The University of Toledo is celebrating National Arab American Heritage Month with a series of weekly events beginning Thursday, April 6, through Friday, April 28.
“This is a great opportunity to continue our mission as an educational institution to promote intercultural understanding, dispel myths and showcase the diverse culture of Arab Americans,” said Dr. Gaby Semaan, associate professor of Arabic and director of Middle East Studies.
“This is very important, especially for a cultural group that has been historically misrepresented, stereotyped and even vilified, intentionally or out of ignorance, in both media and academia sometimes.”
National Arab American Heritage Month was first recognized by President Biden’s administration and the U.S. Department of State in 2021.
“This month is an amazing opportunity for Arab Americans to showcase the fruits of our heritage that we proudly carry,” said Lila Jarouche, president of UToledo’s Lebanese Student Association and a senior studying political science.
Firas Hasan, president of the University’s Middle East and North Africa Association, said: “As an Arab American, this month symbolizes many things to me. It is a reflection on our community’s long history, our shared experiences and the unique struggles we have faced. The national month is also a chance to build stronger intercommunal relations by teaching others about our customs and traditions.”
Added Mary Massouh, a UToledo junior studying nursing: “This is an important month as it allows us to highlight the diversity we have among the Arab American community at the religious, national origin and even intercultural levels. This builds healthy relationships with the larger community.”
• Thursday, April 06, 6 p.m. “Arab Americans in Toledo: Assimilation and Engagement” by Dr. Samir Abu Absi and Dr. Gaby Semaan in Memorial Field House Room 2420.
• Thursday, April 13, 6 p.m. “1001 Things You Wondered about Arab Americans,” by Dr. Dany Doueiri, a professor at California State University San Bernardino (CSUSB), in the UToledo Center for Performing Arts Recital Hall. This event, which is partially funded by UToledo’s University Research Funding Opportunities program, will be a hybrid of in-person and online with students from Stanford University, CSUSB and the University of Michigan able to virtually join.
• Thursday, April 19, from 11:10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. “Exploring the Arab World: 24 Poster Presentations” by students enrolled in the Arabic Language Course 1080 “Culture and Commerce in the Arabic-Speaking World” in Memorial Field House Room 2420.
• Friday, April 28, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. “Unaddressed Hearing Loss in the Middle East: A World-Wide Concern” by international guest speaker Dina Almomani in Health and Human Services Room 1500.
For more information, contact Semaan at Gaby.Semaan@utoledo.edu