najat Khelil

Dr. Najat Arafat Khelil is a pioneer in the field of science, becoming the first woman in Texas to earn a doctorate in nuclear physics in 1974. Since then, she has dedicated her life to education and the development of young leaders, whether in the field of science or to assist in conflict resolution in the Middle East. Read more...

Ayman Mohyeldin

Throughout his career, Ayman Mohyeldin showed immense bravery, risking his life on dangerous assignments as a foreign news correspondent. His thorough and heartfelt reporting earned him a spot as one of Time Magazine’s most influential people. Read more...


Reem Assil

Reem Assil uses her expert cooking skills as a way to unite her community, scrapping prejudice whenever possible.

Growing up in Boston, there were times when Reem’s Arab heritage made her different from her fellow students, like bringing Arabic food when everyone else was eating peanut butter and jelly. Her mother would react with open arms and invite the children to learn how to make baklawa, “food was a way to connect.Read more...



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Together We Came Archives:

2017 Immigrant Heritage Month Portraits

2016 Immigrant Heritage Month Portraits

2015 Immigrant Heritage Month Portraits

2014 Immigrant Heritage Month Portraits