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Arab America Foundation Announces Program for the CONNECT Arab America: Empowerment Summit 2023

posted on: Oct 23, 2023



(WASHINGTON, D.C., October 23, 2023)– The Arab America Foundation is excited to announce the program for the CONNECT Arab America: Empowerment Summit November 3-4 at the Doubletree by Hilton Orlando Hotel at SeaWorld.

Connect Arab America: Empowerment Summit Program

Venue: Doubletree by Hilton Orlando Hotel at SeaWorld, 10100 International Drive, Orlando, Florida 32821

Friday, November 3:

8:00 am – 12:00 pm

Arab America Foundation 1st Annual Golf Outing

Falcon’s Fire Golf Club is recognized both regionally and nationally as one of the finest public Golf Courses in Orlando. This Rees Jones-designed championship Golf Course and the spacious Clubhouse offer guests a spectacular venue. It’s an immaculate Golf Course featuring the highest level of service and amenities, with the latest technology, including GPS navigation. Breakfast and Lunch are included.  

12:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Registration and Information

Exhibits Open

12:30 pm – 1:45 pm

Kick-Off Lunch for State Team Leaders

Join us for a captivating and empowering Kick-Off Lunch as we gather Arab America Foundation’s dedicated State Team Leaders. This dynamic breakout meeting aims to foster a deep sense of connection and camaraderie among the leaders, providing an opportunity to embrace the essence of our movement. Together, we will explore the unique opportunities and challenges faced by State Team Leaders

2:00 pm – 2:45 pm

Connecting with the Movement–Yalla Cousins!

Step into the heart of a transformative movement as we present this informative panel. Join us for an enlightening discussion as we showcase the incredible strides made by the Arab America Foundation in promoting Arab heritage, educating Americans about Arab identity, and empowering Arab Americans nationwide.


Noura Ismail, Co-Team Leader, New York


Bassel Abdallah, Co-Team Leader, Ohio

Eynas Jarrar, Co-Team Leader, New England

Mona Sadeq, Co-Team Leader, Virginia

Fatma Wasel, Team Leader, North Carolina

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Connecting with Ultimate Well-Being: Dealing with Stress in a Turbulent World

In the quest for well-being, it’s vital to harmonize the mind, body, and soul. Arab Americans face a unique set of challenges, balancing everyday stresses while navigating complex issues like cultural identity, parenting, immigration, and discrimination. Moreover, the emotional weight of worrying about family in turbulent homelands adds another layer of complexity. Join us to explore strategies for managing stress, fostering resilience, and achieving holistic well-being in the face of these multifaceted challenges.


Jamie Hyder, Lebanese-American Actress and Mental Health Advocate


Stefan Ateek, Professor of Social Work, Texas State Team Leader

Dr. Shatha Atiya, Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Community Advocate

Dr. Adel Korkor, MD, Founder and CEO, Adel B. Korkor Foundation for Mental Health

Michelene Maalouf, Mental Health Counselor and Educator, Serein Counseling

4:00 pm 

End of Afternoon Activities

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Ahlan Networking Reception and Dinner

Ahlan! Welcome to the much-awaited opening reception of the CONNECT Arab America: Empowerment Summit! This is the moment we’ve all been eagerly anticipating—a joyous kick-off where we come together for the first time to forge new connections. Prepare to embark on an unforgettable journey of empowerment, inspiration, and community. 

8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Fann Wa Tarab Concert Cultural Evening

Amidst the ongoing crisis in Palestine, we recognize the significance of our identity and the need for unity. Coming together during these challenging times is crucial, emphasizing the importance of resistance through music. We present a special evening with Palestinian virtuoso Simon Shaheen, one of the most influential Arab musicians, performers, and composers of our time. He will perform on Friday evening, November 3, 2023, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando Hotel at SeaWorld. Shaheen will be accompanied by his ensemble from New York, featuring Syrian American vocalist, Nano Raies, Firas Zreik on qanun, Gilbert Mansour on percussion, and Rami Abuolaya on nay.

Open: Warren David, President, Arab America, Co-Founder of Arab America Foundation

Commentary: Ahmed Al-Kadri, Yemeni American Advocate

10:00 pm

Candle Vigil: Healing and Hope

The event is In partnership with Arab Socials at the Pavillion.

SATURDAY, November 4:

8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Registration and Information

Exhibits Open

8:00 am – 9:30 am

Man’oushe, Foul, and Qahwa Networking Breakfast

Indulge your senses in authentic Arab and American delicacies and prepare yourself for a delightful morning as you mingle and connect with fellow summit attendees, you’ll have the opportunity to meet and get acquainted with like-minded Arab Americans from various backgrounds. 

SATURDAY Morning Session:

9:30 am – 12:30 pm

CONNECT Arab America: Empowerment Summit

Connecting and empowering Arab Americans across the country with presentations by community leaders, influential women, rising leaders, and awesome performers.

9:30 am – 9:45 am

Open: Warren David, President, Arab America, Co-Founder, Arab America Foundation

Dr. Adel Korkor MD, Chairman, Arab America Foundation, CEO Adel B. Korkor Foundation

Dr. Amal David, Director of Community Engagement, Co-Founder, Arab America Foundation

9:45 am – 10:00 am

Kick-Off Speaker

Mona Cherkaoui, Advocate for Leadership, Minority Entrepreneurship, and Cultural Diversity

10:00 am – 10:45 am

Connecting with National Arab American Heritage Month: Promoting Identity, Countering Misinformation, and Embracing Our Narrative

It is crucial that we share our authentic story. Proactive communication ensures our narrative is rooted in facts. National Arab American Heritage Month (NAAHM), observed every April, offers a significant opportunity to educate Americans. Since its inception in 2017 by Arab America, NAAHM has evolved from limited recognition to garnering support from the government, numerous states, municipalities, and institutions. The potential to further enhance NAAHM is vast, inspiring more states, institutions, and public servants to participate. By actively engaging in NAAHM, we can spread the message of unity and pride in our Arab American identity, presenting an accurate portrayal of who we are.


Tala Shatara, Television Host and Author


Maria Banou, Senior Consultant at Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory, and Community Advocate

Mahbuba Hamed, Educator, and State Co-Team Leader, California

Nawal Hamade, President and CEO Emeritus, Hamade Educational Services, Michigan

Bios of Speakers Here

10:45 am – 11:00 am

Cultural Performance: Connecting to Our Homeland

Performer: Nibal Malshi, Arab Classic Vocalist

11:00 am – 11:45 am

Connecting with Arab American Women: We Hear You, We See You

This panel aims to celebrate the strength, resilience, and accomplishments of Arab American women while highlighting the pivotal role they play in shaping our community and beyond. Together, let’s shatter boundaries, challenge preconceptions, and pave the way for a future where Arab American women’s voices are more heard, valued, and celebrated.


Joy Bateh-Freiha, Senior Communications Specialist, Community Advocate


Dr. Leslie Jamila Cloud, Director, Parkinson’s Disease Program, Virginia Commonwealth University

Shreen Ghaleb, Advocate for Female Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and MBA Candidate Johns Hopkins University

Sara Shendy, Police Sergeant at Case Western Reserve University

Dr. Eman Tadros, Assisstant Professor, Mental Health, Syracuse University

Bios of Speakers Here

11:45 am – 12 pm

Recognition of State Team Leaders


Dr. Amal David, Director of Community Engagement

12:00 pm – 12:30 pm

Rising Leaders Recognition

Come and join our Zeffa celebration as we honor the Rising Leaders of 2023! This special initiative aims to highlight the outstanding talents and valuable contributions of Arab Americans in three distinct age groups: 40 Under 40, 30 Under 30, and 20 Under 20. These exceptional individuals represent the rising leaders of our community, and we take immense pride in acknowledging their unwavering dedication and hard work. Over 300 Arab Americans have been recognized since 2020.


Nabeleh Ghareeb, Co-Coordinator Rising Leaders Initiative, Michigan Co-Team Leader

Mona Abdulla, Yemeni Community Activist, 2021 Rising Leader Awardee

Bios of Speakers Here

12:30 pm – 1:30 pm

Sahtein Networking Lunch

Join us for the Sahtein Networking Lunch and seize the opportunity to connect with Arab American attendees hailing from various parts of the United States.

1:30 pm – 3:15 pm

Saturday Afternoon Session:

CONNECT Arab America Empowerment Summit

Connecting and empowering Arab Americans across the country with presentations by community leaders, influential women, rising leaders, and awesome performers.

1:30 pm – 1:35 pm

Empowering Innovation: A Dialogue on Entrepreneurship and Business Leadership

Living in a country that offers vast opportunities for entrepreneurship, we will talk about the essential elements required to become a prosperous entrepreneur and a business leader in our ever-changing world. Our discussion will focus on the fundamental qualities, skills, and mindset crucial for thriving in the realm of entrepreneurship. We will also share first-hand experiences in the exciting journey of making an impact.


Ameera David, News Anchor, Emmy Award Winning Journalist

Guest Speaker:

Dr. Issa Batarseh, Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Central Florida

Connecting with Professionals: Leadership Development

Discover the road to success as we bring together prominent Arab American business leaders and entrepreneurs to share their inspiring success stories and recommendations for growth. The Arab American community has a rich history of entrepreneurship and business acumen. In this panel, you will have the unique opportunity to learn firsthand from accomplished individuals who have navigated the entrepreneurial landscape and achieved remarkable accomplishments.


Wesam Shahed, Policy Advisor, Assistant State Attorney, Cook County, Illinois

1:35 pm – 2:15 pm


Marwa Ghamrawi, Washington Center for Yemeni Studies, Community Advocate, Washington DC

Jad-Evangelo Nasser, Global Inclusion and Cross-Cultural Expert, Atlanta, Georgia

Omar Kurdi, President, Arab Americans of Cleveland Professional Network

Bios of Speakers Here

2:15 pm – 3:15 pm

Media Coverage, Political Rhetoric, and U.S. Foreign Policy: Strategies to Counter Misrepresentations of Arabs in the Media

The portrayal of Arabs is often simplistic, inaccurate, and disproportionately focused on violence, perpetuating harmful stereotypes that fuel racism, Islamophobia, and bullying. This panel will analyze how media outlets, political rhetoric, and U.S. foreign policy contribute to these damaging narratives, examining incidents such as the Gaza crisis where Palestinians have been dehumanized and depicted solely as terrorists, erasing their humanity in the process. Additionally, we explore the impact of social media on shaping public perceptions of Arabs, providing insights and strategies to challenge and counter these misrepresentations.


Rush Darwish, President. Arab American Business and Professional Association, Chicago


Omar Baddar, Palestinian American Political and Media Commentator, Washington DC

Nasser Beydoun, Civil Rights Advocate, Candidate for U.S. Senate, Michigan

Bios of Speakers Here

Summit Daytime Activities End

3:15 pm


Breakout Meeting on Palestine

SATURDAY Evening, November 4:

6:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Al Rabitah Gala Banquet

The Al Rabitah Gala Banquet is an event deeply rooted in the vision of Arab American writer and philosopher, Kahlil Gibran, who initiated “Al Rabitah” (The Connection) over a century ago. Inspired by his ambition to unite Arab Americans under the spirit of heritage, culture, and identity, we gather to honor our shared roots and create lasting connections. Throughout the night, you will be treated to a plated dinner, a rich program celebrating our identity.

7:00 pm

Open and Introductions:

Dr. Manal Fakhoury, Master of Ceremonies, Co-Team Leader Florida

Opening Remarks:

Warren David, President, Arab America, Co-Founder, Arab America Foundation

Dr. Adel Korkor, Chairman, Arab America Foundation, Chairman and Founder, Adel B. Korkor Foundation

7:15 pm


Jerry Demmnngs, Mayor of Orange County, Florida (Invited)

Farah Abu Adeela, Miss Arab USA 2023

7:30 pm


Sara Shouhayib Alawar, Master of Ceremonies, Emmy Award Winning Journalist, and Emcee

Rush Darwish, President, Arab American Business and Professional Association, Chicago

8:00 pm 


9:00 pm

Embracing Palestine: Hearts United for Peace and Justice

11:00 pm

End of Saturday Evening Activities

Optional: Sunday, November 5:

8:30 am

Arab America Foundation Board of Directors Meeting

10:00 am

Yalla Connect! Farewell Networker at the Pavillion

Join us for one last opportunity to connect and bid farewell to each other. This gathering allows us to come together once more, cherishing the memories we’ve created and celebrating the bonds we’ve formed. Yalla, let’s make the most of this moment and bid farewell with a promise to stay connected and meet again soon!

12:00 pm

Optional: Moroccan Heritage Festival

Optional: Special Discounts to Theme Parks

Bios of Speakers Here

For Press Inquiries: Claire Boyle

To Register for this Event: REGISTER HERE

For sponsorship opportunities: Contact Warren David (313-999-6000)

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

Arab America Foundation

Check out Arab America’s blog here!