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Meet 2018 - 19 NNAAC Fellow Sarah Risheq!

NNAAC’s Transformative Leaders Fellowship Program develops crucial leadership skills in select university students and recent graduates across the country through an ongoing partnership with our various member organizations. These aspiring young adults learn more about the issues facing Arab American communities, see how nonprofits are managed, and work toward creating a personal professional growth plan.

Get to know Sarah Risheq, one of our 2018-19 fellows, in our interview with her below.

Sarah Risheq

Arab American Action Network

Why did you join the Leadership Fellowship?
After moving from Jordan to the United States, I instantly looked for an Students for Justice in Palestine chapter on campus and got involved with organizing and activism around Palestine. My interest and passion towards justice and liberation for Palestine motivated me to work closely with Arab, Arab American, Muslim community outside of campus. I started attending Arab American Action Network (AAAN) events, protests, and rallies for Rasmea Odeh's trials. I'm looking forward to a transformative experience, that also benefits AAAN, and the communities we are engaging with.

What is your favorite quality about your host-site organization?
I love being surrounded by community organizers, because I get to learn a lot from them about how to work with community, how to communicate and discuss certain issues that our communities face under racist administrations. Being around and serving Arab, Arab American, North African, and refugee communities in Chicago land area is such a humbling experience that opens your eyes to the ways we can unite against racism, xenophobia, surveillance, and other issues that impact our community.

How does this program fit into your future plans?
I want to continue mobilizing around the different Middle Eastern and Northern African communities living as displaced, in exile, for refuge, or as immigrants.

What is a personal goal that you would like to achieve?
I want to learn the different ways you can organize around community. My personal goals in this program is to learn how to put together workshops, events, and emergency rallies regarding issues that impact us and our black, brown, and Latinx brothers and sisters struggling for liberation as well. Another personal goal of mine, is to give back to communities in Chicago that have welcomed me, that shared stories with me about life, and that showed their resilience and solidarity.

What is a professional goal that you would like to achieve?
My professional goals are to learn how grassroots and nonprofit organizations work and to learn the language with the system to offer services and programs to their communities. Additionally, working on the ground with organizers teaches minor details that matter to the bigger picture in mobilizing, organizing events, outreach and marketing.

Why do you think programs like this are important?
Yes, these programs are so important to get the youth engaged with communities that exist around them. It also creates a ripple effect of different types of engagements in the community around events organized by the organization the fellow is working in.

Describe yourself in three words.
Creative, intuitive, curious

The National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC) Transformative Leaders Fellowship Program increases the capacity of our member organizations to provide additional support to their communities, while at the same time develops crucial leadership skills in the fellows themselves. The program engages college students and/or recent graduates over a nine-month placement with a NNAAC member organization. Fellows are recruited by NNAAC members locally, and in partnership with universities. Learn more.

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Meet 2018 - 19 NNAAC Fellow Leen Shumman!

NNAAC’s Transformative Leaders Fellowship Program develops crucial leadership skills in select university students and recent graduates across the country through an ongoing partnership with our various member organizations. These aspiring young adults learn more about the issues facing Arab American communities, see how nonprofits are managed, and work toward creating a personal professional growth plan.

Get to know Leen Shumman, one of our 2018-19 fellows, in our interview with her below.

Leen Shumman

Arab-American Family Support Center

Why did you join the Leadership Fellowship?
I joined the Transformative Leaders Fellowship because it's a great way to give back to my community.

What is your favorite quality about your host-site organization?
I love working in a space that feels comfortable. Thankfully, everything has been great. I have been fortunate enough to work in an environment where everyone is kind, and wants to see you succeed.

How does this program fit into your future plans?
In general, my plan is to be a role model to younger Arab-American Women. With this program, I envision myself providing a stepping-stone for the girls in my community. As cliché as it sounds, I really do think it's important for the girls to know they have opportunities awaiting them.

What is a personal goal that you would like to achieve?
Hopefully, to strengthen my leadership skills.

What is a professional goal that you would like to achieve?
To get to network more often.

Why do you think programs like this are important?
I think programs like these are important to the Arab-American Community because it truly helps everyone. It especially allows the younger generations to feel empowered. Often, first-gen people have a difficult time going somewhere where they feel accepted. With these programs, it shines a light on a community that is often overlooked by society.

Describe yourself in three words.
Responsible, passionate, sincere

The National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC) Transformative Leaders Fellowship Program increases the capacity of our member organizations to provide additional support to their communities, while at the same time develops crucial leadership skills in the fellows themselves. The program engages college students and/or recent graduates over a nine-month placement with a NNAAC member organization. Fellows are recruited by NNAAC members locally, and in partnership with universities. Learn more.

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Meet 2018 - 19 NNAAC Fellow Dunia Alawi!

NNAAC’s Transformative Leaders Fellowship Program develops crucial leadership skills in select university students and recent graduates across the country through an ongoing partnership with our various member organizations. These aspiring young adults learn more about the issues facing Arab American communities, see how nonprofits are managed, and work toward creating a personal professional growth plan.

Get to know Dunia Alawi, one of our 2018-19 fellows, in our interview with her below.

Dunia Alawi

Palestinian American Community Center

Why did you join the Leadership Fellowship?
I joined the Transformative Leaders Fellowship program to gain first-hand experience in the organization and administrative aspect of a non-profit that is locally based in my community.

What is your favorite quality about your host-site organization?
I plan to attend Law School and this fellowship with help me gain invaluable experience to prepare me for graduate school.

How does this program fit into your future plans?
My favorite quality about PACC is that it is very involved with the local community, so working with them allows you to make a direct difference.

What is a personal goal that you would like to achieve?
I want to be able to implement small changes to increase the efficiency of the center and gain larger crowds during events.

What is a professional goal that you would like to achieve?
I want to be able to learn more about the administrative side of non-profit work and grow my network.

Why do you think programs like this are important?
I think that it's important for programs like this to exist in the Arab American community because we need to support each other and use one another's resources to help each other do great things!

Describe yourself in three words.
A detailed, passionate Palestinian!

The National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC) Transformative Leaders Fellowship Program increases the capacity of our member organizations to provide additional support to their communities, while at the same time develops crucial leadership skills in the fellows themselves. The program engages college students and/or recent graduates over a nine-month placement with a NNAAC member organization. Fellows are recruited by NNAAC members locally, and in partnership with universities. Learn more.

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Meet 2018 - 19 NNAAC Fellow Sammy Nijem!

NNAAC’s Transformative Leaders Fellowship Program develops crucial leadership skills in select university students and recent graduates across the country through an ongoing partnership with our various member organizations. These aspiring young adults learn more about the issues facing Arab American communities, see how nonprofits are managed, and work toward creating a personal professional growth plan.

Get to know Sammy Nijem, one of our 2018-19 fellows, in our interview with him below.

Sammy Nijem

Arab American Association of New York

Why did you join the Leadership Fellowship?
I joined the Transformative Leaders Fellowship program because I wanted to tackle the opioid crisis in my neighborhood and also give back to the community.

What is your favorite quality about your host-site organization?
My organization is catering to my community that I have been apart of for years. Seeing projects that will ultimately help better serve our community is something I enjoy.

How does this program fit into your future plans?
This program fits into my future plans because I want to go to law school in the future. Being a leader or seeing myself transform into a leader is a skill that I feel can be transferred over into law school.

What is a personal goal that you would like to achieve?
To better develop myself as a community leader.

What is a professional goal that you would like to achieve?
My professional goals is improving my public speaking skills.

Why do you think programs like this are important?
I think it's important for programs like these to exist in the Arab American communities because it can bring a sense of empowerment for our community.

Describe yourself in three words.
Optimistic, adventurous, open minded

The National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC) Transformative Leaders Fellowship Program increases the capacity of our member organizations to provide additional support to their communities, while at the same time develops crucial leadership skills in the fellows themselves. The program engages college students and/or recent graduates over a nine-month placement with a NNAAC member organization. Fellows are recruited by NNAAC members locally, and in partnership with universities. Learn more.

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Meet 2018 - 19 NNAAC Fellow Maya Allaf!

NNAAC’s Transformative Leaders Fellowship Program develops crucial leadership skills in select university students and recent graduates across the country through an ongoing partnership with our various member organizations. These aspiring young adults learn more about the issues facing Arab American communities, see how nonprofits are managed, and work toward creating a personal professional growth plan.

Get to know Maya Allaf, one of our 2018-19 fellows, in our interview with her below.

Maya Allaf

Alif Institute

Why did you join the Leadership Fellowship?
When the Syrian War sprung while I was in high school, I wanted to become more engaged in my Arab culture considering I was not able to get that dose of culture back in Syria anymore. I found out about Alif Institute and fell in love with the fact that the Institute focused on so many aspects of Arab life and cultures. When I found out I can contribute to their mission through the Transformative Leaders Fellowship program, I knew I had to do it.

What is your favorite quality about your host-site organization?
Alif Institute acknowledges that there isn't just one Arab culture, and it enforces that idea/fact through different types of events and activities. From movie screenings, to specific country nights, to poetry, calligraphy, food, and many other things, Alif sets an integral example of an inclusive "Middle East."

How does this program fit into your future plans?
I am currently an intern for the State Department and plan on working with the State Department in some way in the future. Being a part of this program teaches me how to dive deep into world cultures and learn the different components of people around the world, which are the exact "skills" the State Department looks for.

What is a personal goal that you would like to achieve?
Although I am here to help Alif's mission in promoting arts and cultures, I hope to grow as a person and in knowledge of Arab stories and cultures. I hope to gain a deeper understanding of what Arabs throughout history have struggled with in the United States and have an idea as to how these issues may be resolved.

What is a professional goal that you would like to achieve?
I hope to understand what it's truly like to run a nonprofit based on cultures, rather than charity. This includes gaining skillsets such as running a "one-person" show by being forced to learn many different skills (from site running, designing, writing/editing, promoting awareness to others, etc.).

Why do you think programs like this are important?
As I mentioned in the first question, I sought after Alif Institute when I was in high school and was worried that my inability of visiting Syria would hinder being in touch with my Arab culture. There are others that may not even know anything about their Arab background and seek to learn about their family background. There are thousands of Americans whose families came to the U.S. in the 1900s and don't have an idea about what their family members where here for, and what their culture is about. During times of political turmoil and xenophobia, programs like this are integral not only for Arabs to have, but also for the U.S. as whole. Programs like this show a different side to Arabs not known by many Americans.

Describe yourself in three words.
Animated, determined, understanding

The National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC) Transformative Leaders Fellowship Program increases the capacity of our member organizations to provide additional support to their communities, while at the same time develops crucial leadership skills in the fellows themselves. The program engages college students and/or recent graduates over a nine-month placement with a NNAAC member organization. Fellows are recruited by NNAAC members locally, and in partnership with universities. Learn more.

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Meet 2018 - 19 NNAAC Fellow Lucine Jarrah!

NNAAC’s Transformative Leaders Fellowship Program develops crucial leadership skills in select university students and recent graduates across the country through an ongoing partnership with our various member organizations. These aspiring young adults learn more about the issues facing Arab American communities, see how nonprofits are managed, and work toward creating a personal professional growth plan.

Get to know Lucine Jarrah, one of our 2018-19 fellows, in our interview with her below.

Lucine Jarrah

Arab American Heritage Council

Why did you join the Leadership Fellowship?
To encourage youth participation in civic affairs and work to provide youth with more opportunities for educational success.

What is your favorite quality about your host-site organization?
The people I work with are dedicated and passionate. They believe in the mission of this organization.

How does this program fit into your future plans?
My future plans include continuing to lead and serve my community. To create more opportunities for them to be successful, and to build urgency on issues related to education, and the power of unity.

What is a personal goal that you would like to achieve?
I want to continue to educate myself and become more involved in my community in order to better understand and serve my community.

What is a professional goal that you would like to achieve?
I want to successfully plan the Film Festival event in April, promote the power of the arts throughout the community, and continue to empower the youth and increasing their presence in the political sphere.

Why do you think programs like this are important?
We have to continue to support movements and organizations working to create a community that is empowered and well represented.

Describe yourself in three words.
Advocate, passionate, leader

The National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC) Transformative Leaders Fellowship Program increases the capacity of our member organizations to provide additional support to their communities, while at the same time develops crucial leadership skills in the fellows themselves. The program engages college students and/or recent graduates over a nine-month placement with a NNAAC member organization. Fellows are recruited by NNAAC members locally, and in partnership with universities. Learn more.

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Meet 2018 - 19 NNAAC Fellow Mohamed Farah!

NNAAC’s Transformative Leaders Fellowship Program develops crucial leadership skills in select university students and recent graduates across the country through an ongoing partnership with our various member organizations. These aspiring young adults learn more about the issues facing Arab American communities, see how nonprofits are managed, and work toward creating a personal professional growth plan.

Get to know Mohamed Farah, one of our 2018-19 fellows, in our interview with him below.

Mohamed Farah

Somali Family Services

Why did you join the Leadership Fellowship?
To make a difference in my community

What is your favorite quality about your host-site organization?
The amount of diversity. Even though it is a Somali family service, we tend to the needs of all races religions and ethnicities.

How does this program fit into your future plans?
It helps me because I want to some day open up businesses in my community and this organization will help me build these relationships with my Arab community.

What is a personal goal that you would like to achieve?
I want to build my communication and interaction skills.

What is a professional goal that you would like to achieve?
I want to be able to build and apply for a grant

Why do you think programs like this are important?
I think it is important because the lack of awareness of our Arab origins is really overlooked and that should not be the case in the 22 century.

Describe yourself in three words.
Ambitious, dedicated, reliable

The National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC) Transformative Leaders Fellowship Program increases the capacity of our member organizations to provide additional support to their communities, while at the same time develops crucial leadership skills in the fellows themselves. The program engages college students and/or recent graduates over a nine-month placement with a NNAAC member organization. Fellows are recruited by NNAAC members locally, and in partnership with universities. Learn more.

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Meet 2018 - 19 NNAAC Fellow Peter Aziz!

NNAAC’s Transformative Leaders Fellowship Program develops crucial leadership skills in select university students and recent graduates across the country through an ongoing partnership with our various member organizations. These aspiring young adults learn more about the issues facing Arab American communities, see how nonprofits are managed, and work toward creating a personal professional growth plan.

Get to know Peter Aziz, one of our 2018-19 fellows, in our interview with him below.

Peter Aziz

Arab American Civic Council

Why did you join the Leadership Fellowship?
I joined because I wanted to be part of a program that was meaningful and utilize my capacity and build on my skills.

What is your favorite quality about your host-site organization?
I am great at networking, however I want to become a community builder.

How does this program fit into your future plans?
The shared frustration with voter registrations currently. Aside from that, the constant energy for motivating each other.

What is a personal goal that you would like to achieve?
The personal goals I want to achieve with this program are in the sphere of being able to prove myself wrong in some aspects of how I view my work ethic or my capacity and skill level.

What is a professional goal that you would like to achieve?
Challenge myself to do things in an unconventional way in which I am normally used to doing.

Why do you think programs like this are important?
Programs like this are incredibly important in our community because we also need that reminder that we can and are doing better things than what the media or what people think our community is about.

Describe yourself in three words.
Frustrated, angry, and motivated. On an serious note, determined, patient and reliable

The National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC) Transformative Leaders Fellowship Program increases the capacity of our member organizations to provide additional support to their communities, while at the same time develops crucial leadership skills in the fellows themselves. The program engages college students and/or recent graduates over a nine-month placement with a NNAAC member organization. Fellows are recruited by NNAAC members locally, and in partnership with universities. Learn more.

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ADVOCACY WEEK 2017

ARAB AMERICAN LEADERSHIP DAYS 
Advocating for Justice 
Washington, D.C. April 26-28, 2017 

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Poster campaign encourages Brooklyn to support Arab neighbors

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