Heritage Month: Arab Americans in Technology
BY: Sevan Araz/Contributing Writer
The technology sector has dominated the lives of Americans for the last decade and continues to make strides toward modernizing global societies. Information technology represents a key method to bridging social divides and exposing what used to be impossible. In the Arab World, technology is being used to improve lives, increase economic growth, and provide education, and Arab Americans are helping with this process.
No doubt, Arab Americans are helping tremendously in this facet; they are on the forefront of the technology that’s rapidly altering the nation’s society and culture. For instance, Omer Kiyani, a Michigan native, launched a startup focused on developing gun safety technology. The startup created a mechanism that secures a loaded weapon while ensuring its accessibility through a unique fingerprint technology. Kiyani’s childhood experience of being accidentally shot by an unsecured weapon has inspired him to create this safety device.
Another Arab American startup focuses on the diversifying food industry and its relationship with social media outlets. MyFAb5, another Michigan-based social media startup created by Omeid Seirafi-Pour, allows users to rank their top five choices in any product or market, such as the best places to get a haircut or top five places to order Chinese food. A vast majority of reviews revolve around the food industry, which is changing the way people eat and holding restaurants and stores to higher standards.
In Silicon Valley – America’s home to technology giants – a whopping 30,000 Arab Americans are living in the area and contributing to the region and tech industry’s massive growth. Young Arab Americans trying to break into the industry are finding opportunities with Middle East and North African tech companies that are hosting forums and mentorships in Silicon Valley in order to promote their businesses internationally.
These technology opportunities continue to increase the Arab American presence in the industry. The technology sector is no longer limited to entertainment and business; it has the ability to provide solutions to major challenges from waste management to health services. Arab Americans are at the forefront of realizing technology’s greatest potential and provide positive changes to America and the Arab World.