Detailed Schedule

Conference sessions and activities will take place at the Dearborn Inn unless otherwise noted in the session description. Session tags, speakers, and room assignments can be found in each session description by clicking the plus sign next to the title.

Thursday, November 16

Pre-Conference Workshops and Activities

Engaging Your Board in Fundraising: What Works?

Engaging their board in fundraising is one of the most important tasks for nonprofit leaders. It’s also one of the most challenging. This highly interactive workshop builds on approaches that have worked for Arab American and other organizations to organize board involvement in fund development, maximize individual giving and inspire board members to reach out to potential donors.

Mike Corbin, Mike Corbin Consulting
Mike Corbin is the former Capacity Building Manager for the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC), a national institution of ACCESS. Prior to his retirement in 2016, he was responsible for organizational development programs for NNAAC member organizations and the support of other ACCESS national programs. Corbin has over 30 years of experience in volunteer program administration, conference and training management, consulting and youth program management. He has been part of major nonprofits such as the United Way, American Red Cross, Lutheran Social Services of Michigan and the Michigan Nonprofit Association.

Session tags: Organizational Development
This session is only open to NNAAC members participating in the NNAAC  Pre-Conference. 

Models of Mental Health Services

Every day, Arab American organizations are meeting the complex needs of the communities they serve, including the need for culturally appropriate mental health services for Arab American communities.  In this workshop, NNAAC member organizations and ACCESS mental health staff will lead a discussion on models of mental health services, funding sustainability, community engagement in this work, and integration into other services.

Suzanne Baker, Access California Services
Suzanne Baker is an AmeriCorps Program Director at Access California Services—a health and human services nonprofit organization that serves the under-served in Anaheim, CA. Prior to her current position, she spent 15 years as a project manager, managing multi-million dollar projects in Iraq. Suzanne was the ACV Project Manager overseeing a seven-million-dollar project funded by USAID/Leahy War Victim fund, designed to assist civilians of conflict in developing countries. Suzanne also implemented two community-based projects funded by King Abdulla II and Crown Prince Hussein Bin Abdullah.

Mona Hijazi, ACCESS
Mona Abdallah-Hijazi is a Public Health Coordinator at ACCESS. She leads the ACCESS Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) Community Coalition and works with Syrian Refugees in its Building Blocks for New Americans Program. She is currently a member of the Healthy Dearborn Coalition Steering Committee, Greater Detroit Area Health Council Opioid Task Force and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention Team. She will be conducting research in collaboration with Michigan State on substance abuse among Arab Americans in the upcoming year through Community-Based Participatory Research.

Mona Makki, ACCESS
Mona Makki is the director of the ACCESS Community Health and Research Center. An impassioned proponent of rights for underserved members of the community, Mona has fearlessly advocated against crime and domestic violence for over a decade. Throughout her career at ACCESS, she has committed herself to improving and empowering the lives of individuals and families who suffer from domestic abuse and behavioral health issues. She has worked tirelessly to collaborate with judges, faith leaders, schools and police departments in the fight against such abuse.

Session tags: Organizational Development
This session is only open to NNAAC members participating in the NNAAC  Pre-Conference. 

Entrepreneurship Through Design Thinking

In this workshop, attendees will explore a methodology to produce innovative strategies with their organizations and teams. The workshop promotes the development of a multi-disciplinary team who will exchange creative ideas that bridge creativity and business thinking.

Rania Khalil-Akkari, ProsperUS
Rania is a mission-driven business designer and a strong believer, and motivator in bringing design literacy and creative thinking to non-creative people who are tackling challenging environmental, political, social, behavioral, architectural, and economical problems. She as an interdisciplinary background.

Session tags: Organizational Development
This session is only open to NNAAC members participating in the NNAAC  Pre-Conference. 

Detroit Experience Factory Bus Tour

The themes that are shaping Detroit right now are community, collaboration, opportunity and innovation, and on the Detroit Experience Factory bus tour, you’ll see how those themes are woven throughout the city. The first half of this tour includes an overview of the people, places and neighborhoods that make up Detroit’s core including Downtown, East Riverfront, Midtown, New Center and Eastern Market. You’ll also see distressed neighborhoods surrounding the core, that are developing unique solutions to the challenges they face.

The second half of the tour will take you inside two of Detroit’s most innovative projects, where you’ll have the opportunity to meet the people reinventing Detroit. By day’s end, you’ll have an insider’s perspective of where Detroit has come from and more importantly, where it is going.

  • Cass Community Services Green Industries, which provides work for adults who have developmental disabilities, mental illnesses, physical restrictions or who have formerly experienced homelessness, war or prison. The items produced at Green Industries are made up from repurposed or recycled material (including flip flops made from tires) that would otherwise end up in a landfill, the city incinerator or remain part of the garbage and blight on vacant lots in Detroit. Learn more here.
  • Eastern Market, a local food district with more than 250 independent vendors and merchants processing, wholesaling and retailing food. This six-block public market has been feeding Detroit since 1891 and is leading the conversation around urban agriculture and food businesses role in economic development. It is also home to over 50 murals and many art galleries and artist spaces including Red Bull House of Art, Salt & Cedar and Division Street Gallery. Learn more here.

4:00 pm – 6:30 pm
The bus tour is included in the MOVE 2017 registration package, but an RSVP is required and can be found on the registration form

Yalla Eat! Bus Tour

Yalla Eat! (Arabic for Let’s go eat!) is an immersive culinary experience offered by the Arab American National Museum (AANM).

Through guided bus tours of Dearborn’s famed Warren Avenue and Michigan Avenue, participants learn the story of Arab Americans in metro Detroit, including the history of Arab American merchants on East Dearborn’s busy commercial strips.

On the Yalla Eat! tours, guests will meet both small and large business owners eager to share the story of their family-run enterprises and savor the sights, sounds and delicious scents at bakeries, nut and coffee houses and fresh produce markets. Traditional Arabic hospitality is on full display, as generous samples are offered along with the stories of individuals, their families and their history.

4:00 pm to 6:30 pm
The bus tour is included in the MOVE 2017 registration package, but an RSVP is required and can be found on the registration form

Welcome Reception

Includes refreshments, entertainment and a Gallery Talk by Nabil Mousa, whose work is presented in the AANM exhibition American Landscape: An Exploration of Art and Humanity (Main Floor Gallery).

Arab American National Museum
6:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Friday, November 17

Opening Plenary - 9:00 am to 10:15 am

Leading Through Challenging Times

In our present social and civil conditions, Arab Americans and other marginalized groups are facing significant challenges in the work that they do. Despite this, every day, leaders from across specialties and backgrounds are spearheading innovative efforts to build a more just and equitable society and contribute to the betterment of their communities. This panel of cross-sector champions will inspire us with their stories, discuss what it means to lead in these difficult times, highlight the intersections between the disciplines in which they work, and share opportunities to collaborate across these disciplines, and discuss ways to build intersectional movements through the groundswell that exists in our current political moment, encouraging us all to embrace our role as leaders.

Ilhan Omar, Minnesota House of Representatives
Jeff Chang, Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University
Maha Freij, ACCESS

Hussien Shousher, GEM, Inc. (Moderator)
Hussien is the CEO of GEM, Inc., an industrial engineering firm and a division of the Rudolph/Libbe Group. He earned a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Toledo in 1981. Hussien and his family are very active in many initiatives, including Propel, that serve people abroad and in their local community. Hussien is the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP) board chair.

For full bios, visit the Speakers section of our website. 

Session tags: Cross-sector plenary session
Dearborn Ballroom
Made possible by the El-Hibri Foundation. 

Track Kickoff Sessions - 10:30 am to 11:30 am

Activism Track Kickoff

The current political climate has created several challenges for our communities. These challenges have also created an opportunity for us to come together to fight back and to move our community forward, shaping the future we want to see. In this opening session, we hear from co-chair of the Women’s March and long-time community organizer Linda Sarsour, who will help ground us in an environment of unapologetic resistance.

Linda Sarsour, Community Organizer
Linda Sarsour is a working woman, community activist, and mother of three. Ambitious, outspoken and independent, Linda shatters stereotypes of Muslim women while also treasuring her religious and ethnic heritage. She is a Palestinian Muslim American and a self-proclaimed “pure New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn!”

Sarsour is the former executive director of the Arab American Association of New York and co-chair of the Women’s March on Washington, which advocated for just legislation and policies regarding human rights and other issues in the largest single-day demonstration in U.S. history. Linda is most notably recognized for her focus on intersectional movement building.

Session tags: Activism
Alexandria Ballroom


Philanthropy Track Kickoff

How does philanthropy empower people to create social change? How can we challenge ourselves to make an even greater impact through our giving? In the philanthropy track opening, Farhan Latif, President of the El-Hibri Foundation, will spark discussions for attendees to have throughout the weekend about the power of philanthropy to create change in their communities. The El-Hibri Foundation was founded by Ibrahim El-Hibri (1936-2007), who focused on tolerance, civic engagement and social responsibility in many philanthropic endeavors, including establishing the El-Hibri Foundation that has grown into a unique and respected example of an institutionalized Arab American philanthropic organization.  Farhan will discuss how the El-Hibri Foundation combines faith and passion for sustainable change, and how you can make a difference and be strategic with your giving at any level.

Farhan Latif, El-Hibri Foundation
Farhan Latif is the President of the El-Hibri Foundation, a DC-based private foundation, focused on building an inclusive America through collective action, capacity building and organizing communities. Prior to joining the foundation, he led the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding to conduct objective research that empowers American Muslims to further community development and fully contribute to democracy and pluralism in the US. He spent over a decade in higher education, building a culture of philanthropy and enabling access for underrepresented, low-income and first-generation students. As a social entrepreneur, he also founded Strategic Inspirations, a social impact consulting firm.

Jeanette Mansour, Center for Arab American Philanthropy Advisory Board (Moderator)
Jeanette Mansour retired from the C.S. Mott Foundation after more than 30 years as the Director of Program Planning and Senior Program Officer. In June 2001, Jeanette received the Peacemaker/Peacebuilder award from the National Peace Foundation for her work in supporting conflict resolution/peacebuilding programs. She earned degrees in history, political science, international law and international relations from Marygrove College in Detroit, the Catholic University of America, the University of Michigan and the American University of Beirut. Jeanette currently serves as Board President of the Arab American Heritage Council in Flint.

Session tags: Philanthropy
Fairlane Room


Bayoumi Remembered and Reimaged: Live-Scoring a Lecture/Film Presentation of Mohamed Bayoumi’s Films, 1923-1933

Key players in the creation of the Arab American National Museum (AANM)’s first-ever commissioned piece will discuss the processes and learning that took place in creating a brand new musical score for presentations of the earliest surviving Arab films. A film screening featuring the world premiere of the score by the National Arab Orchestra is set for 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17, at the Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts (see The Films of Mohamed Bayoumi listing below).

Michael Ibrahim, National Arab Orchestra
Michael Ibrahim is the composer of the score and one of the most innovative artists to emerge on the Arab American music circuit. Born in Detroit to Syrian immigrants, he has studied with Simon Shaheen, Johnny Sarweh and Nadim Dlaikan. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Eastern Michigan University and an MA in conducting from Wayne State University. His unique approach to composition and improvisation has led to recordings and film score projects. Ibrahim is also an active music educator who teaches, lectures and demonstrates Arabic music. He founded the NAO in 2009.

Mohannad Ghawanmeh
Mohannad Ghawanmeh is a film scholar and cineaste. He has produced, acted in, curated for, written about and lectured on film. His expertise is centered on Arab cinema, but extends into silent, non-fiction, transnational and religious cinema. A PhD candidate in Cinema and Media Studies at UCLA, Ghawanmeh is recipient of the Teshome Gabriel Memorial Award and the Dr. Jack Shaheen Memorial Scholarship, among others. He is a 2017-18 fellow at the American Research Center in Egypt. His dissertation investigates the political economy of silent cinema in Egypt, 1896–1932.

Musicians of the National Arab Orchestra, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is dedicated to creating memorable musical experiences through education, cultural outreach and performance, with emphasis on the musical traditions of the Arab World. The NAO is home to the NAO Orchestra, the NAO Takht Ensemble (the format for which this score was written), and the NAO Community Choir, all comprised of professional musicians from diverse backgrounds.

Session tags: DIWAN
Rouge River Room

Lunch Plenary - 11:30 am to 1:00 pm

Comedy as a Tool for Social Activism

What does comedy contribute to our community’s stories? What is it about comedy that makes people listen? Comedians Suzie Afridi and Amer Zahr, with AANM’s Matthew Stiffler, discuss the power of laughter and its impact in a changing world.

Amer Zahr, Comedian and professor at University of Detroit-Mercy
Suzie Afridi, Comedian

Matthew Jaber Stiffler, Arab American National Museum (Moderator)
Matthew Jaber Stiffler is the Research and Content Manager at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, MI, where he works to accurately represent the diverse Arab American community through the Museum’s collections, exhibits and educational programming. Matthew has also lead the development of the Museum’s food-based programming, particularly the Yalla Eat! Culinary Walking Tours. He received his Ph.D. in American Culture from the University of Michigan in 2010, where he serves as a lecturer in Arab and Muslim American Studies.

For full bios, visit the Speakers section of our website. 

Session tags: Cross-sector plenary session
Dearborn Ballroom

Breakout Session 1 - 1:00 pm to 2:15 pm

Identity-based Philanthropy: How Communities of Color are Changing the Face of Philanthropy

Identity-based philanthropy is defined as underserved communities banding together to form structures and systems of individual giving that address critical issues in their communities. This panel will showcase the rich traditions of giving in communities of color and discuss how identity-based philanthropic institutions are changing the field of philanthropy for the better.

Katherine Asuncion, Center for Arab American Philanthropy
Katy Hayek Asuncion is the Donor Services and Program Officer at the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP), the only Arab American community foundation in the country and a national institution of ACCESS. In her current role, Katy specializes in donor relations and charitable services, such as expendable and endowed donor-advised funds that help individuals strategically carry out their charitable giving. She also manages CAAP’s board-directed grantmaking portfolio and impact area funds. Katy graduated with honors from the University of Michigan with a duel degree in English Literature and Arabic and Islamic Studies.

Sarah Eagle Heart, Native Americans in Philanthropy
As the CEO for Native Americans in Philanthropy since September 2015, Sarah Eagle Heart, Oglala Lakota, is an accomplished and internationally experienced executive focused on education and advocacy on behalf of Indigenous Peoples. She has built upon her traditional cultural knowledge to understand the essential need for cross cultural communication, education, mutual respect, collaboration, partnership, community development and advocacy. Her priority projects include former President Obama’s White House Initiative Generation Indigenous, highlighting issues and the work of nonprofits serving native youth.

Sara Velten, Latino Community Foundation
Sara Velten is a connector of people and ideas, a relationship builder and a firm believer that everyone is able to be a philanthropist. In her current position as VP of Philanthropy, Sara leads the Latino Giving Circle Network and trade, the largest network of its kind in the country, and leads fundraising strategies geared towards expanding the foundation’s base of corporate and individual donors. Before joining LCF, Sara was Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Nano Products. Prior to that, she served as Public Relations Coordinator for BBVA Bancomer, the second largest financial group in Mexico.

Surabhi Pandit, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (Moderator)
Surabhi S. Pandit is a Senior Program Officer at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (CFSEM). In her work at the CFSEM, she manages grantmaking programs that focus on human services, the LGBT community, immigrant/refugee support, entrepreneurship and youth leadership and development. Surabhi also co-leads a special project at CFSEM, Catapult, which aims to support emerging nonprofit organizations that are creating impactful solutions to address challenges in southeast Michigan and encourage civic engagement among entrepreneurs in the region.

Session tags: Philanthropy, Activism
Firestone Room

Unite for Healthcare Equity: Healthy Opportunities for All Communities

Healthy lives and communities are a human right, but gaps in health equity continue to increase across the country, especially among marginalized communities. Policies and legislation that threaten access to healthcare and the quality of our natural resources are a looming threat in our current political climate. This session will explore health equity from multiple standpoints – including health policy, environmental concerns and protection of healthcare – to better equip attendees with the tools to eliminate barriers to health access, and advocate for everyone to have the opportunity to be healthy.

Farah Erzouki, ACCESS
Farah Erzouki is a Public Health Coordinator with ACCESS’ Community Health & Research Center (CHRC). Through her role, she coordinates various public health initiatives and programs within the CHRC such as the Healthcare Navigator Program and the Health Care Protection Advocacy Program, among others. She also coordinates the CHRC’s research partnerships and initiatives, and oversees the newly established mobile dental clinic. She is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan School of Public Health, where she obtained a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology.

Abdul El-Sayed, Former Executive Director of the Detroit Health Department
Abdul El-Sayed is the former health commissioner for the City of Detroit. He became the youngest health official in a major American city when Mayor Mike Duggan appointed Abdul to rebuild Detroit’s Health Department after it was privatized during the city’s bankruptcy. Abdul worked tirelessly to ensure government accountability and transparency, promote health, and reduce cross-generational poverty.  Abdul launched his gubernatorial campaign after witnessing the systematic failures in Flint and across the state of Michigan.

Nayyirah Shariff, Flint Rising
Nayyirah Shariff is a grassroots organizer based in Flint, MI. Nayyirah was one of the co-founders of the Flint Democracy Defense League, a grassroots group formed to confront Flint’s emergency manager in 2011. She has nearly ten years of experience in organizing around local, state and national electoral and issue campaigns. She has been featured on Democracy Now!, Move to Amend podcast, Al-Jazeera and Netroots Nation, speaking out about the problems with Flint’s water and with Michigan’s emergency management of local governments. She is currently the Director of Flint Rising, a coalition of Flint residents and community groups, labor and progressive allies that formed in response to Flint’s emergency declaration.

Ed Tepporn, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum
Edward Tepporn is the Executive Vice President at the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum a national health justice organization that influences policy, mobilizes communities and strengthens programs and organizations to improve the health of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Edward is responsible for executive leadership, strategy planning and innovation for the organization. Edward joined APIAHF’s staff in 2002. Prior to joining APIAHF, Edward served as Director of Education at Saint Louis Effort for AIDS and as Community Co-Chair of Missouri’s Statewide HIV/STD Prevention Community Planning Group.

Brian Love, Greater Detroit Area Health Council (Moderator)
Brian Love currently serves as GDAHC’s Director, Public Affairs and Project Manager. He has been in professional politics for nearly fifteen years. After college and a tour in the U.S. Marine Corps, he returned to Michigan to start conducting political campaigns on the local, state and federal levels. After working for the Michigan Democratic Party as a political director and their base vote director during the 2004 Presidential campaign, he began running constituent outreach programs and local campaigns for state representatives and senators. As a veteran, Brian is a strong supporter for improving veterans healthcare.

Session tags: Activism
Grosse Pointe Room

Digital Organizing Done Right

People are spending more and more time sharing and following on social media, which has become a powerful part of education and advocacy campaigns across social justice movements. This workshop will focus on online organizing, as a complement to the work happening on the streets and in city councils. Learn tactics to strengthen your own work by studying examples of successful uses of online organizing, to help win campaigns and grow your organizational presence online to further champion your cause and build your base. The workshop will be useful for new and experienced social media users.

Ramah Kudaimi, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights
Ramah Kudaimi is the Director of Grassroots Organizing at the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights. She serves on the National Committee of the War Resisters League and is a board member of the Washington Peace Center. She also organizes with the Muslim American Women’s Policy Forum and the Syrian Solidarity Collective. She has been active with other community organizing and antiwar groups including the Arab American Action Network and CODEPINK: Women for Peace. She has a BS in Journalism from Northwestern University and an MA in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University.

Session tags: Activism
Fairlane Room

Empowering Arabs and Muslims: Grassroots Organizing to Resist State Violence

In this workshop, we will highlight how Arab American organizations are building youth leadership and development by addressing issues that impact their communities at home and in their homelands. By centering cross-movement building, we link our resistance to all historically marginalized communities fighting for self-determination.

Linda Ereikat, Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC)
Linda Ereikat was born and raised in San Francisco and is originally from Abu Dis, Palestine. She is a senior at San Francisco State University, pursuing a degree in International Relations with a minor in Arab and Muslim Ethnicities in the Diaspora Studies. Linda began organizing with AROC’s Arab Youth Organization (AYO!) in 2011, then became a leader of the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS) at SFSU in 2014. She is now the Administrative Coordinator for the AROC. Linda is passionate about serving the community and fighting for self-determination and liberation, both in our communities and homelands.

Muhammad Sankari, Arab American Action Network
Muhammad Sankari is one of the lead youth organizers at the Arab American Action Network. He has been an organizer in the Chicago community for over 7 years. Currently the youth are engaged in a campaign to end racial profiling by law enforcement agencies as it affects Arabs and Muslims in the Chicagoland area.

Sharif Zakout, Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC)
Sharif Zakout, the son of Gazan immigrants, was born and raised in San Francisco, CA and is receiving his MA in Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University. He is an artist, musician and lead organizer for the Arab Resource and Organizing Center.

Session tags: Activism, Youth Empowerment
Rouge River Room

Shark Tank Part 1: Preparing a Successful Elevator Pitch

In this facilitated workshop and training session, attendees will learn how to create and deliver an elevator pitch that showcases their work to stakeholders. By the conclusion of the workshop, attendees will create a finalized pitch proposal, which will be turned into the workshop facilitator. This workshop is open to artists, activists, organization staff and any attendee who would like to learn more about this important first step to forming a relationship with potential donors or partners. Select proposals will be chosen to return for Part 2, in which attendees will practice making the pitches they developed.

Manal Fakhoury, Fakhoury Leadership International
Dr. Manal Fakhoury is president and CEO of Fakhoury Leadership International. With over 30 years of nonprofit and leadership experience, she serves on many community and national boards. She is past Chairwoman of Ocala/Marion Chamber of Commerce and a graduate of Leadership Florida. Manal is also a consultant pharmacist, inspirational speaker, coach, trainer and mentor. Manal has been recognized with many professional and community awards, including Person of the Year. Manal was honored to participate in the Climb of Hope and summit Mt. Kilimanjaro in January 2014.

Session tags: Organizational Development, Arts, Activism, Philanthropy
Salon IV/V

Participatory Art, Multiple Platforms

Internationally acclaimed Iraqi American artist Wafaa Bilal will discuss select projects from his extensive body of work including Domestic Tension (aka Shoot an Iraqi), Virtual Jihadi and the 3di.  Bilal’s work blends technology and performance to pose questions about geopolitical and personal realities, with an emphasis on dynamic encounters and relational antagonism as strategies to engage viewers in dialogue. He will narrate the evolution of his work alongside the personal experience of living between two worlds: the zones of conflict in Iraq and of comfort in the U.S.

Wafaa Bilal
Wafaa Bilal is an Iraqi-born artist and an associate arts professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He is known internationally for his online performative and interactive works provoking dialogue about international politics and internal dynamics. He holds a BFA from the University of New Mexico and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work is part of the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL; MATHAF: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar; among others.

Session tags: DIWAN
Alexandria Ballroom

Breakout Session 2 - 2:30 pm to 3:45 pm

Feminist Fire and Activism: Arab and Muslim American Women Leading Social Change

Arab and Muslim American women have been, and continue to be, at the forefront of vital social movements that shape our society. Yet they often face unique challenges at the intersections of sexism, racism and xenophobia. This panel will feature stories from a variety of Arab and Muslim women activists on how they are overcoming barriers, shattering glass ceilings and paving the way for the next generation of women leaders.

Dr. Anan Ameri
Dr. Anan Ameri is an activist, scholar, author and founder of the Arab American National Museum (AANM) and the Palestine Aid Society of America. She is also the co-founder of many progressive political and cultural coalitions in the US. For over four decades, Ameri has advocated for social justice and for the rightful place of immigrants in the US. She holds a Ph.D in sociology and is the author of many books and articles; and the recipient of many awards. In 2016, she was inducted into Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame.

Layla Elabed, ACCESS
Layla Elabed is the Program Coordinator for ACCESS’ Domestic Violence Prevention Program. She has served in her role to prevent intimate partner violence and sexual assault against women and girls since 2013. Layla is also a member of the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Women of Color Network. She serves on the regional League of Women Voters board. She is an avid community activist, involved in many community initiatives that serve to create movement around social and cultural gender norms within the Arab and Muslim community in Michigan.

Zena Ozeir, Z Collective
Zena Ozeir is an Arab American activist and aspiring attorney. She is currently a third year law student at UC Hastings College of Law in San Francisco, CA. She is dedicated to fighting for racial and gender justice. Zena is a member of the Z Collective, an Arab and Muslim feminist collective, based in Metro Detroit. The Z Collective has been an integral organization in advocating for gender justice in the Arab American community on the grassroots level. As a member of the Z Collective, Zena has worked on many initiatives, including combating violence against women, LGBTQ empowerment and tackling anti-Blackness within Arab communities.

Kameelah Rashad
Kameelah Rashad is the Founder and President of the Muslim Wellness Foundation (MWF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the stigma associated with mental illness, addiction and trauma in the American Muslim community, through dialogue, education and training. She also serves as the Fellow for Spirituality, Wellness and Social Justice at the University of Pennsylvania and advisor for Penn Sapelo, UPenn’s first Black Muslim Student organization. She is a founding member of Muslims Make It Plain, a coalition of Muslims working to empower and support grassroots mobilization to address police brutality, profiling, unlawful surveillance and the overpolicing of America’s Black and Brown communities.

Linda Sarsour, Community Organizer (Moderator)
Linda Sarsour is a working woman, community activist, and mother of three. Ambitious, outspoken and independent, Linda shatters stereotypes of Muslim women while also treasuring her religious and ethnic heritage. She is a Palestinian Muslim American and a self-proclaimed “pure New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn!” Sarsour is the former executive director of the Arab American Association of New York and co-chair of the Women’s March on Washington, which advocated for just legislation and policies regarding human rights and other issues in the largest single-day demonstration in U.S. history. Linda is most notably recognized for her focus on intersectional movement building.

Session tags: Activism
Salon II/III

From DC to Neighborhoods: Updates on the Latest Federal Policy Debates Impacting Arab Americans

From immigration to health care, civil rights to the environment, a lot is happening in Washington, DC that affects us on the ground. In this panel, you will hear from policy experts about some of the most pressing topics impacting Arab Americans and learn more about how to be engaged in these debates.

Hassan Jaber, ACCESS
Hassan Jaber is the Executive Director and CEO of ACCESS, which he helped grow from a group of volunteers to more than 500 employees who work to empower the community locally and nationally. Prior to his appointment as CEO, Jaber was the Chief Operating Officer at ACCESS for 27 years. His board memberships and affiliations include the U.S. Census Community Advisory Board; Henry Ford Hospital & Health Network Board of Trustees; United Way for Southeastern Michigan Board of Directors; and the Detroit Zoological Society Board of Directors. He is also a Commissioner for the State of Michigan, serving on the Compensation Commission.

Manar Waheed, American Civil Liberties Union
As Legislative and Advocacy Counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Manar Waheed works on the intersection of issues impacting Muslim, Arab, Middle Eastern and South Asian communities, including immigration, national security, counterterrorism, hate violence and bullying. She helps develop strategic campaigns to engage Muslim, Arab, Middle Eastern and South Asian communities. Prior to the ACLU, Manar was the Deputy Policy Director for Immigration at the White House Domestic Policy Council in the Obama Administration, where she assisted with the development of the President’s strategy for building a 21st century immigration system.

Zaki Barzinji
Zaki Barzinji is a public affairs consultant with a passion for bridge-building and storytelling. He served in the Obama White House as Senior Associate Director of Public Engagement and the President’s liaison to Muslim Americans, Arab Americans, Sikh Americans and other faiths. As the first senior official to focus primarily on those constituencies, he worked to amplify voices and narratives seldom represented at the highest levels of government and build relationships between often marginalized communities. In addition to his service in the public sector, Zaki also directed SBC, a chamber of commerce for minority-owned businesses in the healthcare and tech industries.

Ghida Dagher, United Way for Southeastern Michigan (Moderator)
Ghida Dagher is the Government and Community Affairs Director at United Way for Southeastern Michigan (UWSEM). In this capacity, she leads in the design and implementation of strategies that drive impact, promote awareness and visibility, and enhance programs and resources in the Greater Detroit community. Her initiatives focus on the areas of education, economic prosperity and health through project development, relationship management, advocacy and alignment of investments and engagement opportunities. She also stewards the United Way’s Advocacy Fund, which empowers organizational partners to increase their advocacy and policy engagement and oversees the United Way’s Public Policy Fellowship​ ​Program.

Session tags: Activism, Philanthropy, Organizational Development, Youth Empowerment
Salon I

Know Your Options and Defend Your Rights in the Current Climate

This workshop will equip participants with the knowledge of their options and the tools needed to stand up and defend their rights. Through role playing and discussions, participants will learn how to handle interactions with law enforcement, their rights pertaining to free speech, as well as what they need to know regarding the most recent executive orders impacting Arab Americans.

Azadeh Shahshahani, Project South
Azadeh Shahshahani has worked for years in the southeastern US to protect the human rights of immigrant, Muslim, Middle Eastern and South Asian communities. She previously served as National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project Director with the ACLU of Georgia. Azadeh is a past president of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), through which she participated in international delegations, including to post-revolutionary Tunisia and Egypt, a delegation focused on Palestinian political prisoners, and election monitoring delegations to Venezuela and Honduras. She has also served on jury in people’s tribunals on Mexico, the Philippines and Brazil.

Lara Kiswani, Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC)
Palestinian born Lara Kiswani was raised in the San Francisco Bay area. She is the Executive Director of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC). AROC organizes the Arab and Muslim community against racism, war and repression through campaigns like Stop Urban Shield, working to put a stop to the largest militarization training in the world, and getting Arabic taught in the SF public school system. In addition to organizing, AROC provides immigration services to defend Arabs and Muslims against FBI repression and support them in gaining legal status.

Session tags: Activism
Firestone Room

Navigating Foundation Relations: Building Partnerships With Philanthropic Institutions

Charitable foundations are invaluable partners to, and supporters of, nonprofit organizations working to impact social change. This workshop will equip nonprofits with tools and approaches to build and strengthen relationships with foundations and navigate the philanthropic landscape. Participants will hear best practices directly from foundation staff, discuss how to maximize impact through collaboration, and learn more about strategic ways to partner with their local and national foundations to address the most pressing issues facing their communities.

Surabhi Pandit, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
Surabhi S. Pandit is a Senior Program Officer at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (CFSEM). In her work at the Foundation, she manages grantmaking programs that focus on human services, the LGBT community, immigrant/refugee support, entrepreneurship and youth leadership and development. Surabhi also co-leads a special project at CFSEM, Catapult, whose purposes include supporting emerging nonprofit organizations that are creating impactful solutions to address challenges in southeast Michigan and encouraging civic engagement among entrepreneurs in the region.

Michael Shaw, The Kresge Foundation
Michael Shaw joined Kresge as a program officer with the Human Services Program team in 2014. His responsibilities include developing and refining grantmaking strategies, inviting and reviewing funding proposals and monitoring the outcomes of Kresge-supported efforts. Before joining Kresge, Michael was Director of Philanthropic and Business Development and Innovation with the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, a Baltimore-based national organization, dedicated to breaking the link between unhealthy housing and unhealthy children. He previously worked at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, where he served as a member of the civic-investments portfolio.

Shireen Zaman, Proteus Fund
Shireen Zaman is the Program Director of the Security & Rights Collaborative (SRC) at the Proteus Fund. Shireen comes to the SRC having led organizational transformation, resource development and program management at several nationally recognized nonprofits. Most recently, she was Executive Director at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, focusing on improving the understanding of issues and policies impacting the Muslim community in the media and among policy makers, and on developing strategic partnerships. She is a board member of Slim Peace Groups. In 2013, Shireen was recognized as a White House “Champion of Change.”

Nadia Tonova, ACCESS (Moderator)
Nadia El-Zein Tonova serves as the Director of National Partnerships for ACCESS, where she works to expand the organization’s national impact and programming, by strengthening partnerships with key foundations and nonprofits. Previously, Nadia served as the Director of the National Network for Arab American Communities for seven years, where she created and launched the campaign to TAKE ON HATE, an unprecedented national grassroots campaign to challenge prejudice and bias facing Arab and Muslim Americans. Nadia has led a variety of policy, advocacy and grassroots campaigns on immigrant rights, civil liberties and human rights, and civic engagement issues.

Session tags: Organizational Development, Philanthropy, Activism
Salon IV/V

WORKSHOP: Invention and Iconoclasm: Arab American Nostalgia and Its (Dis)Contents

Nostalgia: for some Arab American artists, it is a form of resistance. For some, a comfort. For a community that has undergone mass displacement and migration, nostalgia can present itself in the form of a loyalty to recurrent symbols, of which reinvention becomes an act of sacrilege. This session is both a conversation and a writing/sketching workshop; attendees will be asked to identify and actively re-imagine long-repeated symbols, encouraging participants to envision and articulate a different kind of future.

Kamelya Youssef, Wayne State University
Kamelya Youssef is a Detroit-based poet, organizer and graduate student at Wayne State University. Her poems have been published in Mizna and Bird’s Thumb, among others. She is interested in the ecopoetics of immigrant and POC literatures and acts of non-translation. Youssef is a board member of the Radius of Arab American Writers (RAWI). Her ongoing work is mastering the art of being in multiple places at once.

Leila Abdelrazaq, Bigmouth Comix
Leila Abdelrazaq is a Chicago-born Palestinian author and artist. Her debut graphic novel, Baddawi (Just World Books 2015) was shortlisted for the 2015 Palestine Book Awards and has been translated into three languages. Her drawings and writing have been featured in VICE News, Harper’s, Hyperallergic and The FADER, as well as in several printed anthologies. Her creative work primarily explores issues related to diaspora, refugees, history, memory and borders.

Session tags: DIWAN
Grosse Pointe Room

“Entitled Millennials”: Turning Passion into Action

Millennials are often put down, and told that they are lazy and entitled. They grew up knowing that they live in a racially biased society that is designed to work against them and often feel powerless to do anything about it. However, they have a voice, and they can make a difference – they just need the right mentors and resources to utilize their potential. This panel will showcase service and volunteer opportunities, such as ACCESS Acts, that allow individuals to give back and do good, and talk about ways to make a career out of  a passion for serving the community.

Zeinab Ahmed, ACCESS ACTS
Zeinab Ahmed is a high-school senior who has a passion for human rights and social activism. She accidentally found herself on this path when she started to volunteer for community service hours required to graduate; but since then, she hasn’t gotten a paper signed in over 2 years – it has become much more than the number of hours on a piece of paper. She was very shy but is now vocal about what happens in her community.  Zeinab wants to major in computer engineering and always wants to stay committed to civic engagement.

Isra Daraiseh, ACCESS
Isra Daraiseh began working at ACCESS after serving as a NNAAC Transformative Leaders Fellow at the Arab American Heritage Council in Flint, MI. She is a passionate advocate for social issues, and dedicates much of her time during and outside of work to such causes. She resides in both Flint and Detroit because although her work is in the Dearborn/Detroit area, her family remains in Flint. She stays active in her home town by serving as a volunteer coordinator for the Flint Muslim Food Pantry, and is also a member of the Flint Muslim Civic Engagement Committee.

Rachid Elabed, ACCESS
Rachid Elabed is the Manager of Business Operations at ACCESS. Prior to this role, he was ACCESS’ Advocacy and Civic Engagement Specialist, where he was instrumental in organizing the Arab American community around key issues, leading successful grassroots advocacy and nonpartisan voter engagement campaigns, and fostering relationships between ACCESS and other organizations in the Metro Detroit area that are focused on serving communities. Additionally, Rachid launched ACCESS ACTS, a high school youth program dedicated to building leadership skills through advocacy and civic engagement. Rachid was the first Michigan Organizer of the Year awardee.

Mohamed Harb, ACCESS ACTS
Mohamed Harb is a high school senior at Star International Academy who is a risk taker when it comes to his dual enrollment classes. He participates in many youth groups, including ACCESS ACTS and the Teen Grantmaking Initiative (TGI), and is very dedicated to giving back to his community.

Sara Harb is a high school senior at Star International Academy, who challenges herself by taking multiple AP classes and is taking college courses at a local college. She is a member of the national honors society, has been apart of ACCESS ACTS and the Teen Grantmaking Initiative (TGI), and is always ready to lend a helping hand for her community.

Nesreen Ezzeddine, ACCESS ACTS (Moderator)
Nesreen Ezzeddine is a Dearborn native, with passion and dedication to social justice issues and volunteerism. She began her journey with ACCESS when she joined ACCESS ACTS, a group of high school kids committed to projects centered on advocacy and civic engagement. She recently completed her AmeriCorps Public Ally term, and moved to becoming the NNAAC AmeriCorps VISTA, while also attending Henry Ford College to get her degree in Public Administration. Her vision is to be a part of the change that will create a better future for the next generation.

Session tags: Youth Empowerment, Activism, Philanthropy
Rouge River Room

Breakout Session 3 - 4:00 pm to 5:15 pm

Philanthropy 101: Tools for Charitable Giving

This session will serve as an introduction to various charitable giving tools that everyone can benefit from, including donor-advised funds and impact area funds, as well as non-traditional forms of philanthropy such as crowdfunding and giving circles. This session is for anyone who cares about a cause and wants to learn how to take their giving to the next level.

Maha Freij, ACCESS
Maha Freij is the Deputy Executive Director and CFO at ACCESS, and a leading visionary in the Arab American community with regards to philanthropy and building institutions to strengthen the voice of the community in American society. Under her leadership, the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP) has established itself as the only national Arab American community foundation in the U.S. Maha has also been a key leader in growing ACCESS from its roots as a regional human services organization, to what it is today — a community builder nationwide.

Amany Killawi, LaunchGood
Amany Killawi is the Co-Founder and COO of, a niche based global crowdfunding platform, supporting Muslims launching good all over the world by helping them raise funds for their projects, campaigns and creative ideas. She is a founding member of the Detroit Minds and Hearts Fellowship, a social incubator where she works with inner city Muslim youth to help them develop and launch their own community initiatives for social change. As social worker, turned social entrepreneur, she brings an interesting mix of experience to her work and community.

Alex Wong, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP)
Alex Wong joined AAPIP in 2012. As Community Philanthropy Manager, he works with AAPIP’s partners and philanthropists in the National Giving Circle Network across the country. In addition to fostering the growth of the community philanthropy through partnerships, he is an active member of several giving circles. Alex received his bachelors from New York University in Economics and Politics, holds a JD from UC Hastings College of the Law, and is currently pursuing his MBA at Haas School of Business. His legal experiences include being a litigation attorney and an in-house counsel for a digital advertising agency.

Katelyn Videto, Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (Moderator)
Katelyn Videto has a lifelong passion for community philanthropy and a deep love of Washtenaw County. She came full circle in community foundations, from being a youth grant maker at the Cadillac Area Community Foundation to the Donor Services Officer for the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, where she works with donors and nonprofits, building permanent community capital, while providing service to current and potential donors. Dedicated to building the philanthropic sector, Katelyn is also the founding Board Chair for YNPN Washtenaw and is an experienced facilitator in youth and family philanthropy education.

Session tags: Philanthropy, Advocacy, Organizational Development, Youth Empowerment
Rouge River Room

Lessons from the Movement

There is a wealth of knowledge and experience to be gleaned from the resistance of different marginalized communities in the United States. In this discussion, we highlight the different forms of resistance utilized by our partners in this work, understanding where we have been to help inform where we are headed.

Mitchell Maki, Go For Broke National Education Center
Dr. Mitchell T. Maki is the President and CEO of Go For Broke National Education Center, a nonprofit organization committed to maintaining and applying the legacy of the World War II Nisei veterans. Dr. Maki is nationally recognized as a leader in the Japanese American community. He is the lead author of the award-winning book, Achieving the Impossible Dream: How Japanese Americans Obtained Redress, a detailed case study of the passage of the 1988 Civil Liberties Act. Dr. Maki is recognized as one of the leading scholars on the Japanese American redress movement.

Tawana Petty
Tawana “Honeycomb” Petty is a mother, social justice organizer, youth advocate, poet and author. She was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and is intricately involved in water rights advocacy, visionary organizing and digital justice work. Petty has organized a vast array of social justice initiatives, bringing together thousands to advocate for social and environmental justice. In addition to Petty’s community organizing work, she performs, teaches workshops, and presents across the globe. Petty has appeared on several television and radio programs, and her work and writings have been featured in numerous publications.

Antonio Rafael
Antonio Cosme is a Xicano Afro-Boricua farmer, artist, educator, and community organizer/activist from Southwest Detroit. Antonio founded the #RaizUp art collective in 2012 (a Xicano and indigenous hiphop collective using art as way to create consciousness and support movement building). Antonio has organized with the People’s Water Board against the shutoffs, The Detroit’ers Resisting Emergency Management, Committee to Ban Fracking, Alumni against the EAA, and Detroit Eviction Defense. Antonio organizes in his neighborhood to clean blighted property and create community art. Antonio founded the urban farming cooperative #SWGrows in 2014 and the honey bee keepers co-op #swbeecollective in 2016.

Steph White, Equality Michigan
Steph White is the Executive Director of Equality Michigan and Equality Michigan Action Network, the non-partisan, political arm of Michigan’s LGBTQ movement. She leads an eight-person staff that works to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity across the state. A non-profit executive with 25 years of experience, Steph White has gone from US Army Commander to New York City community organizer, and from small town campaigns to national policy advocacy. She has worked with conservative faith-based groups, suburban neighborhood associations, cautious politicians, and radical activists.

Ahmad Abuznaid, National Network for Arab American Communities (Moderator)
As NNAAC director, Ahmad Abuznaid oversees a consortium of 26 independent Arab American community-based member organizations that span 11 states. A licensed attorney, Abuznaid co-founded and served as the Chief Operating Officer of the Florida-based nonprofit Dream Defenders, an organization comprised of communities in struggle that was formed in the aftermath of the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Through his work with Dream Defenders, Abuznaid helped lead the fight to end mass incarceration, police brutality and zero tolerance policies in Florida schools.

Session tags: Activism
Salon IV/V

Supporting New Americans

Refugees and new immigrants are an integral part of our communities and face unique challenges to building a better life for themselves and their children.  Community members can play an important role in supporting refugees and new immigrants as they settle into life in the United States.  In this session, participants will gain a better understanding of the overall status of refugees and new immigrants in this country and learn about current efforts being led to support these communities.   This important conversation will continue during a caucus discussion on Saturday on the community’s role in supporting new immigrants and refugees.

Doug Ross, American Promise Schools
Doug Ross is a Detroiter with degrees from the University of Michigan and Princeton.  He has served as a Michigan State Senator from Oakland County, Michigan Commerce Secretary and US Assistant Secretary of Labor for President Clinton.  After an unsuccessful run for Governor in 1998, Mr. Ross started the University Prep and American Promise public charter schools in Detroit.  He currently serves as Contributing Education Editor for the Detroit News, and Vice-President of the national Campaign for Free College Tuition.

Adel Mozip, Urban Science
Adel Mozip is the Cheif Operating Officer of SpanHead (formerly known as Sheba4Tech), a technology Detroit based startup.  He was the lead instructor of the Digital Connectors program at ACCESS from September 2013 to May 2016, teaching students about technology, leadership and community service.  In November 2015, Adel was appointed by Governor Snyder to the Commission on Middle Eastern American Affairs (CMEAA) and later appointed to the Environmental Justice Work Group.  Mozip earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan-Dearborn in 2008 and his MBA from Wayne State University in 2016. He blogs at and tweets at

Meredith Owen, Church World Service
Meredith Owen serves as Policy Counsel for Church World Service, Immigration and Refugee Program. In this role, Meredith advocates to strengthen immigrant and refugee rights in the United States and overseas. Meredith previously served as Policy Associate for the Alliance to End Slavery & Trafficking (ATEST), a US-based coalition that advocates for solutions to prevent and end human trafficking and modern slavery around the world. She also worked for Human Rights USA, where she engaged in civil litigation on behalf of survivors of human trafficking and gross human rights abuses.

Manal Saab, SGT Ltd.
Manal is the Vice President of SGT Ltd., a real estate development and consulting firm in Flint, Michigan. Saab joined SGT after spending 17 years at the MetroHealth system, rising from the ranks of an hourly worker to the Director of Government Affairs and Community Relations. She is the Chair of the National Advisory Board for the Arab American National Museum and a member of the Board of Governors of St. Jude Research Hospital and the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities of Memphis, TN.

Marijo Upshaw, Wayne State University (Moderator)
Marijo Upshaw is currently on the part-time faculty at the School of Social Work at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. Marijo consults and volunteers her time to help build capacity for grassroots and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) serving the humanitarian needs of Syrian internally displaced persons and refugees. She serves on the advisory board of the International Community Action Network (ICAN) where she consults with the organization on a program to build social work capacity for Syria by training Syrian nationals in rights-based social work practice.

Session tags: Advocacy, Philanthropy, Organizational Development
Firestone Room

Islamophobia in the U.S.

While Muslims, and those perceived to be Muslim, have been facing discrimination for decades, we know that today there is a well-funded Islamophobia industry that is strategically trying to attack our communities. What does that industry currently look like and how is it operating? What are some strategies being utilized to combat it? What can you do to challenge Islamophobia? Join this session to hear from some of the leading experts in this field.

Abed Ayoub, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Abed A. Ayoub serves as the National Legal and Policy Director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the country’s largest Arab American civil rights organization, based in Washington, D.C. Through his position, Ayoub works to address issues impacting Arabs and Muslims in the United States, including discrimination, hate crimes, and profiling. Ayoub also works to enhance the community’s economic empowerment and access to education. Ayoub is a proud native of Dearborn, Michigan.

Fatema Ahmad, Muslim Justice League
Fatema Ahmad is the Deputy Director at Muslim Justice League in Boston, an organization that educates, organizes and advocates for human and civil rights that are violated or threatened under national security pretexts. She was an organizer with Muslims for Social Justice and the American Friends Service Committee of the Carolinas under the Communities Against Islamophobia project. Fatema helped lead the Stop CVE at UNC campaign, and worked with organizations across North Carolina to connect Muslim, Black, and/or Latinx communities around issues of criminalization and surveillance.

Khaled Beydoun, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law
Khaled A. Beydoun is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, and Senior Affiliated Faculty at the University of California-Berkeley Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project. A Critical Race Theorist, Professor Beydoun’s research examines the legal construction of Arab and Muslim American identity, the foundational and modern development of Islamophobia and the intersection of national security policy, civil liberties and citizenship. He is also an active public intellectual who serves on the U.S. Commission for Civil Rights, appointed to serve on the Michigan State Committee in 2017.

Terri Johnson, Center for New Community
A Chicago native, Terri A. Johnson has worked for racial and social justice for over two decades. She is a diversity and inclusion strategist, serving nonprofits, corporations, universities, social service agencies and arts and cultural organizations. Presently, she is the Executive Director of the Center for New Community (CNC). At the forefront of efforts to defeat anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim hate, CNC monitors organized racism in the United States and equips national and grassroots activists and partners to mobilize a powerful force for justice, fairness and opportunity.

Bassem Kawar, Take on Hate (Moderator)
Bassem Kawar is a community organizer from Chicago and Advocacy Specialist for ACCESS’ Campaign to TAKE ON HATE. He began his career as a community organizer with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and the Arab American Action Network (AAAN), working predominantly in the Arab American and Arab immigrant communities of Chicago and its southwest suburbs. Recently, Kawar worked on Jesus “Chuy” Garcia’s Chicago mayoral campaign, and later moved to Detroit to organize with the American Federation of Teachers and the Detroit Federation of Teachers in the rank-and-file teachers’ contract battle with the city.

Session tags: Activism, Organizational Development, Philanthropy
Salon I

Art, Pedagogy and Activism

This panel introduces AMCA: The Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran and Turkey ( and brings together scholars and activists to trace the relationship of art and social justice within the history of modern art of the Arab World. It will draw on a series of case studies from modern and contemporary Arab art to consider the successes and failures of art in addressing social issues and the possible role of academia within acts of civic resistance.

Sarah Rogers, AMCA: Association for Modern & Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey
Sarah Rogers is an independent scholar and founding member and President-Elect of AMCA. She is currently co-editing Modern Art in the Arab World: Primary Documents, to be published in Fall 2017 by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She received her PhD in 2008 from the History, Theory and Criticism section of the Dept. of Architecture at MIT.

Dina Ramadan, AMCA: Association for Modern & Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey
Dina Ramadan is assistant Professor of Arabic at Bard College. She received her PhD from the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University and is currently working on a manuscript entitled An Education of Taste: Art, Aesthetics, and Subject Formation in Colonial Egypt.

Amira Pierce, New York University
Amira Pierce received her MFA in fiction from Virginia Commonwealth University and teaches freshman composition at New York University. She is a writing mentor to US military veterans for Military Experience and the Arts and to high school girls in New York City public schools with Girls Write Now. Her creative writing has appeared in publications, including the Colorado Review, the Cream City Review, The Tusk, and the Asian American Literary Review. She is currently at work on a novel.

Hanan Toukan, Brown University
Hanan Toukan is the Adrienne Minassian Visiting Professorship in Honor of Marilyn Jenkins-Madina in the Depts. of Visual Arts and Middle East Studies at Brown University. She received her PhD in 2012 from SOAS University of London, where her dissertation, Intimate Encounters: Globally, Cultural Diplomacy, and Art in Post-War Lebanon, won the 2012 MESA Award for Best PhD in the Social Sciences.

Haytham Bahoora, AMCA/University of Toronto
Haytham Bahoora is assistant professor of Arabic Literature at the University of Toronto. He earned his MA and PhD in Comparative Literature from New York University and has published articles on Arab art and literature in the International Journal of Middle East Studies and the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, among others. His book, Aesthetics of Arab Modernity: Literature and Urbanism in Colonial Iraq, is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.

Session tags: DIWAN, Activism
Grosse Pointe Room

Youth Track Kickoff

The Youth Empowerment track at MOVE 2017 is dedicated to empowering the next generation of Arab American leaders to make an impact and advance change in their communities. Ibrahim Maali, Palestinian-American activist, Hip Hop head, and founder of Solidarity Studios – a nonprofit organization working to foster collaborative social change through music – will kick off our Youth Empowerment track and share his story about getting involved at a young age, taking action on the issues that he cared about, and turning his passion into a career by creating an impactful, innovative organization.

Ibrahim Maali, Solidarity Studios
Ibrahim is a Palestinian American activist and Hip Hop head. After years of seeing the Palestinian narrative and history, he was so proud of be so vilified in his home, he was drawn to Hip Hop at an early age for its acknowledgement and celebration of counternarratives. While a student at Duke University, he was able to explore the cultural and historic role of the arts along with his intense interest in history, particularly South African and Middle Eastern. Ibrahim has worked with NGOs in Durham, North Carolina; Amman, Jordan; Orlando, Florida; Chicago, Illinois; and Cape Town, South Africa. He has been privileged to learn from and support some of these leading local organizations in their work on non-formal education, refugee resettlement, and asserting community identity.

Anisa Sahoubah, ACCESS (Moderator)
Anisa Sahoubah serves as director of the Youth and Education Department at ACCESS. Anisa has helped develop and implement vital programming for the community, building bridges with various community agencies and key stakeholders to maximize impact, and lead efforts to secure millions of dollars in funding for these programs. Her vision is to empower youth and families with the knowledge, skills, and experiences needed to become healthy, productive and self-sufficient members of their community. In addition to her role as director, She is also active in numerous civic, cultural, and educational organizations.

Session tags: Youth Empowerment, Advocacy, Philanthropy, Arts
Fairlane Room

Arab American Youth in Politics

This panel will highlight incredibly politically active Arab American youth who use their identity as Arabs in their politics. All panelists are involved politically on both the local and collegiate level. Panelists will share how they came to be involved in politics, how their goals and priorities have changed over time, and how they continue their work despite the challenges they are facing in this current political moment. The audience will leave with inspiring examples of Arab American youth engaged in politics and knowledge of organizations and people they can contact to become politically involved themselves.

Abraham Aiyash, Community Organizer
A Hamtramck native, Abraham Aiyash is a community organizer and educator in Metro Detroit. While at Michigan State University, he chaired the College Inclusion Committee and served as president of the Case Black Caucus. He also successfully advocated for more representation in the Council of Racial, Ethnic and Progressive Students in the Michigan State University student government. He currently serves on the board of directors for two non-profit organizations in Detroit. Abraham will be a candidate for the State Senate next year.

Khansa Alhaidi, University of Michigan-Dearborn
Khansa Alhaidi is a freshman at the University of Michigan – Dearborn, where she is majoring in Computer Science (BS) and minoring in Community Change Studies (CCS). When she is not at school, Khansa volunteers her time with various nonprofit organizations, including the Muslim Youth of the Islamic Center of Detroit (MY-ICD) and the American Association for Yemeni Students and Professionals (AAYSP). Khansa is involved actively within the community; from helping host a candidate forum to educating and registering voters, she dedicates time to raise awareness about the importance of youth to be involved within activism.

Narissa Ayoub, University of Michigan-Dearborn
Narissa Ayoub is currently a junior at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, double majoring in Psychology and Political Science and minoring in Studio Art. Narissa has served as a campaign intern for State Representative Abdullah Hammoud, field director for Dearborn City Councilman Mike Sareini, intern for eMgage and a counselor at the American Legion Auxiliary Michigan Girls State. Narissa is passionate about the arts, social justice, politics and social psychology.

Nourhan Hamadi, Wayne State University
Nourhan Hamadi is a junior undergraduate student, studying Public Health, Biology and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s studies. She is active on campus as student body president and through her participation and leadership in organizations like the Lebanese Student Association. She is dedicated to research in fetal brain development, women’s access to quality prenatal care, diversity/bias within the healthcare workforce and Arab American social issues.

Nadine Jawad, University of Michigan
Nadine Jawad is a senior in the Ford School, studying public policy with a concentration in Women’s Health Policy. Nadine is pursuing an M.D./M.P.P. and is focused on sexual violence, policies that perpetuate violence against women, and gynecologic health for survivors of abuse, especially in the context of forced migration. Nadine is the student body Vice President at the University of Michigan and is also the Co-Founder of Books for a Benefit. She currently works at the UM Cancer Center in the Carey Lab and plans to become a gynecologist, focused on the intersection of health and policy.

Nour Ali, University of Michigan-Dearborn (Moderator)
Nour Ali is a freshman at the University of Michigan – Dearborn. At 16, Nour began her activist work at the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, with a focus on dialogues surrounding Islamophobia and the intersection of race and religion. It was at the Roundtable that Nour realized the lack of youth involvement in politics, leading her to work for local political candidates and eventually working for the first Arab Muslim American woman running for Congress, Fayrouz Saad. Nour has been featured on Al-Jazeera, the Detroit News, and the Detroit Free Press.

Session tags: Youth Empowerment, Activism
Fairlane Room


Signature Event - 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Strolling Dinner and The Films of Mohamed Bayoumi

The MOVE 2017 Friday Night Signature Event will consist of a strolling dinner and reception in the Rivera Court at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) followed by the premier of a special project in the Detroit Film Theatre. AANM’s Global Fridays series and the Detroit Institute of Arts’ Friday Night Live will unite for the first time with the National Arab Orchestra (NAO) for the world premiere of an original score written by NAO Founder/Director Michael Ibrahim. Taking place at the DIA, this performance by the NAO Takht Ensemble will be paired with screenings of rarely-seen silent films from the 1920s and 1930s by pioneering Egyptian director Mohamed Bayoumi. This event includes a discussion by Egyptian history and film scholar Mohannad Ghawanmeh. This is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by AANM, the City of Chicago and NPN, in partnership with the National Arab Orchestra, with additional support from Detroit Institute of Arts.

Detroit Institute of Arts and the Detroit Film Theatre
6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Made possible by Wayne State University.

Saturday, November 18

Yoga Session - 7:30 am to 8:30 am

Yoga Basics

Yoga is an excellent practice to cultivate mindfulness, strength and recovery.

This Yoga Basics class is a Vinyasa class, linking breath to movement. The class will be slow-paced, energizing, and focused on alignment and adjustments for foundational poses – a perfect class to introduce new students to the foundational elements of yoga. Modifications will be offered for more advanced students. All levels welcome.

Attendees should bring water and their own mats. If you don’t have one and don’t feel comfortable being on the carpet, bring a beach towel and an additional towel if you get sweaty easily or need padding for your knees. 

Dominique Hollis, University of Michigan
Dominique Hollis discovered her love of yoga at the age of 15 and has since used the practice to enhance her mental wellbeing and emotional intelligence. Dominique is currently a certified ERYT-200, who completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training at Hotlanta Yoga Studio in Atlanta, GA. Her practice centers breath, core strength and mental focus. As an upcoming graduate of the University of Michigan’s Master of Social Work Program, Dominique strives to create a practice that centers at-promise youth and families and the social workers who work diligently to support them.

Reflection Room (Edison A)

Featured Keynote - 8:30 am to 9:30 am

Breakfast Keynote: Rev. Alvin Herring

During our featured keynote address, attendees will hear from Rev. Alvin Herring, a leading voice on racial justice in the United States and the director of racial equity and community engagement at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Rev. Herring will address the ways that the arts, advocacy and philanthropy intersect, how Arab Americans and allies can use these disciplines to create change and work toward social and racial justice, and how to creatively and collaboratively work across boundaries to address the issues facing the Arab American community.

For a full bio, visit the Speakers section of our website. 

Rasha Demashkieh, CVS Pharmacy (Moderator)
Rasha Demashkieh received her formal education in Damascus, Syria. She moved to Detroit with her husband Walid in 1975 and attended Wayne State University. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy. Over the years she has volunteered and fundraised for many organizations: the National Arab American Medical Association, the Ibn Sina Fund to benefit medical students at Wayne State University and the American Heart Association, to name a few. Rasha was appointed by Governor Snyder to the Civil Rights Commission in December 2011. She was reappointed in 2015. She currently serves as the co-chair of the commission.

Session tags: Cross-sector plenary session
Dearborn Ballroom
Made possible by the Proteus Fund. 

Breakout Session 4 - 10:00 am to 11:15 am

Arab American Philanthropy: Inspiring Stories and Impactful Causes

Have you always wanted to make a difference, but have been unsure of where to start? Are you looking for inspiration from others? In this session, hear from Arab Americans who are successfully making change around the world, one project at a time, for the causes closest to their hearts.

Dr. Rashid Abdu, St. Elizabeth Health Center/Northeast Ohio Medical University
Dr. Rashid Abdu has achieved remarkable success as a surgeon throughout his more than 50 years of practice. Currently affiliated with several hospitals in Youngstown, Ohio, he has dedicated his life to the fight against breast cancer. In 2011, he spearheaded the establishment of the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center (named after his late wife, who lost her battle with breast cancer in 1994). Hailing from Yemen, Dr. Abdu immigrated to the United States at 14 years of age and is, today, an admired and respected leader in the healthcare sector and his community.

Thomas Abraham
Thomas G. Abraham is a nationally recognized business entrepreneur and civic leader. He is the son of the late Genevieve and Anthony R. Abraham who was the last living member of the founding members of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, founded by Danny Thomas. He serves as a member of the Board of these organizations: Camillus Health and House Concern, CityYear, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Lebanese American University, APEAL, SEAL, the Rene Moawad Foundation and the Beirut Marathon Association.

Yasmin Elsayed, Mawada Initiative
Yasmin Elsayed is the co-founder of the Mawada Initiative. In 2013 she worked alongside doctors and nurses to facilitate medical aid to Syrian refugees in Za’atari Camp in Jordan. Inspired by the works of several non-profits to support Syrian refugees in various capacities including mental health, Yasmin founded Mawada Initiative to help such organizations raise awareness and funds.

Dr. Randa Mansour-Shousher, HearCare Connection
Randa Mansour-Shousher has been a practicing audiologist for more than 30 years. Randa earned degrees from the University of Toledo and the University of Michigan, and in 2005 received her Doctorate of Audiology from A.T. Still University. Randa is a certified member of several audiology groups, including the Academy of Doctors of Audiology. She serves on several boards and works with HearCare Connection to bring hearing aids to disadvantaged children in the Middle East.

Ghassan Saab, Sorensen Gross Construction Co. (Moderator)
Ghassan Saab is the CEO of contracting firm Sorensen Gross Construction Co., and is also President of SGT. Ltd. Ghassan received a B.E. degree in Civil Engineering from the American University of Beirut in 1966. He is very active on several professional and cultural boards, including the American Druze Foundation. Ghassan, a native of Lebanon, was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2012.

Session tags: Philanthropy, Youth Empowerment 
Salon IV/V

Fighting Censorship of Palestine: From the Campus to the Community

Palestine Legal has responded to nearly 700 incidents of suppression of advocacy for Palestinian rights since 2014, the majority of which have targeted students or scholars. This workshop will discuss the ways activism is both thriving and under attack, especially on U.S. college campuses, with case studies addressing incidents at the City University of New York, Fordham University, George Washington University and the University of California. We will discuss your First Amendment right to support justice in Palestine – including Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns – and strategies that have protected our right to dissent on the status quo in Palestine-Israel.

Dima Khalidi, Palestine Legal
Dima Khalidi is the founder and Director of Palestine Legal and Cooperating Counsel with the Center for Constitutional Rights. Her work includes providing legal advice to activists, engaging in advocacy to protect their right to speak out for Palestinian rights, and educating activists and the public about the repression of advocates for Palestine.

Session tags: Activism, Youth Empowerment
Salon I


Letters from Detention: Performance and Talk-Back

“Letters from Detention” is a theatrical event, written and directed by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, and adapted from letters between Center for Constitutional Rights clients Yasser Ebrahim and Hany Ibrahim, two brothers held as suspected terrorists on separate floors of the Metropolitan Detention Center for months after 9/11. Fifteen years later, we are still confronted with the question: what does accountability look like when the courts look the other way? How do we protect the rights of MASA communities, and what have we learned from post-9/11 litigation that can help us fight new threats? “Letters from Detention” will be performed by local artists Samer Ajluni, Costa Kazaleh-Sirdenis and Kamelya Youssef, with Sherrine Azab directing.

Samer Ajluni
Samer Ajluni is proud to be involved in the MOVE conference. He hopes that “Letters From Detention” serves as not only of a reminder of what went on during the aftermath of 911, but hopefully a warning sign for the future. He has performed in many local theatres over the years, including Matrix Theatre, Planet Ant and most recently in a staged reading at Theatre Nova for the Michigan Playwrights Festival. He received his training at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, and has a B.S. from Eastern Michigan University.

Sherrine Azab
Sherrine Azab is the Co-Director of Detroit-based theater company A Host of People with a focus on creating devised and original theater.  In addition to directing she’s also a producer, performance curator, and educator. Her artistic work has been seen in Seattle, New York, Berlin, Detroit, San Francisco, Cleveland, Chicago, and New Orleans. She holds a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle where she founded the critically acclaimed company Strike Anywhere Productions before moving to New York City. In NYC she presented work in spaces such as The Kitchen, The Ohio Theatre, HERE Arts Center, Dixon Place, and the Bushwick Starr. Sherrine also served as the Associate Producer for The Foundry Theatre (NYC) during their 2011 and 2012 seasons and is a proud Associated Artist with Target Margin Theater (NYC).  She holds a postgraduate certificate from the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University and was a member of the 2008 Lincoln Center Director’s Lab. In addition to the five full-length new works and numerous smaller projects produced by AHOP since moving to Detroit five years ago, Sherrine also directed the world premiere of agua de luna (psalms for the rouge) by Caridad Svich at Matrix Theatre Company. She is also the Engagement Manager for the Network of Ensemble Theaters.

Costa Kazaleh-Sirdenis
Costa Kazaleh-Sirdenis is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Detroit, MI, who combines an affinity for visual, sonic, written narrative elements and whatever else necessary to create work that is both imaginative and relevant.

Rachel Meeropol, Center for Constitutional Rights
Rachel Meeropol is a Senior Staff Attorney and Associate Director of Legal Training and Education at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where she works on prisoners’ rights, Muslim profiling, criminalization of dissent and First Amendment issues, including defending environmental and animal rights activists targeted by the Green Scare. She is lead counsel in a class action suit on behalf of non-citizens suing high-level federal officials for illegal detention and abuse after 9/11, counsel in a class action lawsuit challenging long-term solitary confinement in California’s Pelican Bay prison, and represents federal prisoners held in the Bureau of Prisons’ restrictive Communication Management Units.

Aliya Hussain, Center for Constitutional Rights
Aliya Hana Hussain is an Advocacy Program Manager at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where she manages CCR’s advocacy and campaigns on indefinite detention at Guantanamo, the profiling and targeting of Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities and accountability for torture and other war crimes. In addition to public speaking, organizing events, actions and rallies, and serving as a liaison between lawyers and grassroots activists, she focuses on developing new and creative partnerships with artists, musicians and activists to bring CCR’s stories to new platforms and audiences.

Dr. Maha Hilal, Institute for Policy Studies
Dr. Maha Hilal is the inaugural Michael Ratner Middle East Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC, where she focuses on the domestic and international consequences of the Global War on Terror.  She is also an organizer with Witness Against Torture, working to help close the Guantanamo Bay prison.  In addition, Dr. Hilal is a steering committee member of the DC Justice for Muslims Coalition, which involves Muslim base building around the frame of institutional and structural Islamophobia. Concurrent with these roles, Dr. Hilal serves on the board of the DC chapter of the National Lawyer’s Guild and the Council of the School of the America’s Watch.

Kamelya Youssef
Kamelya Youssef is a poet, grad student and organizer in Detroit. Her poems have been published in Mizna and Bird’s Thumb among others. Currently, she’s interested in the ecopoetics of immigrant and POC literatures and acts of non-translation. She’s a board member of the Radius of Arab American Writers (RAWI). Her ongoing work is mastering the art of being in multiple places at once.

Session tags: Activism, Arts
Fairlane Room

Arab Americans at the Intersections

In this current political climate, Arab Americans are under attack, whether through government policies, portrayals in the media, or through hate crimes. However, there are some in our community who experience not only anti-Arab backlash, but also racism, homophobia, xenophobia and classism, among other things. How can we ensure that our movements are intersectional and safe spaces for all Arab Americans, even those at these intersections? Come hear from Arab American activists and discuss ways we can build movements that uplift all of us.

Azza Altiraifi, Georgetown University
Azza Altiraifi is a proud Afro-Arab, Sudanese American disabled Muslim woman, born and raised in the DC metropolitan area. She currently serves as the Events Coordinator for the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University. She has organized with the DC Justice for Muslims Coalition and BLM-DC, interned at Al Jazeera English, served on the steering committee of the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC), and interned for Green Door Behavioral Health. Azza’s advocacy centers on dismantling ableism, white supremacy and capitalism by exposing the ways in which these entrenched systems are not only connected, but dependent on each other.

Kamal Essaheb, National Immigration Law Center
Kamal Essaheb was born in Morocco and grew up in New York.  After 9/11, he faced deportation after being processed under the “Special Registration” program for men from predominately Muslim countries. As a law student, Kamal fought his deportation with the support of his classmates and community. Kamal currently directs policy and advocacy at the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), a policy and legal organization, committed to defending and advancing the rights of low-income immigrants. Kamal advances NILC’s agenda by engaging policymakers, educating the public, and developing policies that aim to realize America’s promise to immigrants and refugees.t.

Rana Elmir, ACLU of Michigan (Moderator)
Rana Elmir is the Deputy Director of the ACLU of Michigan and has devoted her career to storytelling and activism. As part of the senior management team, she works in conjunction with the ACLU’s legal, legislative and development departments to increase understanding and appreciation of the Bill of Rights. Rana presents often on anti-Muslim bias, the importance of storytelling, free speech and the intersection of race, faith, gender and sexual orientation. Prior to her role as Deputy Director, Rana held the position of Communications Director for the ACLU of Michigan.

Session tags: Activism, Philanthropy, Organizational Development
Firestone Room

Building Leadership, Teamwork and Clear Communications

How do some people become respected leaders and grow themselves, their teams and their organizations? In this workshop, Ray Milhem will take you through his “Leadership Journey” and lessons learned from his 30 + years as an engineer, manager, director, VP and CTO. Based on his experience managing teams – as small as 10 and as large as 1,200 – leading people respectfully and with dignity, and using open communications to build teamwork, Ray will give organizations the tools they need to build and support strong, successful teams and leaders who practice clear communications and utilize soft skills.

Ray Milhem
Ray Milhem is an entrepreneurial visionary offering 30+ years of expertise in positioning start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations for exponential growth. Roy is a savvy strategist who spearheads the organizational vision, strategy and road map. He excels at synergizing global operations and teams from twenty members up to one thousand members, and controlling budgets up to 100 million. Ray worked at various companies like Cisco, Nokia, Motorola, Boeing and ANSYS. He worked at start-ups that were acquired by these large Fortune 500 companies. Ray is currently an Entrepreneur who moved to Pittsburgh from Silicon Valley approximately four years ago, to lead the creation of  AEC (ANSYS Enterprise Cloud) working closely with AWS (Amazon Web Services).  Ray also coaches and mentors various start-ups across the US & Canada. He is currently working on two patents in the IoT sensor area. Ray speaks several languages and has lived in several countries prior to settling in the US.

Session tags: Organizational Development
Grosse Pointe Room

Pitching it out of the Park: Giving a Professional Pitch

Do you have big ideas you want to bring to life? Learn how to do a professional pitch! This session will teach you how to approach people, get them behind your idea, and potentially help fund it. It works for fundraising too! YouthRoots participants have been using this formula since 2010 and have raised over $100,000 for nonprofits, serving at-risk youth via one-on-one fundraising meetings. This session is targeted toward youth who are passionate about community change and bringing their big ideas to life.

Lauren Czajka, YouthRoots
Lauren Czajka is the Executive Director of YouthRoots, a leadership development nonprofit that uses the philanthropic process (community needs assessment, fundraising and grantmaking) as the experiential classroom to teach teens how to change the world. Lauren previously worked internationally with CISV – a peace education organization – and in immigration law. She holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Denver in Human Rights.

Chelsea Liddy, Center for Arab American Philanthropy
Chelsea Liddy is the Program Coordinator for the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP), a national Arab American community foundation. In this role, she facilitates the Teen Grantmaking Initiative (the country’s only Arab American youth philanthropy program), coordinates events, and develops strategic initiatives and communications. Chelsea holds a Master’s Degree in International Development from Andrews University. In her free time, Chelsea likes to read, spend time with her partner and travel.

Session tags: Youth Empowerment, Philanthropy
Rouge River Room

Interactive Performance - 11:15 am to 11:45 am

I Am Not Traveling Alone

‘I Am Not Traveling Alone’ is an intergenerational and poly-lingual interview project that explores the narratives of migrants and refugees. It seeks to understand how migration can impact the ideas of home and self, and how oppression can affect love and relationships. In this performance, Detroit’s Youth Poet Laureate Hajjar Baban will perform original works from her forthcoming poetry collection, “Relative to Blood.” Immediately following her performance, Baban will lead an interactive discussion around the intersection of these themes for participants who would like to learn more.

Hajjar Baban, InsideOUT
Hajjar Baban is the 2017 Detroit Youth Poet Laureate and the Midwest Representative for National Youth Poet Laureate, an inaugural title. She is a First Wave Hip-Hop Arts Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a graduate of Fordson High School. A Pakistan-born, Afghani-Kurdish poet, she is an alumna of Citywide Poets, a program by the InsideOut Literary Arts Project. Baban recently performed at the Poetry Foundation in Chicago and was honored at the Gracie Mansion in New York City. Her debut collection of poems, Relative to Blood, is forthcoming from Penmanship Books.

Session Tags: Youth Empowerment
Interactive Performance – main hallway 

Breakout Session 5 - 11:45 am to 1:00 pm

Philanthropy is for Everyone: Powerful Stories of Youth Giving Back

There is a misconception that a philanthropist must be a wealthy, established individual in the community. The truth is, anyone who gives their time, treasure or talent to a cause that improves the community is a philanthropist – including youth. This panel will showcase amazing young people, working to improve society through philanthropy.

Mustafa Akbari, Teen Grantmaking Initiative
Mustafa Akbari is a 16-year-old senior at Edsel Ford High School and a fourth-year participant in the Teen Grantmaking Initiative (TGI) program through the Center for Arab American Philanthropy. He enjoys reading, writing, programming, poetry and exercising.

Omar and Ziad Fehmi, Detroit Country Day School
Omar and Ziad Fehmi are outstanding tenth-grade students at Detroit Country Day School. They believe in the impact of philanthropy, and for the last two years, they have led a wonderful fundraising program called Piano Keys for Syrian Kids.

Deanna Harajli, University of Michigan
Deanna Harajli is a pre-med student at the University of Michigan – Dearborn.   She is the founding president of Lend A Hand (LAH), which is a nonprofit organization that aims to directly help cancer patients by providing financial assistance with medical and living expenses, while sharing informational resources and increasing awareness. Additionally, she spends time as a tutor to learning-disabled students and volunteers at a local hospice center.

Marwa Harp, Teen Grantmaking Initiative/ACCESS
Marwa Harp received the Phillips Brooks House Association Postgraduate Fellowship and has returned home to Dearborn, MI where she is completing the Fellowship with the Teen Grantmaking Initiative (TGI) through the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP). Before joining TGI as a Fellow, she was a youth in the program. In addition, Marwa volunteered through ACCESS ACTS, mentored youth in Boston’s Chinatown, and served as a social health advocate at Codman Square Health Center and Massachusetts General Hospital. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, a secondary in Mind/Brain/Behavior and a language citation in Classical Arabic from Harvard University.

Natalie Gallagher, Focus:Hope (Moderator)
Natalie Gallagher is MOVEd by youth empowerment, social justice and art, and she combines these energies as the Community Arts Coordinator at Focus: Hope. A Grand Valley State University graduate in International Relations, Natalie has worked with youth and displaced populations in five countries. She realized her BOTTOMLESS interest in non-violent civil resistance while working for the Egyptian Organization on Human Rights post-revolution and is now studying Dispute Resolution at Wayne State. She is mother to the coolest, most socially conscious one-year-old there is.

Session tags: Philanthropy, Youth Empowerment
Firestone Room

Arab Americans on the Political Frontlines

In this forum, you will hear from civic leaders and elected officials on why it’s important for Arab Americans to run for office, where to start if you are interested in running, and how to create real social change from this platform.

Ambassador Edward Gabriel, The Gabriel Company
Ambassador Edward Gabriel has an extensive background in international affairs, having convened multilateral policy forums involving national security, environmental, trade and energy issues. He has been involved in matters of Russian and European nuclear non-proliferation and safety and has been active in advising the US Government on Mideast policy. From 1997 to 2001, he was the US Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco. Currently, Ambassador Gabriel is President and CEO of The Gabriel Company and the American Task Force for Lebanon.

Zaineb Hussein, Wayne County
Zaineb Hussein is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Wayne County. In this role, Zaineb is responsible for cultivating and creating an environment of diversity and inclusiveness throughout Wayne County. Currently, Zaineb sits on the Wayne County Executive’s political team. She also serves as Fundraising Director for State representative Abdullah Hammoud. This past election cycle, she served as Deputy Political Director for the Hillary Clinton Campaign; Zaineb oversaw the campaign’s interaction and involvement with elected officials and community organizers. Prior to that, Zaineb worked for State Senator David Knezek as the Director of Constituent Affairs, where she oversaw 200,000 constituents within the district. Zaineb is also a political consultant. She advises on political strategy, campaign branding and finance. She serves as a board member of the League of Women Voters. In addition, she serves on the Local and National board for Emgage. She has a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts with a double major in political science and history from the University of Michigan Dearborn, and a master’s degree in counseling from the University of Spring Arbor.

Rashida Tlaib, Sugar Law Center
Rashida Tlaib is a longtime resident of Detroit and the child of Palestinian immigrants. Having made history as the first female Muslim elected to the Michigan Legislature and the second Muslim woman to serve in a state legislature, Rashida served three terms as State Representative in the Michigan House of Representatives. In 2015, Rashida joined the Sugar Law Center for Economic & Social Justice. Additionally, Rashida serves as an advisor to ACCESS’ Campaign to TAKE ON HATE, and is a Leadership in Government Fellow at Open Society Foundations, where she continues her work to elevate community voices.

Leslie Touma, American Task Force for Lebanon
Leslie Touma is the Executive Director of the American Task Force for Lebanon, which is made up of prominent Lebanese Americans, educating the government and people on the ways in which a strong, independent and prosperous Lebanon is in the best interest of the United States. Prior to directing the ATFL, Touma founded and directed consulting firms, specializing in the global automotive, national security, technology and defense sectors. She served as a policy analyst at the US Department of Defense, with the US Strategic Arms Control Delegation in Geneva and at the U.S. Mission to NATO in Brussels.

Ismael Ahmed, University of Michigan-Dearborn (Moderator)
Ismael Ahmed was appointed Senior Advisor to the Chancellor at the University of Michigan-Dearborn in 2013. In this position, Ismael is responsible for connecting academic initiatives with the community. He works closely with the University’s deans and faculty to foster an institutional perspective that engenders collective leadership and builds support for academic programs that engage community partners far and wide. In September 2007, Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm appointed Ismael as director of the Michigan Department of Human Services, a position he held through 2010. Mr. Ahmed co-founded ACCESS in 1971 and was appointed executive director in 1983.

Session tags: Activism, Youth Empowerment
Salon IV/V

Hip Hop عربي

The arts can transcend borders, boundaries and languages. Hip Hop, in particular, has touched lives both near and far. Although growing out of the Boogie down Bronx, it is now present world wide, across several diverse cultures. In this session, we learn from Hip Hop artists on how they have invoked their activism through their music.

Sama’an Ashrawi
Sama’an Ashrawi is a filmmaker, writer, journalist and music producer, residing in Los Angeles. He was born to a Palestinian father and a white mother with abolition and suffrage in her blood. Sama’an has written, directed and produced video projects, featuring Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Pharrell, J. Cole, Ana Tijoux, Lupe Fiasco, DJ Khaled, Chris Rock, Abbi Jacobson & Ilana Glazer, Hannibal Buress, Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Waka Flocka, Gary Clark Jr., Chuck D, Method Man, Rapsody and Herbie Hancock (among many others). He recently produced an animated series, Afrofuturism, focusing on black artists who have imagined themselves in science fiction scenarios.

Shadia Mansour
Palestinian by origin, Shadia Mansour, known as “The First Lady of Arabic HipHop” is as authentic as the heavily embroidered thawb she wears on stage. Her ability to switch between rapping and singing is a widely recognized trademark of hers. She entered the musical arena on the forefront of public protests in London, which began in her early teens. Shadia has many musical collaborations, some of which include “Somos sur” (We are the South) with Chilean Rapper Ana Tijoux and “Hamdullilah” with The Narcicyst, which was recently featured in the Fast and Furious 7 Motion picture.

Suhel Nafar
Suhel Nafar is a member of the first Palestinian Hip Hop crew DAM, a filmmaker and motion graphics artist. Recently, as an Artist-in-Residence at NYU he co-taught the class, Memory Metamorphosis, which explores, executes and preserves diasporic memory through various art forms. He also co-produced the award winning feature, Junction 48. As the Senior Motion Graphics Designer, Nafar helped launch Complex Snapchat Discover channel, the fastest growing platform in the history of Complex Networks.

Ahmad Abuznaid, National Network for Arab American Communities (Moderator)
As NNAAC Director, Ahmad Abuznaid oversees a consortium of 26 independent Arab American community-based member organizations that span 11 states. A licensed attorney, Abuznaid co-founded and served as the Chief Operating Officer of the Florida-based nonprofit Dream Defenders, an organization comprised of communities in struggle that was formed in the aftermath of the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Through his work with Dream Defenders, Abuznaid helped lead the fight to end mass incarceration, police brutality and zero tolerance policies in Florida schools.

Session tags: Activism, Arts
Fairlane Room

Team Building: Developing Your Leadership Qualities

There are five common dysfunctions that can occur within a team. If you do not establish a foundation of trust, you cannot have healthy conflicts and discussion. Without healthy conflicts and discussion, it can be difficult for individual team members to feel engaged, causing lack of commitment from your team to the collective goal. Without commitment, your members avoid accountability, which in turn leads to inattention of results. In this workshop, you will learn how to overcome each of the five common dysfunctions by thinking about the causes that lead to these dysfunctions and learning what you can do as a leader within your team to address and resolve issues that may arise.

Rachelle Mehdi, Lebanese Collegiate Network
Rachelle Mehdi is the Vice President of Public Relations of the National Executive Board of the Lebanese Collegiate Network, a nonprofit dedicated to facilitating academic and professional development among undergraduate students and young professionals. Rachelle worked at the U.S. Department of State for six months in Washington, DC and for three months at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, Italy. Rachelle is a Master of Public Policy candidate at the University of Michigan. She hopes to pursue a career working towards human rights and development within Arab communities, both in the United States and the Middle East/North Africa region.

Charein Faraj, Lebanese Collegiate Network
Charein Faraj is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in Environmental Science and a focus on Public Health. She serves as the Vice President of Membership on the National Executive Board of the Lebanese Collegiate Network. Charein has been a prominent member of the Arab American community as a result of her three-year executive service to the University of Michigan’s Lebanese Student Association and her internship at the Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce. She hopes to combine her passion for environmental health and the Middle East to better serve the Arab American community on a global scale.

Session tags: Organizational Development
Rouge River Room

Shark Tank Part 2: Pitch Practice

Attendees with proposals selected from Shark Tank Part I will be invited to make their elevator pitch to a committee of experts from a variety of backgrounds. They will receive feedback on their pitch and be given advice on how to move forward.

Noha El Shareif, SAGE Private Wealth Group
As Chief Strategy Officer for SAGE Private Wealth Group & Project Management Consultant for Raymond James Financial Services, Noha’s focus is on the firm’s growth. During her tenure, SAGE has grown to become the largest RJFS office in the state of Illinois, based on client assets. Prior to helping found SAGE in 2011, Noha worked in the Financial Services and Management Consulting industries in Canada & the US. Noha is a board member with CAAP.

George Ellenbogen
George Ellenbogen, a native of Montreal, Canada, studied literature at McGill University and Tufts University in Massachusetts. Between degrees, he worked in the Arctic and lived for extended periods in Mexico and in England. Until his retirement in 2004, he taught poetry at Bentley College in Massachusetts. His poems have appeared in several anthologies and in magazines such as the Literary Review, Partisan Review, Boulevard, Revue Europe, and Queen’s Quarterly. Most recently he has published a memoir of his childhood and adolescence in Montreal’s Jewish district: A Stone in My Shoe: In Search of Neighborhood (Vehicule, 2013).

Manal Saab, SGT Ltd.
Manal Saab is Chief Executive Officer of Sorensen Gross Construction Services. She is Governor Rick Snyder’s appointee to Chair the Commission on Middle Eastern American Affairs for the State of Michigan.  She and her husband are the first Flint area philanthropists to receive the 2010 Russell G. Mawby Award for Philanthropy, the highest award recognizing philanthropy in Michigan and the Rotary International Crystal Award. Ms. Saab is an Emeritus Member of the ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Boards; a Trustee of the Foundation for Flint, the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, and past board chair of the Arab American National Museum.

Rana Abbas Taylor, ACCESS (Moderator)
Rana Taylor is the Director of Communications and Marketing at ACCESS. She joined ACCESS in November 2013 and has over 15 years of communications experience, with a focus on social justice and women’s rights. In her capacity, she oversees all internal and external communications for ACCESS and works to ensure that the agency’s vision and mission are articulated properly. Prior to her work with ACCESS, Rana served as the Director of Corporate Communications for a government contractor in Washington, DC. She was also the Deputy Director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s (ADC) Michigan Office, from 2000-2008.

Session tags: Organizational Development, Arts, Activism, Philanthropy
Alexandria Ballroom

The Power Is Within You – Not Your Age!

The Dearborn Youth Empowerment Initiative (DYEI) is a year-long program that aims to empower and educate middle school students in the city of Dearborn on topics such as social justice, racial and ethnic relations, and the essence of diversity. DYEI purposely chose to create the program for middle school students because they firmly believe in the power of the young, and that age does not determine the power to create change, but rather is the initiative and drive within individuals. Just like creed, racial identity and ethnicity have no age, neither does the power to create change! This session will challenge youth to think about how they can create change in their communities.

Nada Alhamdi, Dearborn Youth Empowerment Initiative
Nada Alhamdi is a sophomore, pursuing her bachelor’s in Software Engineering at the University of Michigan – Dearborn. As a high school student, she was an active member of the Metro Youth Policy Fellows and co-founder of the Dearborn Youth Empowerment Initiative. She is the programming mentor for a Detroit-based all-girls robotics team and a member of various student organizations on her campus, including the Society of Women Engineers, Association for Computing and Machinery and the Intelligent Systems Club. Nada hopes to be able to apply her knowledge in computer science to improve the quality of life of people in her community.

Asraa Saed Ali, Dearborn Youth Empowerment Initiative
Asraa Saed Ali is a student at Wayne State University. She has spent the majority of her high school and college career advocating for youth empowerment and social change within her community and across Michigan. She helped co-found the Metro Youth Policy Fellows (MYPF), a group of students who work on grants for communities across the state to help address community concerns. MYPF was granted $150,000, which Asraa helped secure. Asraa also co-founded the Dearborn Youth Empowerment Initiative (DYEI), a program aimed at educating and advocating social justice to young middle school aged students.

Session tags: Youth Empowerment
Grosse Pointe Room

Thinking Outside the Office: Breaking the Traditional Arab Career Path

Arab American students often face pressure to pursue traditional careers paths, such as medicine, engineering or law. However, there are a variety of fields outside of these sectors that can be great for young people looking for other options. In this panel discussion, young Arab American professionals will explain how they pursued their passions and found success in non-traditional fields, and how you can do the same.

Steve Ansara, Stevie Soul
Stevie Ansara is an award-winning vocal entertainer and multimedia artist, known for his ability to perform the sounds of hundreds of musical instruments in perfect harmony. During his childhood in Michigan, Stevie, a first-generation Arab American, struggled with a severe stuttering disability that prevented him from communicating with his peers. Stevie tried to speak, but strange sounds came out instead. He eventually transformed these sounds into polished beatbox sets, which he performed for family and friends. Through this talent, he overcame his speaking disability on his own. Stevie is currently a film producer at Woodward Original in Detroit.

Christina El-Haddad
Christina El-Haddad has been living in Detroit for over 10 years. She works as a commercial producer and is passionate about bringing peace to chaos. She is a first-generation Lebanese American.

Mohamed Jaafar, Quicken Loans
Mohamed Jaafar is the son of Lebanese immigrants. His father is a retired assembly line worker at Ford Motor Company, to which he attributes his work ethic. After graduating from Wayne State University, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting before returning to Detroit to work at Quicken Loans and save enough money to create his own content. He is currently a filmmaker at Woodward Original. An advocate for Middle Eastern and Detroit filmmakers, he hopes to inspire the community through films that offer a “slice of life” on social issues and shed light on people rather than stereotypes.

Linda Samarah, ACCESS
Linda Samarah is an Arab American, feminist, offspring of immigrants, lover of all things local and abroad, capturer of art and beauty and marcher towards social justice and equity. A graduate from the University of Michigan-Flint, Linda earned her bachelor’s degree in Communications Studies with a minor in Women and Gender Studies and Music and Theatre. She previously worked for the Arab American Heritage Council (AAHC) as the Community Outreach Coordinator and currently sits on the board of the AAHC and Chancellor Susan E. Borrego’s Diversity Council at UM-Flint. Linda is currently employed at ACCESS as a Communications Specialist and remains in the pursuit of continuing her passions in content creation and performance art.

Ken Haddad, WDIV Detroit (Moderator)
Ken Haddad is an award-winning digital media and digital marketing professional, with a background in film and video production. After deciding not to pursue business at Eastern Michigan University, Ken attended Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts and broke into the film industry as a producer. Through this industry, Ken learned the ways of video and digital marketing. Ken is currently serving in the lead social media role at Detroit’s NBC affiliate, WDIV, where he is changing the way local news delivers content online. Ken is a first-generation Jordanian American.

Session Tags: Youth Empowerment
Grosse Pointe Room

Lunch - Caucuses - 1:00pm to 2:15 pm

Audience-Led Caucus Sessions

Time and space will be set aside on Saturday afternoon for audience-led caucus sessions, during which attendees can participate in open-forum discussions about issues that have been identified as pressing and timely. These caucuses will be safe spaces, where audience members can discuss relevant topics and continue the collaboration and dialogue started earlier in the conference.

Caucus topics will not be pre-selected. Rather, we will be polling the audience throughout MOVE. Share your topic ideas on the paper outside of the Dearborn Ballroom or on social media, using the hashtag #move2017.

Fatima Hassan, University of Michigan (Facilitator)
Fatima Hassan is a first-generation Iraqi American, pursuing her master’s degree in public health at the University of Michigan. She received her double bachelor’s degree in public affairs and peace and conflict studies from Wayne State in 2015. Among other roles, she has served as a Transformative Leaders Fellow with the National Network for Arab American Communities. Throughout her graduate program and upon graduation, she hopes to work on alleviating the health disparities faced by underrepresented groups, particularly within MENA and Arab-Diaspora communities.

Bassem Kawar, Take on Hate (Facilitator)
Bassem Kawar is a community organizer from Chicago and Advocacy Specialist for ACCESS’ Campaign to TAKE ON HATE. He began his career as a community organizer with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and the Arab American Action Network (AAAN), working predominantly in the Arab American and Arab immigrant communities of Chicago and its southwest suburbs. Recently, Kawar worked on Jesus “Chuy” Garcia’s Chicago mayoral campaign, and later moved to Detroit to organize with the American Federation of Teachers and the Detroit Federation of Teachers in the rank-and-file teachers’ contract battle with the city.

Aber Kawas, Take on Hate (Facilitator
Aber Kawas is from Brooklyn NY and of Palestinian descent. She graduated in 2014 from The City College of New York’s International Studies Program, with a concentration Latin American Studies. Aber has been organizing with the Arab American and Muslim community in New York City since 2010. She has worked with several organizations such as CAIR NY and the Urban Justice Center around issues such as immigration, police surveillance, racial profiling and more. Aber currently serves as the NYC Advocacy Specialist with ACCESS’ Campaign to TAKE ON HATE under the National Network of Arab American communities, transitioning from her position as Advocacy Director at the Arab American Association of NY.

Zena Ozeir, Z Collective (Facilitator)
Zena Ozeir is an Arab American activist and aspiring attorney. She is currently a third year law student at UC Hastings College of Law in San Francisco, CA. She is dedicated to fighting for racial and gender justice. Zena is a member of the Z Collective, an Arab and Muslim feminist collective, based in Metro Detroit. The Z Collective has been an integral organization in advocating for gender justice in the Arab American community on the grassroots level. As a member of the Z Collective, Zena has worked on many initiatives, including combating violence against women, LGBTQ empowerment and tackling anti-Blackness within Arab communities.


Closing Plenary - 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm

Paying Tribute and Moving Forward

As we close out MOVE 2017, we will reflect on the impact of bringing together people across fields and interests to discuss the most pressing issues facing our community and how we can lead, innovate and create change together. We’ll also have opportunity to pay tribute to two men who embodied the vision of MOVE: Russel J. Ebeid and Dr. Jack G. Shaheen. The immeasurable contributions these men have made to Arab American arts, activism and philanthropy have bolstered Arab American leadership and progress. In our closing session, Maha Freij, ACCESS Deputy Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer, will encourage attendees to build on the legacies of these two inspirational men by stepping into their leadership role and using the knowledge, networks and partnerships they cultivate at MOVE as driving forces for social change in their communities and disciplines.

Mr. Russell J. Ebeid
As a philanthropist, Mr. Russell J. Ebeid was driven by a desire to make a difference by honoring his roots and giving back deliberately. Ebeid’s passion for giving back carried into his commitment to providing educational opportunities forunder-served youth. He was a longstanding supporter of ACCESS, namely its two national institutions: the Arab American National Museum (AANM) through his numerous contributions and role in the advisory board, and the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP) through his scholarship program titled “The Ebeid Family Fund”. Ebeid was Chairman and President of Guardian Industries, a world leader in glass, automotive and building products sciences.

Among his awards, Ebeid was honored with the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, was named the National Arab American Businessman of the Year in 2003 and entered the Halls of Fame at Wayne State University and the National Commission for Cooperative Education. In 2010, he was recognized as the Trader of the Year for his work in promoting international trade. Throughout his career, Ebeid was honored with private audiences with the Kings of Spain, Belgium, Jordan and Luxembourg, the Queen of England, the Chancellor of Germany, the President of Venezuela, the Crown Prince of the U.A.E. and the last Communist Prime Minister of Hungary. He was also knighted with the Order of Merit three separate times. Ebeid was the owner of the Fairlane Club in Dearborn, MI and invested a lot of time and work directly in his community. He also served as a director of the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan—an educational curriculum designed to teach and promote free market principles to the former socialist and emerging economies of developing countries. Ebeid was a generous and passionate man whose legacy will always continue to inspire us. Rest in power, Mr. Russell J. Ebeid.

Dr. Jack G. Shaheen
An educator, philanthropist and intellectual, Dr. Jack G. Shaheen was the leading voice in combating anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry in the media through works such as the popular book, Reel Bad Arabs, his work as a correspondent for CBS News and his appearances on CNN, MSNBC and NPR to discuss Middle Eastern affairs. He was also a major influence in the world of academia through his teaching and educational opportunity building as an Oxford research scholar, a visiting New York University Scholar and through his countless publications in textbooks and news sources such as Newsweek and The Washington Post. Dr. Shaheen was the recipient of the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2013 and has worked with the United Nations and various federal and state agencies, including the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. He was internationally known and deeply respected for his commitment to the advancement of advocacy and education. Dr. Shaheen and his wife, Bernice, created a scholarship program in 1997 to support Arab American college students pursuing media majors. In order to provide these scholarships in continuity, Dr. Shaheen and his wife established the Jack G. and Bernice M. Shaheen Endowed Media Scholarship Fund within the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP), an institution of ACCESS, in 2011. They have awarded over 60 scholarships to outstanding youth. His impact will, undoubtedly, resonate for generations. Rest in power, Dr. Jack G. Shaheen.

Lina Hourani-Harajli, ACCESS (Emcee)
Known for her compassion, dedication to making a difference and commitment to operational excellence, Lina Hourani-Harajli joined ACCESS in 2000. She has represented the agency in progressively increasing capacities since joining the administrative team, and was named the organization’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) in 2014. Prior to joining ACCESS, Lina worked in the private sector for more than 10 years. She received her bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a concentration in accounting, from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and is active in various community, cultural and educational organizations.

Session Tags: Cross-sector plenary session
Dearborn Ballroom
Made possible by the All of Us project. 

DIWAN Sessions at the AANM

Arab American Theatre: Voice Without Place? – 10:15 am to 11:30 am

Arab American theater artists struggle with issues regarding representation, audience reception, community support, and lack of funding and presentation opportunities. This panel attempts to address some of the prevalent questions facing Arab American theater artists today. Which stories do we tell and what gets produced? What opportunities exist for Arab American actors, writers and directors to tell our stories? What are the implications of non-Arabs performing and producing our work? Do the politics of the stories and the bodies sharing them make the work intrinsically radical and activist? Are we reaching Arab Americans with our works or are they mainly acts of translation for non-Arab audiences?

Kathryn Haddad, New Arab American Theatre Works
Kathryn Haddad is an award-winning writer, teacher and community organizer whose work explores contemporary Arab American experiences and reflects on the political reality of life for Arab and Muslim Americans. She founded the Arab American arts/literary group Mizna and led it for 12 years; she is currently founding executive and artistic director of New Arab American Theater Works.

Leila Buck
Leila Buck is a Lebanese American writer, performer and intercultural educator who has worked in more than 22 countries. In 2014-15, she was artist-in-residence for Wesleyan University’s Doris Duke Foundation Building Bridges grant, teaching and creating work with students about the misrepresentation of Muslims in the U.S. She earned her MA at New York University, where she is now an adjunct professor in participatory performance and civic engagement.

Dipankar Mukherjee, Pangea World Theater
Dipankar Mukherjee is Artistic Director of Pangea World Theater in Minneapolis. He first came to the Twin Cities as the Resident Director at the Guthrie Theater; he has also worked for Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival, New World Theater, Alliance Theater and at London’s Young Vic. He has co-curated and designed many programs, including performances and visual art by Andrea Assaf, Charlotte Karim Albrecht, Sarah Ahmed, Kathy Haddad and Ismail Khalidi.

Session tags: DIWAN
Arab American National Museum
10:15 am to 11:30 am

Blood Lines: Dissecting the Personal and Political in Our Culture – 11:45 am to 1:00 pm

In a world where the political is hard to separate from the personal, how do creatives choose between commenting on the mundane, or creating work that challenges political issues head-on? How do contemporary artists navigate this delicate dichotomy between the personal and political? This panel dissects the notion of charged, or “political,” material in one’s creations, as several award-winning artists and activists discuss the ways they address charged material in their work, the craft and content implications behind it, and some approaches used by artists they admire.

Leila Abdelrazaq, Bigmouth Comix
Leila Abdelrazaq is a Chicago-born Palestinian author and artist. Her debut graphic novel, Baddawi (Just World Books 2015) was shortlisted for the 2015 Palestine Book Awards and has been translated into three languages. She has been featured in VICE News, Harper’s, Hyperallergic and The FADER, as well as in several printed anthologies. Her work primarily explores issues related to diaspora, refugees, history, memory and borders.

Jeremy Allen
Jeremy Allen is an award-winning journalist who has been recognized nationally by the Associated Press and the National Association of Black Journalists for his excellence in writing. A two-time graduate of Eastern Michigan University, Allen serves as a public affairs specialist for the University of Michigan, where he communicates messages to the public about matters of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Nisa Dang
Nisa Dang is a community organizer, political strategist and a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. Dang went to Nevada in 2016 to work on Democratic Party campaigns before earning a B.A. in political science. She then worked for an immigration law firm, traveling between New York and Djibouti to advance the immigration causes of the Yemeni community.

Tariq Luthun (moderator)
Tariq Luthun is a Palestinian American strategist, data analyst and Emmy Award-winning poet from Detroit, MI. An MFA candidate for poetry at the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, he also serves as social director of Detroit-based Organic Weapon Arts Press and is co-founder of the POC-dedicated literary arts series FRUIT at Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Session tags: DIWAN
Arab American National Museum
11:45 am – 1:00 pm

Story as Salve: Arab America Writes Its Own Healing: 2:30 pm to 3:45 pm

This community empowering workshop will explore how to articulate and negotiate the traumatic as a creative path to healing and will offer participants a hands-on opportunity to participate in a listening exchange and short writing exercises.

R. Benedito Ferrão, College of William and Mary
R. Benedito Ferrão is a writer and academic who has lived and worked in Kuwait, India, the United States, England and Australia. He currently teaches English and Asian  and Pacific Islander American Studies at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. An internationally published writer, his work appears in Outlook India, Media Diversified, India Currents and Mizna, among others. He is a member of Goa’s Al-Zulaij Collective.

Deborah Al-Najjar, University of Southern California
Dr. Deborah Al-Najjar is a scholar of trauma and war who examined the first Persian Gulf War through the analytical lens of racial/sexual trauma. She received her PhD from the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. Al-Najjar practices Mantra-based meditation within the Vedic tradition, and studies/performs a variety of somatic-based healing modalities.

Laila Farah, DePaul University
Laila Farah is a Lebanese American feminist performer-scholar and associate professor in Women’s and Gender Studies at DePaul University. She attended the Lebanese American University and Eastern Michigan University for her BA in Theatre and Communication Arts and her MA in Performance Studies and Communications, and received her Doctorate in Performance Studies at Southern Illinois University. She continues to tour with her production, Living in the Hyphen-Nation.

Shannon O’Neill, College of William and Mary
Shannon O’Neill is a writer whose work addresses the history and identity of Arab Americans and the cultural divide in American society around issues facing Arabs and Muslims in shifting political and cultural landscapes. Her writing has appeared in Glimmer Train, Asian American Literary Review and Mizna, among others. She earned her MFA in Fiction at Virginia Commonwealth University and has an MA in Film Studies from the University College in Dublin, Ireland. Currently, she teaches Creative Writing at the College of William & Mary.

Session tags: DIWAN
Arab American National Museum
2:30 pm – 3:45 pm

Closing Event - 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm

Surviving: A Reading and Community Project of Mizna

The current political reality has reignited the narrative about Arabs and Muslims as expedient villains. This is nothing new, but there is a fervor and momentum this time around that is especially dangerous. How are we being affected, responding and not responding, surviving? For 18 years, the Minnesota-based Arab American arts organization Mizna has centered Arab and Muslim voices in the literary journal Mizna: Prose, Poetry and Art Exploring Arab America. The most recent issue is called “Surviving.” Two of the writers in the issue, Niebal Atiyeh and Tariq Luthun, along with writers Moheb Soliman and Laila Farah, will read their original work. Emceed by Executive Editor Lana Barkawi, the event will also include the culmination of a community participation project from the DIWAN7/MOVE 2017 conference. An open-mic session will follow the readings.

Niebal Atiyeh, Teach for America
Niebal Atiyeh is a Syrian American teacher and writer. She began teaching Arabic Theater with the Global Voices program in Chicago. She taught math for 3 years with Teach for America Detroit and is currently a lead teacher in Okemos. She attended the University of Michigan and University of Chicago for her BA and MA in Middle Eastern Studies, focusing on dissident literature and censorship in Syria. She’s published three pieces with Mizna: Undressing Vol. 18.1, The Dying Vol. 12 and The Vultures Vol. 10. 

Lana Barkawi, Mizna
Lana Barkawi is Executive and Artistic Director of Mizna, a multidisciplinary Arab arts organization based in St. Paul, MN. that centers on Arab and Muslim film, literature and art. She serves as executive editor of its literary journal, Mizna: Prose, Poetry, and Art Exploring Arab America. Barkawi also leads Mizna’s Twin Cities Arab Film Festival and Arabic language and drumming classes, as well as literary readings, public art installations, writing workshops and music events.

Laila Farah, DePaul University
Laila Farah is a Lebanese American feminist performer-scholar. She attended the Lebanese American University and Eastern Michigan University, while working toward her BA in Theatre and Communication Arts and her MA in Performance Studies and Communications. She received her Doctorate in Performance Studies at Southern Illinois University. She is currently an Associate Professor in Women’s and Gender Studies at DePaul University. She continues to work on future performance pieces in Chicago, as well as touring with her production of Living in the Hyphen-Nation. Her creative scholarship includes research with and the performance of “Third World” women and women of color, postcolonial identities and “alien-nation,” and ethnographic and autoethnographic performance. She is active locally, nationally and globally in gender-based initiatives through various organizations, including the National Women’s Studies Association, the Arab American Action Network and the International Oral History Organization. Dr. Farah has taught at DePaul, Southern Illinois University and SUNY Potsdam.

Tariq Luthun
Tariq Luthun is a Palestinian American data strategist, community organizer and Emmy Award-winning poet from Detroit, MI. He is currently an MFA candidate for poetry in the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Amidst other things, Luthun is the Social Director of Organic Weapon Arts Press and a co-founder of the PoC-dedicated literary arts series FRUIT. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Vinyl Poetry, The Offing, Winter Tangerine Review and Button Poetry, among other credentials. He is a deep dish pizza evangelist and can best be described as the end-result of Drake falsetto-rapping Edward Said’s Orientalism.

Moheb Soliman
Moheb Soliman is an interdisciplinary poet from Egypt and the Midwest. His work explores issues of nature, modernity, identity and belonging. In 2015, he circled the Great Lakes through a Joyce Foundation fellowship, creating site-specific work and organizational partnerships. At five major Great Lakes national parks, he installed 25 poems disguised as official parks signs, which will soon come out as a chapbook (Red Bird Press). Soliman has degrees from the New School for Social Research and University of Toronto, and works as program director for Mizna.

Session tags: Cross-sector plenary session
Arab American National Museum