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The Arab America Ambassadors for the Month of August

posted on: Aug 29, 2018

Meet the Arab America Ambassadors who made a difference during the month of August!

By: Ani Karapetyan/Arab America Contributing Writer

The Arab America Ambassador Network represents an effort to connect Arab and non-Arab communities through collaborative efforts while amplifying Arab America’s effectiveness as a resource that offers accurate information on Arab Americans and the Arab World.

Through their writing and research, Arab America Ambassadors (AAA ’s) have reached thousands of readers and viewers by using the power of words and digital media to enrich our readers on Arab American culture, traditions, and the factors which may impact U.S. policies towards the Arab World. AAA’s lately have focused on writing articles, conducting research on different Arab American communities, identifying interns and AAA’s and sharing news, photos, and videos with Arab America.

With pride and joy, we introduce you to our Arab America Ambassadors for the month of August who volunteer to support Arab America’s mission. Their diverse nationalities, religions, and geographic locations contribute to the enrichment of Arab America:

Mike Enayah

Mike Enayah is a Palestinian who was born in Kuwait. In 1981, Enayah emigrated to the USA as a teenager. He graduated from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan with a masters degree in industrial design.  Enayah worked in the architecture design, products design, and automotive design fields. In addition, Enayah is an artist who loves to paint. Currently, he’s a contributing writer at Arab America. In his writing, Enayah reflects on the struggles of Arabs and Arab Americans.  

Mike has greatly enriched Arab America’s content by sharing interesting pertinent videos, photos, and articles. He has also gone above and beyond in his research to build and enrich Arab America’s database.

Udochi Esomonu

Udochi Esomonu is a rising junior at George Washington University in Washington DC. She was born and raised in New Jersey and is the daughter of two Nigerian immigrants. She is majoring in Political Science and is planning to minor in Sociocultural Anthropology. Esomonu has been studying Arabic for two years and looks forward to continuing her language studies. During this school year, Udochi will be studying abroad in Tunisia & Italy with SIT academic programs. She continues to support Arab America’s content through writing and research of Arab American communities.  

In August, Udochi has searched for events and posted them.  She supervised social media and provided valuable insights on how to manage the Arab America Instagram page, and thus,  has contributed to increasing the number of our followers.  Among the articles she has written in August are: 10 Inspirational Arab Proverbs, Which is Better: Learning Classic or Spoken Arabic? and last week’s article, Back to School: No Peanut Butter Sandwiches for Arab Students, Please!

You can read Udochi’s last article for the month of August, 3 Unique Aspects of Traditional Arab Culture in America, here.

Jesús Nieto

Jesús Nieto is a Chicano (activist of Mexican ancestry) and he is the proud father of a daughter and a son. He was born in San Antonio, Texas and eventually, the family moved to Detroit, Michigan where he completed his high school and college education. Nieto developed a life-long passion for social justice, particularly with American Indians, African Americans, Latino’s and Arab/Muslims. Since receiving his Ph.D. from a joint doctoral program at San Diego State University and the Claremont Graduate University, he has been teaching Multicultural Education courses for future teachers at San Diego State University. His awareness of the hatred and oppression directed at Arabs in general, and Palestinians, in particular, has motivated him to become an Arab America Ambassador. According to Nieto, “It’s important to talk the talk, but far more important to walk the walk. Every challenge represents an opportunity to put love into practice.”

During the month, Jesús has contributed ideas and did research on the Arab American organizations in Southern California.  

Cait O’Connor

Cait O’Connor is a rising senior at St. Lawrence University in upstate New York where she majors in English literature and has recently taken on an Arabic minor after spending four months studying abroad in Amman, Jordan. While abroad, she spent time traveling throughout Jordan and studying the Arabic language, Jordanian dialect, and the social and political climate of Jordan. She also had the opportunity to intern at the scientific research branch of the Shoman Foundation in downtown Amman. O’Connor was born and raised outside Washington, D.C. but excited to have been given the opportunity to work in the city with the Arab American team this summer.

Cait has spent this past month searching for and posting events.  In addition, she has been posting on Arab America social media. Cait’s articles for August have focused on various topics, such as: Here It is: The Secret to Making Great Tasting Hummus,  Dear Boss: 10 Things to Know about Arab American Employees, The Life and Legacy of Ralph Nader. She also wrote an article on a sensitive topic: The Exodus of Palestinian Christians from the Holy Land.

Additionally,  Cait and three other interns: Alena,  Annika, and Udochi, have put in intensive efforts to enrich the events’ section of the website.  Due to their hard work, today you can find about five hundred events on Arab America website.

Blanche Shaheen

Blanche Shaheen is an accomplished Arab American woman and former network television host and reporter in both entertainment and news. Among the programs she worked on were; “View from the Bay,” “Video I” on PBS, “Tech Live,” “Check Please,” NPR radio, and numerous news and political programs for Link Media. In 2010, Shaheen switched to hosting her own cooking show, sharing heirloom Arab dishes and recipes preserved by her mother and grandmother.  She has a program on YouTube titled “Feast in the Middle East”, and is also a part-time fitness instructor and model; she shares nutritional tips and provides healthy recipes. In addition to raising a family, she gives cooking demonstrations at Draeger’s Markets and the Fancy Food Show in Northern California.

As for the month of August, Blanche has contributed to Arab America some articles that demonstrated the richness of Arab cuisine. She specializes in Arab cuisine of the Levant and beyond. You can check out her cooking video tutorials and cultural commentary on growing up Arab American here.  Also, check out her two articles for the month of August,  Limonana-An Arabic Refreshment with Health Benefits, and 8 Secrets on How to Make Perfect Tabbouleh.

Christine Shahin 

Christine Shahin is the daughter of first-generation Lebanese immigrants. She attributes her nearly 30 years of environmental, community, and human rights advocacy to her father, an Orthodox Christian priest who encouraged her to serve those less fortunate. Shahin was a part of a community effort to protect her rural NY Adirondack hamlet from a regional waste incinerator and landfill. She has served on numerous local, state, and national boards on environmental, labor, human rights, creation care, and youth empowerment with the disenfranchised. Shahin was an Official Delegate to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg South Africa in 2002. Today, she runs an all natural salon and is the author of the book, Natural Hair Coloring: How to use Henna and Other Pure Herbal Pigments for Chemical Free Beauty.

Through the month of August, Christine has shared with Arab America some short videos, pictures, and articles that enriched its content. She shares her experiences in building a dynamic group of women in upstate New York where Arab culture and traditions are enjoyed and passed on.

Janice Jweid Reed

Janice Jweid Reed grew up in the vibrant Syrian-Lebanese community of Paterson, New Jersey. Her grandparents emigrated from Aleppo, Syria, bringing the Middle Eastern traditions, foods, and the Arabic language that were an integral part of her upbringing. Reed’s family heritage has instilled in her an appreciation and knowledge of Arab culture, language, and particularly the renowned cuisine of Aleppo, Syria. Reed has authored two cookbooks: Sitto’s Kitchen and Sitto’s Kitchen II. The author’s educational background includes a degree in Interior Design, which she practiced in Chicago, New Jersey, and eventually, New York City, where she owned her own business.

This month, Janice has enriched database by researching Arab and Middle Eastern restaurants in Orange County, California. She carefully and efficiently takes notes of conference calls and shares them with the group.

Annika Wolfe

Annika Wolfe is from a small town in Ohio and is a student at American University in Washington, DC. She is a rising senior majoring in International Studies and minoring in Arabic. At this time, she’s traveling to for a study abroad program in Amman, Jordan with CET Academic Programs. After her graduation from the university, she hopes to spend more time traveling and working with an international aid organization in the Middle East. She is passionate about women’s empowerment, international development, education, and Arab culture. Annika has enjoyed immensely her full-time internship at Arab America.  She worked very well with the team this entire summer.

This month of August, Annika has contributed to Arab America by searching for and posting events and posting on social media. She submitted many articles but the ones that were published in August are:  Five of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World are in the Middle East, Her second article on 12 Healthy Foods Arab Americans East to Prevent  Cancer! has been extremely popular on social media, gaining many likes and discussions.

Sali Osman

Sali Osman is an internationally recognized Cybersecurity & Risk Strategy Advisor who served in senior officer roles with major global Fortune 50 companies. Osman has more than 20 years in IT and 10 in Security & Risk executive leadership and currently advising African and Middle Eastern governments in post-sanctions risk, compliance programs, mergers, and acquisitions.

Osman is a technical reviewer for distinguished books and publications and speaks in media and opening keynotes in international conferences.

Sali Osman has led community development efforts in the US and back in Africa. She enjoys mentoring young professionals and coaching middle and high school girls coding and Cyber hacking techniques.

Osman is a receiver of many awards and honors such as Award Winner of Women of Influence-One to Watch, Executive Women Forum, 2016; and Expertise and Inclusiveness, GE, 2012.

Sali Osman is new to the group but has been contributing immensely many ideas to enrich the type and content of articles.  Recently, she submitted an article about the fascinating facts about a minority group in the Arab World: The Nubians.

Muath Idriss

Muath Idriss is a recent Syrian immigrant and a talented vocalist and oud player, and Dj. He won 1st place in the Arab version of “The Voice” in 2001 after which he launched his 1st Album “Tarban” with Rotana in 2002. He also lived in the Arabian Gulf which provided him the opportunity to observe the Khaleeji beats and modes. Reading and Arabic calligraphy is his favorites hobbies.  Idriss is embarking on a new project and that is to resurrect the Arabian Musical Theater in the US. Currently, he resides in Northern Virginia.

Most recently, Idriss translated the American anthem into Arabic and has been singing it in several formal gatherings.  Idriss has been resourceful to Arab America.  He provides ideas and information about Arab American events.

Nizar Farsakh

Nizar Farsakh is a trainer focusing on leadership, advocacy, and negotiations. He worked for two years at the Project On Middle East Democracy in DC, building the advocacy capacity of Arab CSOs.  Before that, he was the General Director of the PLO Delegation in Washington DC. Prior to his duties at the PLO delegation, he was advising senior Palestinian leaders, including the President, the Prime Minister, and various ministries. Farsakh is currently involved in several non-violence initiatives in Palestine/Israel and is assisting in the establishment of the Museum of the Palestinian People in Washington D.C.

For several months, Farsakh has advised Arab America regarding content and outreach. Most recently, he submitted an article about the Museum of the Palestinian People and its opening date this fall.