The Arab American Summit, the National Network for Arab American Communities’ (NNAAC) biennial conference, was a powerful two-day convening of the nation's foremost leaders, advocates, students and allies from across the country Nov. 7 to 8, 2015 in Dearborn, Mich.
This year’s theme, From Marginalized to Organized, evoked the incredible journey of the Arab American community. We honored the amazing work that has been done to build community strength, while working together to advance an agenda for social justice and community change.
The Summit featured forums on civil rights for Arab and Muslim Americans; refugee issues and services; workshops on effective advocacy and activism, nonprofit management, leadership development and much more. Outstanding local, national and international speakers and experts presented on various hot button topics.
“The Arab American Summit is the first of its kind. It brought us together to discuss some of the most pressing issues that we are currently facing, strategize with one another on moving forward, strengthen our skills and forge new friendships and alliances,” said Nadia Tonova, Director of NNAAC. “We celebrated how far we’ve come on this journey, and discussed what we still need to do to ensure that we, as Arab Americans, are organized and unified to address today’s challenges—whether it’s within community organizations, providing adequate social services to our community, or fighting back against bigotry and discrimination.”
At the Summit’s Change Makers Dinner on Saturday night, NNAAC honored three distinguished individuals for their incredible accomplishments and contributions to the Arab American community. Foreign Correspondent for NBC News and Anchor for MSNBC Ayman Mohyeldin, who graciously spoke from Cairo via a video message, received the Breakthrough Award; Executive Director of the grassroots nonprofit Organizing for Action (OFA) Sara El-Amine received the Emerging Leader Award; and Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Yemen American Benevolent Association (YABA) Ali Baleed Almaklani received the Spirit of Service Award.
This Summit was markedly different from others, as it brought together leaders from across the country to work on a collective agenda that focuses on advocacy and activism, along with nonprofit capacity building and leadership development for Arab American community youth. Youth also had a unique role at the Summit, with a Youth Track for high school students to inspire the next generation of leaders.
Thank you to our distinguished guests and everyone who made this incredible Summit possible!
More on The Arab American Summit
The Arab American Summit is an exceptional, dynamic two-day symposium where movers and shakers deliberate and discuss the issues impacting Arab Americans and the country as a whole, learn best practices for maximum community impact and create collective solutions through collaboration. Read more from our blog.
Activities at the 2015 Summit included:
- Conversation on The State of Arab American Civil Rights with Dr. Jack G. Shaheen
- Workshops on effective advocacy and activism
- Change Makers Dinner honoring outstanding leaders on Saturday
- Award presentations to Ali Baleed Almaklani, of the Yemen American Benevolent Association; Sara El-Amine, of Organizing for Action; and Ayman Mohyeldin, of NBC
- Community forum on civil rights for Arab and Muslim Americans
- Community forum on refugee issues and services
- Workshops on nonprofit management
- Leadership development track for high school students
- And much more!