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Revisiting "Arab American Stories"--Bridge Builders

posted on: Jun 24, 2020

Revisiting "Arab American Stories"--Bridge Builders

Arab America is proud to highlight episodes of Arab American Stories, the Emmy Award-winning 13-part series presented by Detroit Public Television that explored the diversity of the Arab-American experience.

The Series

Arab American Stories highlights the diversity within the Arab American community. The series showcases the lives of 39 different Arab Americans from around the country. The stories in the documentary are notably devoid of political or other rhetoric, filled instead with engaging stories of Arab Americans across the country who have made contributions in art, science, and business, and many other areas of society.

Arab American Stories was shot all over the country by a team of talented filmmakers/producers who brought their varied experience to the stories. The stories featured Arab Americans of all walks of life having an impact – on their communities, their families, or the world at large.

The thirteen-week series featured 13 half-hour programs, each program featuring three short character-driven documentaries produced by a variety of independent filmmakers that profiled Arab Americans making an impact in their community, their profession, their family, or the world at large.

The series won an Emmy from the 35th Annual National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and was selected to win the Belva Davis Broadcaster Award from the SAG-AFTRA, American Scene Awards, for presenting a “varied and multifaceted view of Arab Americans from all walks of life.”

Executive Producers of the series were, Warren David, president of Arab America and Jeff Forster, former Vice President of Production and Station Enterprises for Detroit Public Television. The series was produced by Alicia Sams (who was also the producer/director of the Emmy Award-winning film By the People: The Election of Barack Obama) and was hosted by NPR’s Neda Ulaby.

Episode 2: Bridge Builders

Three Arab Americans who navigate cultural differences to become bridge-builders– hip hop artist Omar Offendum is a bridge between his Arab roots and American youth culture, Café owner Frederique Boudouani is bringing Algerian food and culture to Elkater, Iowa, the only town in American named for an Algerian Muslim war hero, and Aliya Suayah and her parents, Ismail Suayah and Krista Bremer embrace both American and Libyan culture at their home in North Carolina.

Teacher/Viewing Guide

Educators will find this series a useful, engaged, learning tool for secondary student populations. Lesson modules explore themes that resonate with individuals from diverse backgrounds. Thematically, Arab American Stories may be used as an innovative approach to discussions around: Immigration; Origin; Citizenship; Civil Rights; Race; Inclusion/Exclusion; Community; Culture; Local/Regional/National/Global; and Unity and Diversity.

Teacher Guide for Unexpected Paths


Compiled by Arab America


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