April was Arab-American Heritage Month and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Alhurra television and Radio Sawa commemorated the occasion with special news and programming highlighting the achievements of Arab-Americans, and their integration into the American society.
Alhurra marked the month by covering the many Arab-American heritage events including a report on the State of Maryland’s yearly celebration of Arab-American Heritage and the role of community engagement in promoting cross-cultural understanding. Alhurra interviewed Mr. George Selim, Director for Community Partnerships at the White House, who was honored this year.
Almajalla, Alhurra’s magazine program, featured influential Arab-Americans including Shafic Gabr, an Egyptian-American who founded the East-West Art of Dialogue initiative, the organization which encourages young emerging leaders to participate in exchange programs between the Middle East, Europe and the United States.
The program also interviewed Tunisian-American Suleika Jaouad, a writer, cancer-survivor and healthy living advocate. Her weekly column in the New York Times chronicles her journey as a young woman living with cancer. Almajalla also interviewed Dareen Hakim, a Lebanese-American fashion designer, mixing between tradition and modernity. The program highlighted her unusual designs, strongly influenced by the turmoil of her native Lebanon, reflecting at the same time resilience, strength, happiness and laughter through the scripted messages on her hand bags.
In addition to the above, Alhurra aired a series of original and acquired documentaries such as The Americans II: The Arab-Americans series, Arab-American Stories, and Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football.
As part of its Arab-American Heritage Month coverage, Radio Sawa covered the Montgomery Service Awards which honored Mona Nagm who has helped countless immigrants navigate the complexities of their new community. It also covered a discussion panel organized by the Muslim Women Association in Washington about the rights of women in Islam and an event organized by USAID about the Arab women’s role in social change. Radio Sawa also interviewed Nahla Kayali, a Palestinian-American honored by the White House for being a Champion of Change. Kayali is the Founder and Executive Director of Access California Services. Radio Sawa reported on the challenges that face Arab Americans to keep identity and integrate into the American society. The network interviewed prominent Arab-Americans such as Subhi Ghandour, Director of Hewar Center in Washington; George Khalaf from Synergos Institute in New York and Sarah Moussa, entrepreneur.
MBN Digital published a report highlighting the diversity of American society and Arab-American Heritage month, how it started and why Arab-Americans celebrate their heritage in the month of April. The report features a Palestinian-American woman who was stereotyped, which led her to this initiative in 1999.
MBN Digital also published a report highlighting Arab-American Heritage Month as an occasion to bridge the gap between the two cultures. It mentions notable Arab-American actors, artists, poets and politicians and discusses the challenges facing Arab-Americans.