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Arab America Foundation Announces Collaboration with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, “Taking Back Our Narrative” to Debut February 17-19, 2023

posted on: Nov 16, 2022

WASHINGTON DC–November 16, 2022: The Arab America Foundation (AAF) and the Kennedy Center, Conflux Programming Initiative, announced today an initiative entitled, “Taking Back Our Narrative,” February 17-19, 2023. The initiative will celebrate Arab heritage and highlight the contributions of Arab Americans to America with performances, art, and film screenings. 

Presented in collaboration with the Kennedy Center, Conflux Programming Initiative, “Taking Back Our Narrative” speaks to the fullness and diversity of the Arab American experience, values, and cultural landscape throughout the United States.

“The root causes of racism directed against Arab Americans are linked heavily to orientalism, colonialism, popular literature, stereotyping in films, misrepresentation in textbooks, negative coverage in the mass media, and political rhetoric.” says Warren David, co-founder of the Arab America Foundation, “There is a fundamental need for this marginalized community to take back its narrative and to increase awareness of the accomplishments and contributions of Arab Americans.” 

Artists performing at the “Taking Back Our Narrative” event include the National Arab Orchestra, Arab pop vocalist, Emad Batayeh, an art exhibition curated by Arab American artist, Helen Zughaib, and a film screening sponsored by the Arab Film and Media Institute.

About The Kennedy Center Conflux Initiative

The Conflux program is a confluence of efforts where the Kennedy Center and a flagship national community partner — each with its distinct missions, values, and social impact objectives combine efforts. The result is a series of transformative programming that advances the field and maximizes collective impact.

About the Arab America Foundation

The Arab America Foundation (AAF) is a non-profit (501c3) educational and cultural organization. The mission of AAF is to promote the Arab heritage, empower and educate others about the Arab identity, connect Arab Americans, empower youth, and build coalitions with diverse organizations across the U.S.

Event Schedule:

Art Exhibit Curated by Helen Zughaib, All Weekend

Arab American Artist, Helen Zughaib

Helen Zughaib is a painter and multimedia artist living in working in Washington, D.C. Her themes are centered around hopefulness, healing, and spirituality, using visual arts to shape and foster positive ideas about the Arab World. Her exhibit will be displayed in the Eisenhower Theater Display Case. She has also been selected for the 2021-2023 inaugural social practice residency by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.

Friday, February 17, 2023

6:00 pm

Special Kick-Off Reception, Taking Back Our Narrative” Sponsored by the Arab America Foundation

Image: Helen Zughaib

Join members of the Arab American community, government officials, and sponsors, as we kick-off this historic collaborative effort with the Kennedy F. Center for the Peforming Arts (Conflux Programming Initiative), and the Arab America Foundation–celebrating the diversity of the Arab American experience, values, and culture.

8:00 PM

The National Arab Orchestra at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater 

Founded in 2009, the National Arab Orchestra, (NAO), a nonprofit, is dedicated to elevating and preserving Arab culture and musical traditions in the United States and beyond through performance, education, outreach, and collaboration. Under the leadership of founder and Music Director Michael Ibrahim, the NAO creates memorable, high-quality musical experiences that keep Arab culture alive and thriving.  These concerts bring the beauty of Arab music to entirely new and diverse audiences.   

Saturday, February 18, 2023

6:00 PM

Arab Pop Vocalist, Emad Batayeh  at the Millennium Stage Grand Foyer  

Emad Batayeh is one of the leading Arabic vocalists in the United States. Batayeh is also a musician and producer. Born to a Jordanian family in Detroit, Emad inherited his musical talents from his parents who encouraged him from a young age to pursue music as a career. He became known as a musical genius as a kid. He now performs at Arab American cultural events across the U.S.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

3:00 PM

Arab Film & Media Institute Film Screening  at the Justice Forum at the REACH  

The Arab Film and Media Institute (AFMI) is a non-profit organization founded by the team behind the largest and oldest Arab Film Festival in North America. AFMI aims to be a complete ecosystem to find, nurture, and showcase Arab talent in the United States. Starting with organizing school screenings, and growing into offering filmmaker services and original programming, AFMI is the place for Arab cinema and its fans, and the home of the Arab Film Festival. 

For Press Inquiries: Claire Boyle: cboyle@arabamerica.com

For more information about this Event: CLICK HERE

Kennedy Center Press Release: CLICK HERE

For sponsorship opportunities: Contact Warren David wdavid@arabamerica.com

For more information about the Arab America Foundation, please visit: Arab America Foundation

Check out Arab America’s blog here!