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

posted on: Nov 8, 2021

The CONNECT Arab America: Empowerment Summit



(WASHINGTON, D.C., November 8, 2021)

The Arab America Foundation is excited to announce its program for the CONNECT Arab America: Empowerment Summit to be held, November 12, 13 (14th is optional), 2021, at the Doubletree Hotel in Dearborn, Michigan. There are a-la-carte registrations available in Eventbrite as well.

The historic in-person event features an exciting array of speakers in public service, women’s activism, identity, community advocacy and engagement, and leadership. Moreover, participants will have many networking opportunities and will celebrate Arab heritage through music, entertainment, cuisine, and cultural and informational exhibits.

“We have assembled expert speakers who represent the Arab American identity and culture for this landmark event to be held in Dearborn, the heart of Arab America,” said Warren David, president of Arab America, and co-founder of Arab America Foundation. He went on to say, “it is crucial that Arab Americans come together now more than ever because our unity is our strength.” In addition, Warren David urges “everyone to join the National Summit to carry on their duty to promote, educate, connect, and empower Arab Americans throughout the United States!” REGISTER HERE

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

Connect Arab America: Empowerment Summit–Program

Friday, Evening, November 12

Venue: Doubletree Hilton Hotel, 5801 Southfield Fwy, Detroit, Michigan 48228

2:00-4:30 pm

Registration and Networking

Exhibits Open

4:30-6:00 pm

Ahlan Networking Reception and Dinner

Attend the opening reception of the CONNECT Arab America: Empowerment Summit. Meet new friends and indulge in a tantalizing buffet of Arab cuisine. 

6:00 pm

Buses Leave Doubletree Hotel to Arab American National Museum

6:30 pm 

Tour of Arab American National Museum and Networking

The Arab American National Museum is the nation’s only cultural institution to document, preserve and present the history, culture, and contributions of Arab Americans. Welcome by Dr. Diana Abouali, Director of the Arab American National Museum.

Venue: Arab American National Museum, 13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn, Michigan 48126


Buses Leave to Ford Performing Arts Center

8:00 pm

National Arab Orchestra Concert

We will join the National Arab Orchestra as they perform, Night of Tarab, live at the Ford Performing Arts Center in Dearborn, MI for the first time since the pandemic began. The concert will feature the NAO Takht Ensemble conducted by Michael Ibrahim as well as some of the country’s most talented artists. Don’t miss a fantastic evening of great music and celebration that will be sure to make you feel alive with joy. 

Venue: Ford Performing and Community Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn, Michigan 48126

10:00 pm 

Buses Leave to Doubletree Hotel

10:30 pm

Networker for Young Professionals at the Doubletree Hotel

Saturday, November 13

Morning Session

8:00 am 

Man’oushe, Foul, and Qahwa Networking Breakfast

Exhibits Open

Meet and get acquainted with summit attendees before the summit at this buffet breakfast and networking event.

9:00 am

Music by Arab Keyboardist: Abe Diab

Open and Introduction

Warren David, Master of Ceremonies

President, Arab America, Co-Founder of Arab America Foundation

Dr. Amal David 

Co-Founder of Arab America Foundation

9:07 am

Opening Remarks

Dr. Adel Korkor, Chairman, Arab America Foundation

Chairman and Founder, Adel B. Korkor Foundation

9:12 am

Networking 2.0: Creating Meaningful Connections 

Are you interested in learning more about how to network effectively? Join Derek Dickow, a master networker, for a workshop to explore how to create meaningful connections in a variety of industries and settings.  At the Summit, you will have the opportunity to practice  Mr. Dickow’s newly refined skills as you interact with Arab Americans from around the country.

Moderator: Warren David

Derek Dickow, Acclaimed Keynote Speaker, Power Connector, and Master Networker

9:22 am

Championing Change: Arab Americans on Identity and Community Activism

Identity and activism are two integral concepts that are important to Arab Americans. Join this diverse panel which collectively brings decades of experience in promoting and clarifying Arab identity through education, activism, advocacy, and culture. Engage with our panelists to become empowered Arab Americans and learn about different ways to be active change agents in your communities.

Moderator: Waleed Mahdi, Assistant Professor, US-Arab Politics, University of Oklahoma

Dr. Osama Abuirshaid, Executive Director, American Muslims for Palestine

Dr. Debbie Almontaser, Educator, Entrepreneur, Speaker, and Author

Nabih Ayad, Attorney, and Founder, Arab American Civil Rights League

Amer Zahr, Palestinian-American Comedian and Political Activist

10:07 am


Omar Kurdi, Writer, Performing Artist, and Founding Member of Masrah Cleveland Al-Arabi

10:12 am

Virtual Greetings: Senator Debbie Stabenow

10:13 am

Service and Solutions: Arab Americans Seeking Public Service 

Now more than ever, Arab Americans are becoming active in getting public service careers in all levels of politics, including municipal, regional, local, and state governments.  Panelists will talk about the importance of having Arab American politicians who represent the needs and desired policies of their constituents.  The distinguished panelists will briefly tell their stories and empower the youth by giving them suggestions on how to enter public service.

Moderator: Abderrahim Foukara, Washington, DC Bureau Chief, Al Jazeera

Susan Dabaja, President, Dearborn City Council

Bilal Hammoud, Public Engagement Associate, Michigan Department of State

Assad Turfe, Chief of Staff, Wayne County, Michigan

Rana Abdelhamid, Entrepreneur, Activist, and Candidate for New York’s 12th Congressional District.

10:54 am

Virtual Greetings: US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib

10:55 am


Stevie “Soul” Ansara, Artist, Beatboxer, and Multimedia Producer

11:06 am


Moderator: Shareefa Albanna, President, Pursuit Business Consulting

Meet two dynamic trailblazers who in their respective careers have made history this year.  They are Myles Amine, the Team San Marino Wrestling Bronze Medalist at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and Yasmine Al-Bustami, actress on CBS’s NCIS: Hawai’i and CW’s The Originals TV series. Here, they will briefly share their stories, and talk about why Arab American representation is so important in all fields, including sports and the entertainment industry.

Yasmine Al-Bustami, Actress, CBS’s NCIS: Hawai’i and the CW’s The Originals

Myles Amine, Team San Marino Bronze Medalist in Wrestling, Tokyo 2020 Olympics

11:27 am

2 Minute Ideas with State Team Leaders 

Team Leaders give two-minute ideas about their strategic action plan for 2022. How can they activate the base, expand on it, and utilize skills and talents that may strengthen the mission and lead a movement for understanding Arab American identity and heritage? 

Nabeleh Kakish Ghareeb, Summit Coordinator

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

Lily Karam/California

Neda Shaheen/District of Columbia

Nabeleh Kakish Ghareeb, Kimberly Ismail/Michigan

Faten Shalbayeh/New England

Maher Abdelqader, Mony Lofti/New York

Fatmeh Wasel/North Carolina

11:40 am

The Best Among Us: Recognizing Arab American Rising Leaders

The future of our community lies in empowering the young of Arab America. Here, the two young professional moderators will call on the best and brightest of Arab Americans who recently entered AA Foundation’s contests and were selected as honorees for Arab America Foundation’s “40 Under 40,” “30 Under 30,” and “20 Under 20” initiatives.


Ameera David, Reporter/Anchor WXYZ TV, ABC Detroit

John Sakakini, Supply Chain Commodity Manager, Delta Airlines

Coordinators: Nabeleh Kakish Ghareeb will acknowledge judges of the contests.

12:30-1:30 pm

Sahtein Networking Lunch

Meet and greet Arab American attendees from throughout the U.S.

Afternoon Session

1:30 pm

Music by Arab Keyboardist: Abe Diab

Arab Cuisine as a Gateway to Culture 

Arab cuisine is a beautiful and delicious way to celebrate our heritage! Join Mai Khader Kakish, food writer behind the successful @almondandfig blog, and Blanche Shaheen, the YouTube cooking show host of “Feast in the Middle East” who share how they express their Arab roots through food. You may even be able to pick up some new recipes for yourself along the way!

Mai Khader Kakish, Food Blogger, Writer, and Chef @almondandfig 

Blanche Shaheen, TV Host/Journalist, “Feast in the Middle East” Cooking Show Host, and Author

1:55 pm


Karim Nagi, Musician, and Performing Artist

2:10 pm

Meet the Mayors: Arab Americans on their Challenges and Triumphs

Engage with distinguished Arab Americans who have been elected as the mayors of their respective cities. Learn about the challenges they face in leading their cities and what these mayors are doing to be advocates for their constituents. In addition, they will talk about the triumphs they have experienced over the years and how they are empowering Arab Americans in their communities.

Moderator: Zenna Elhasan, General Counsel and Secretary of the Board of Trustees at Kresge Foundation

Andre Sayegh, Mayor, Paterson, New Jersey

Abdullah Hammoud, Mayor-Elect, Dearborn, Michigan

Bill Bazzi, Mayor, Dearborn Heights, Michigan

Amer Ghalib, Mayor-Elect, Hamtramck, Michigan

2:50 pm


Maple School Drummers

2:56 pm

She Calls the Shots: Arab American Women on Taking Charge in the World of Nonprofits 

Arab American women are becoming important leaders, especially, in the world of nonprofits and business ventures. Join these successful women in discussing the various issues they have faced over the years in their communities and beyond, and learn how to become an empowered Arab American woman and ally for female advancement. Engage with their triumphs to celebrate Arab American women who are leaving their marks in the world, especially, Arab America. 

Moderator: Soujoud Hamade, Attorney and President, Michigan Chapter National Arab American Bar Association

Taharah Saad, President, Arab American Women’s Business Council

Weam Namou, Executive Director, Chaldean Cultural Center

Rouba Samman, Administrator, National Arab American Medical Association (NAAMA) and Executive Director, American Syrian Arab Cultural Association (ASACA)

3:27 pm


Neemz, Singer, Songwriter, and Multidisciplinary Artist

3:40 pm

Virtual Interview with Hady Amr, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Department of State via Zoom Link, Interviewer: Abderrahim Foukara, Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief, Al Jazeera

3:51 pm

2 Minute Ideas for an ACTION PLAN with State Team Leaders

A continuation of Team Leaders who give two-minute ideas about their strategic action plan for 2022. How can they activate the base, expand on it, and utilize skills and talents that may strengthen the mission and lead a movement for understanding Arab American identity and heritage? 


Mona Abdulla, Yemeni American Activist

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

Awatef Assad/Ohio

Stefan Ateek, Hassan Ghosn/Texas/Louisiana

Mona Sadiq/Virginia

4:00-4:30 pm

Strategic Meeting for Cousins and State Teams

4:30 pm Daytime Activities End

*4:30 pm 

Yemeni Community Meeting

Saturday Evening, November 13

6:15 pm 

Buses Leave to Fairlane Banquet Center

Al Rabitah Gala and Hafla

Venue: Fairlane Banquet Center, 700 Town Center, Dearborn, Michigan 48126

6:30 pm

Arrival and Seating 

7:00 pm

Welcoming Remarks

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

Dr. Adel Korkor, Chairman, Arab America Foundation

Guest Speaker

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, U.S. House Michigan District 12 (D)

Guest Speaker 

Nabeela Barbari, Director, National Security Council, The White House

Acknowledgment of Rising Leaders Awardees

and Cousins 

Warren and Dr. Amal David

2021 MVP-Most Valuable Person Award, Nabeleh Kakish Ghareeb (Michigan)

2021 Emerging Leader Award, Mona Abdulla (New York)

Dance Performance

University of Michigan Arabesque Dance Troupe

Arabesque is a student organization at the University of Michigan dedicated to showcasing Arabic culture and talent through dance. Students who may be looking for an Arab community outside of home join Arabesque to bond with other students while learning dances from a variety of Arab regions.

Special Presentation

Dr. Osama Abuirshaid, National Director, American Muslims for Palestine

Stefan Ateek, Associate Professor of Social Work, Collin College, Ambassador, Nazareth Hospital

8:00 pm


8:30 pm

Music Program Featuring Sawsan Najar and Joseph Bishara

Produced by: Usama Baalbaki

Featured Vocalists: 

Sawsan Najar

Sawsan Najar is an Iraqi-Chaldean American born in Baghdad who immigrated to the United States in 1994. Najar began her musical career by taking piano and vocal lessons when she began singing professionally at both private and public events in Michigan. As her career expanded, Najar began recording her own albums singing in both folklore and popular genres. In 2007, she competed on “Super Star,” one of Lebanon’s famous television shows, and was selected as one of the top ten female singers. Najar’s popularity in the Iraqi community has led her to travel across the country and Europe to perform in a myriad of settings, and she has shared the stage with many great artists from the Middle East. 

Joseph Bishara

Joseph Bishara (Joseph Bechara) is a Palestinian/Lebanese American Vocalist. He was born in Lebanon and at the age of four moved to Kfar Yasif in Palestine. Bishara moved to the United States in 2000 and since has performed extensively at numerous Arab events such as festivals, weddings, and concerts–both locally and nationally. In 2018 Bishara toured with the Arab singing legend of all time, George Wassouf, as a backup vocalist with his amazing band in the United States and Canada. His latest singles include 3antar bel 7ob, with lyrics and music by the legendary Elias Karam; Zifoha, with lyrics, and music by Mohamad El Breft. You can check out Bishara’s music and original songs on Joseph Bishara’s YouTube Channel and on his social media pages.

Special Guest Appearance/Pamela Noun

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!