Dear SPIA Community,
Today, April 1, marks the start of National Arab American Heritage Month (NAAHM) in the United States. President Joe Biden became the first sitting president in U.S. history to officially recognize April as NAAHM last year, in a letter to Arab America and the Arab America Foundation. In 2021, the Department of State and Congress also issued proclamations recognizing NAAHM.
Arab Americans are immigrants and descendants of immigrants from the many countries of the Arab world — like my parents, who came to the U.S. from Palestine. Having spent my formative years both in Ramallah and in northern California, I feel a strong kinship with so many hard-working and compassionate families whose similar stories are a vital part of our nation’s fabric.
The Arab American community is comprised of more than 3 million individuals representing a diverse array of backgrounds, cultures, and traditions. Like so many ethnic communities in the U.S., it is incredibly diverse in faith, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and ability. I invite you to join me — this month and beyond — in reflecting on the culture and heritage of Arab Americans and commemorating the many contributions they have made to this country’s identity, economy, and culture.
At SPIA, it’s a priority of mine to ensure those of Arab American descent — and all our diverse communities — feel welcomed, respected, supported, and celebrated. It’s equally important to me that we work together as a School to ensure Arab American perspectives and experiences are equally represented in policymaking debates and policy-relevant research. I look forward to working in partnership toward this goal and welcome your ideas and input.