National Arab American Heritage Month, April 2024

Departmental News

Posted:  Apr 01, 2024 - 12:00pm

UNM celebrates National Arab American Heritage Month, April 2024. Click on the red links below for more information. Scroll down to read about events, the history of National Arab American Heritage Month, research, news and organizations.

UNM Languages, Cultures and Literatures: Arabic Studies


"Arabic is a language with a rich intellectual and literary heritage, and has been a dynamic resource for political and cultural expression from pre-Islamic times to the present. Studying Arabic provides students with the skills to analyze a wide variety of political, social, religious, and cultural contexts from the Middle East and North Africa to Arab diaspora communities across the world. The UNM Arabic program offers courses at the elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels that focus on developing students' linguistic competence via culturally-situated contexts and cross-cultural comparisons."  Learn more

UNM Asian American Pacific Islander Resource Center (AAPIRC)


"The [UNM] Asian-American Pacific Islander Resource Center (AAPIRC) was established during the 2021-2022 academic year as a result of an student-led initiative to create a center that supports AAPI students at UNM.

Mission Statement: The mission of the Asian American Pacific Islander Resource Center is to build a sense of belonging for students of Asian/Pacific Islander/Desi American Heritage during their studies at the University of New Mexico. AAPIRC also seeks to provide culturally relevant programs that cultivate Asian/Pacific Islander leaders within communities. 

Vision Statement: The vision of AAPIRC is to provide a physical space where students are able to enrich college social experience and access state of the art student services, programs, research and educational opportunities without feeling the guilt of the “Model Minority Myth”. (Understanding College Student Subpopulations: Published by NASPA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education)." Learn more 

AAPIRC's Community Submission Based Blog

UNM Global Education Office

global-ed.jpg"We are a large service unit that facilitates international linkages, cultural exchange, global diversity, and the development of international expertise across all sectors of the university. GEO is responsible for international recruitment and admissions, creates opportunities to study and work overseas through exchange and education abroad programs, offers immigration, orientation and co-curricular advising services for international students and scholars who study and work at UNM, provides intensive English language programs at the intermediate to advanced level, and develops short-term certificate programs for adult learners."

UNM Study Abroad: Arabic Language and Culture in Oman

noor_majan_city_1.jpg"This program focuses on language and cultural learning in Nizwa, Oman at the Noor Majan Institute. Students will take Arabic classes in the morning. This classes will match student levels, including a class for students with no previous background in Arabic. In the afternoon, students will pursue cultural activities with language partners. Cultural activities includes visiting the Grand Mosque, an Omani coffee session, tailor, Nizwa fort, calligraphy, restaurant, mall, museum, and more. There will be day trips over the weekend (Jan 5-6) to the Nizwa market, a local hike, and Omani families. Students will also complete a learning portfolio documenting their experience." 


April 4  at 9:30am, 11:00am, 12:30pm, 2:00pm, 3:30pm, 5:00pm Film Screening: Veiled Voices (2009), hosted by the UNM Language Learning Center, Language Learning Center, 1st floor of Ortega Hall, Rm. 124
April 4, 7 PM EDT, Words for Palestine (virtual livestream); Free with RSVP 
April 9 4 PM, Hasnul Johar, a Fulbright Scholar visiting from the University of Utah presents Contemporary Views on Gender and Militarism in Indonesian Contexts, hosted by UNM International Studies Institute and the Department of English, Ortega Hall Reading Room (3rd Floor)
April 11 at 11:00am and 2:30pm Film Screening: The Message(1976), hosted by the UNM Language Learning Center, Language Learning Center, 1st floor of Ortega Hall, Rm. 124
April 12 7-9 PM ET, EVE: A Work-In-Progress Reading and Feedback Session (Livestream), hosted by the Arab American National Museum;  Register in Advance
April 13 4:30-6 PM ET, Decolonizing Tongues, Weaving Futures: Indigenous/Arab Solidarity, Creativity and Linguistic Self-Determination with Doris Bitar, Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhrán, Noor Hindi, Elder Lucy (Livestream), hosted by the Arab American National Museum; Register in Advance
April 17 12 noon Eid Al-Fitr Celebration, hosted by the UNM Language Learning Center, Language Learning Center, 1st floor of Ortega Hall, Rm. 124
April 18 10-2 UNM International Festival (Cornell Mall), hosted by the UNM Global Education Office
April 18 at 11:00am, 2:00pm, 4:00pm Film Screening: Lemon Tree (2008), hosted by the UNM Language Learning Center, Language Learning Center, 1st floor of Ortega Hall, Rm. 124
April 23 at 11:00am, 2:00pm, 4:00pm Film Screening: Wadjda (2012), hosted by the UNM Language Learning Center, Language Learning Center, 1st floor of Ortega Hall, Rm. 124
Ongoing:  UNM Languages, Cultures and Literatures Arabic Club, Wednesdays 12-1 PM in the Language Learning Center Movie Room (Ortega Hall)
Arab American National Museum Digital Scrapbooks: Oral History Interviews
Arab American National Museum Featured Stories and Objects presented by AANM Staff
Arab American National Museum English-Arabic Storytime
Arab America: The Top Arab Podcasts You Should Listen To
Apple Podcasts: Arab American Podcasts
Merced College Arab American Heritage Guide: Podcasts & Poetry

About National Arab American Heritage Month


“Celebrating Arab American Resilience and Diversity”

During the month of April, the Arab America Foundation formally recognizes the achievements of Arab Americans through the celebration of National Arab American Heritage Month (NAAHM). Across the country, cultural institutions, school districts, municipalities, state legislatures, public servants, and non-profit organizations issue proclamations and engage in special events that celebrate our community’s rich heritage and numerous contributions to society.

Arab America and the Arab America Foundation launched the National Arab American Heritage Month initiative in 2017, with just a handful of states recognizing the initiative. Each year, our grass-roots network of over 250 Arab American volunteers in 26 states gathers hundreds of proclamations from their states, counties, municipalities, and local school districts. If you would like to join a state team please contact Dr. Amal David.

The President of the United States recognized the month of April as National Arab American Heritage Month with a special commemorative letter to our organization. In 2022, Congress, the U.S. Department of State, and 45 state governors issued proclamations commemorating the initiative. Additionally, the following states have passed permanent legislation designating the month of April as NAAHM: IllinoisOregonVirginiaIndiana (Senate), and California." Learn more

The History of Arab American Heritage Month

arab-america-2.jpg"In 1527, a Moroccan man by the name of Mustafa Azemmouri landed in the US as a slave, possibly becoming the first Arab individual to move to the US. Then in 1854, Antonio Bishallany immigrated from Lebanon to the United States and became the first official Arab American. Since then, there have been multiple waves of immigration from the Arab World into the US, and the number of Arab Americans is estimated to be over 3.5 million people today. Check out the Arab American Institute map to learn more about how this population is distributed among the different states.

NAAHM first began to be celebrated in the 1990s, primarily sporadically in school districts. Gradually, it came to be recognized by more and more organizations in more and more states. In 2017, an organization called Arab America began the initiative to recognize the month nationally. In 2021, April was federally recognized for the first time as National Arab American Heritage Month." Learn more

White House: A Proclamation on Arab American Heritage Month 2024

"This month, we honor the rich heritage, history, and hopes of the more than 3.5 million Arab Americans across our country who have helped write the American story and move our Nation ever forward embodying the truth that diversity has been and always will be our country’s greatest strength. People with Arab heritage were among the many immigrants who came to our country’s shores with a range of cultures, customs, backgrounds, and beliefs, sharing a common courage to start new chapters in an unfamiliar land.  As they built their lives, they helped build America — from fighting for our independence in the Continental Army to serving the cause of freedom during World War II to helping build cities and communities across our Nation, often in the face of discrimination and hate." Read the full proclamation

The Establishment of National Arab American Heritage Month: H.Res.1022 — 117th Congress (2021-2022)

US Department of State: Recognizing National Arab American Heritage Month

"[In 2022], President Biden became the first U.S. president to declare April as National Arab American Heritage Month, in recognition of the contributions of Arab Americans to the United States that are as old as America itself. Americans of Arab heritage have advanced the nation’s achievements in diplomacy, science, technology, as well as in art and culture. Arab Americans have also been at the forefront of the fight for civil rights and social justice.  We mark National Arab American Heritage Month by celebrating the rich culture and heritage of Arab Americans and honoring the contributions to this country, including proudly here at the Department of State." Learn more

The Arab American National Museum (AANM)

"The Arab American National Museum (AANM) is the first and only museum in the United States devoted to documenting and sharing Arab American contributions that shaped the economic, political and cultural landscapes of American life. The Museum also brings to light the shared experiences of immigrants and ethnic groups, paying tribute to the diversity of our nation. We tell the Arab American story through the voices and experiences of Arab Americans." Learn more

Arab Americans: History, Culture and Contributions
Arab American National Museum Primary Resources 

Arab American Institute: Message from the President, Dr. James J. Zogby

arab-heritage-arab-am-inst.png"On March 31st [2023], President Joseph Biden issued a formal proclamation designating April as Arab American Heritage Month. That Mr. Biden took this step is significant, marking a turning point in our decades-long effort to secure recognition and respect for our community."  Read the full statement

The Smithsonian Institute: Arab American History and Culture

"In 1962, Dr. Alixa Naff set out to tell the story of Arab immigrants from Syria and Lebanon. In addition to investigating an area that had received little scholarly attention, her use of oral history as the basis of the research was innovative. In 1984, Naff donated her collection including the oral histories, archival materials, and artifacts to the National Museum of American History. You can read about her inVoices from the past: Arab American Oral Histories and explore items from her collection and others related to Arab American history and culture from across the Smithsonian."


Palestine/League of Arab States, 1978 - 1980, New Mexico Archives Online
An Oddessy to the Self: Voices of L2 Arab Writers and Institutional Practices
Cross-Language Morphological Activation: The Case of Arabic English Bilinguals
The Impact of Ideology on Lexical Borrowing in Arabic: A Synergy of Corpus Linguistics and CDA
At the Sea's Edge: Revisiting the Origins of Native Seamanship in Southern Arabia
Between Islamaphobia and the UMMAH: How Spanish Morrocans are Negotiating their Identities in Post 3-11 Madrid
Occidental Encounters: Early Nineteenth Century Egyptian Travellers to Europe
A Critical Discourse Analysis of Saudi Arabian Women in Zoe Ferraris' Finding Nouf
Female Gender Role Representation between 1990-2010 in Imported Children's Cartoons and their Implications for Conservative Yemeni Culture
A Study of the Role of the United Nations and the United States in the Lebanon Crisis of 1958 
Arab-American Literature: Origins and Developments
Narratives of Biculturalism: Arab-American Identity Negotiation Post-9/11
American Arabs: History, Identity, Assimilation, Participation
“Don't Forget”: The Life and Role of Arab American Women in the Early 20th Century
Arab American Acculturation and Ethnic Identity Across the Lifespan: Sociodemographic Correlates and Psychological Outcomes
‘The Story of Arab & Muslim Students Is Often an Untold Story’
The Social Construction of Arab Identity in the U.S.: The Historical Complicity and the Modern Responsibility of Social Work
Middle Eastern and North African Immigrants in the United States
Arab, Middle Eastern, and Muslim? What’s the Difference?!
Library of Congress Digital Collections
The Pluralism Project: Early American Mosques
Arab American National Museum Online Collections Database
Arab American National Museum Digital Special Collections Database


UNM Arabic Professor Receives Grant from Qatar Foundation International
UNM's Arabic Program Produces National Scholarship Winners 5 Years in a Row (2016-2021)
UNM Senior Lecturer of Arabic Named Language Teacher of Year
UNM to Provide Students Opportunities to Develop Skills and Form Friendships through Virtual Exchange Developed with Support from the Stevens Initiative
Arab Americans are a Much More Diverse Group than Many of their Neighbors Mistakenly Assume
US Marks National Arab American Heritage Month
Why Arabs and Arab Americans Feel Being Counted as White in the US Doesn’t Reflect their Reality
Arab Americans Say the Census and Other Forms don't Consider their Roots
American, but not quite: The Arab American Identity
Arab American Identity Duality
How Do We Recognize the Arab Identity
The Rise of Arab American Student Organizations Providing Identity to Students on US Campuses
The Art of Belonging: Arab American Artist Saj Issa Explores Identity, Ritual and Labor in New Works
Filmmaker Cherien Dabis on Her Arab-American 'Identity Crisis'


UNM Languages, Cultures and Literatures Arabic Club
Project for New Mexico Graduates of Color
Arab American Institute
Middle East Studies Association