In Recognition of Arab-American Heritage Month

Precious Mosaic: The Core of Diversity

Farmingdale State College joins with over 3.6 million Arab Americans in celebration of Arab American Heritage Month. According to the Arab American Institute, ancestries can be traced to more than 20 countries in the Middle East and North Africa, including Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Morocco, Iraq, Jordan, Yemen, Bahrain, Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and others. What an amazingly beautiful mosaic that complements the richness of American’s cultural tapestry! There is something “naturally” awesome about the beauty of the American cultural tapestry.  The beauty is not housed in an alchemy of mysterium, but is the product of lives and their lived realities joined by basic ethics of altruism.  

From the first generation of immigrants from the Middle East arriving in the late 19th century to the current, Arab Americans have proven to be a contributing force in all sector of American society: Salma Hayek in the arts nominated for an Academy Award in 2002 for her role as in Frida, Hoda Kotb in broadcast television, Ahmed Zewail, 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Donna Shalala, the first Lebanese American to serve in a U.S. Cabinet Post as secretary health and human services, and Elias Zerhouni, first immigrant to hold the National Institutes of Health, and Steve Kerr one of the most successful basketball figures of all time.

We intentionally pause to hear, appreciate, and respond to the reverberating truth of Queen Rania Al Abdulla, “We are stronger when we listen and smarter when we share.” There are many more Arab Americans who have left and will leave contributions which will forever speak of hospitality and generosity - altruism. Farmingdale State College is proud of its community who hail Arab ancestry. Your story is bold and your presence is enduring.  Our response to the call to “listen” and “share” is to honor all Americans of Arab descent as their lived realities contribute to the precious mosaic that is the core of diversity.

Nota Bene: Treat yourself to a wonderful opportunity to “listen” and “share.” Consider reading one of the literary sources below:

  • Arab Americans by Sharon Cromwell
  • Out of Place by Edward Said
  • Grape Leaves: A Century of Arab-American Poetry by Gregory Orfalea (Editor)
  • The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf by Mohja Kahf