Arab America Picks a President: The Republican National Convention
BY: Fred Shwaery/Contributing Writer
The Republicans are in Cleveland and the Democrats will be in Philadelphia next week. There are so many events to join in these conventions so if you’re anywhere near Cleveland or Philadelphia, consider stopping in to watch history unfold before your eyes.
There are thousands of delegates at each convention and there are thousands more people who participate in ways other than being delegates. Arab Americans participate in the conventions in a variety of roles.
In addition to Arab Americans serving as delegates, we participate in the conventions as volunteers, media, party insiders, candidates for office, consultants, and much more. Some Arab Americans are working on convention rules committees and other party committees such as labor and women’s affairs.
The RNC houseband is being led by former Saturday Night Live bandleader, G.E. Smith, also known as George Edward Haddad. The guitarist is a Lebanese American who is well-known for original work and covers in the rock, pop, and soul genres.
Also in attendance is CNN International news anchor and correspondent. The Syrian American journalist was tweeting about the RNC’s happenings, and sat down with Dr. Bassem Youssef – an Egyptian satirical news host – to talk about the convention.
— Hala Gorani (@HalaGorani) July 18, 2016
Arab Americans in attendance of the RNC can also catch up with the Arab American Institute, which has had long establishment ties with both the RNC and the DNC. President of AAI, Jim Zogby, can be found at the RNC, as well as the rest of the AAI team. They hosted a comedy show with Dean Obeidallah and Maysoon Zayid on Tuesday afternoon.
It won’t be all work and no play. The conventions provide an outstanding opportunity for long-time political friends from across the country to get together. They also foster creating new friendships.
Arab Americans are part of the politics and part of the fun. This week in Cleveland, the Arab American Institute hosted a comedy show featuring Arab American comedians Dean Obeidallah and Maysoon Zayid. Next week in Philadelphia, the AAI is hosting Ahlan Wa Sahlan Philly – a block party with live music, food, drinks and a Dabkeh line! Many other organizations are hosting parties this week, too. If you might have an interest in it, there’s likely to be a party for it!
Among the many Arab Americans at the Republican convention in Cleveland is Randa Fahmy from Washington. She’ll be with her friends from the New Jersey delegation, she’ll be on television in the Middle East, she’ll talk with clients, and she’ll catch up with colleagues from around the country.
Randa’s very well known in Republican political circles and for good reason. An attorney, Randa was Counselor to Senator Spencer Abraham where she was a key policy advisor to the Senator focusing on immigration and terrorism legislation.
Randa is very fond of President George W. Bush. He appointed her to serve as the Associate Deputy Secretary of Energy where she developed and implemented international energy policy.
Today, she advises clients on government relations especially in international issues and the energy sector. Her firm, Fahmy Hudome International is a leading provider of political risk analysis, strategic consulting, and government relations with a special expertise in Middle East issues.
Randa is the daughter of an Iranian mother and an Egyptian father. Her parents met in graduate school at Columbia University. Randa was born in New York and raised in Pennsylvania. She and her family traveled abroad annually.
She arrived in Washington, DC to attend Georgetown Law School and has been a fixture on the political scene for years. It’s likely that you’ve seen her on news programs on American television and on television stations across the Middle East. Some of you might have seen her this week providing her keen political analysis of the convention and beyond.
If you’re in Cleveland this week or Philadelphia next week, send me an email with information on what you’re doing. We’d love photos, too. Email email@example.com