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The Arab America Ambassadors for the Month of July

posted on: Aug 1, 2018

Meet the Arab America Ambassadors (AAA’s) that made a difference during the month of July!By:

Annika Wolfe/ Arab America Contributing Writer/Ambassador

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, 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, researching states to enrich our database, and sharing news, photos, and videos with each other. 

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

Haya Bacharouch

Haya Bacharouch is a Syrian-American who grew up in Dearborn, Michigan, which is home to the largest concentration of Arab Americans in the United States.  She is currently attending Harvard Graduate School of Education for her Masters in Education Policy and Management. She attended the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor and earned her degree in Education. Currently, she is a fifth-grade teacher based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She focuses on inquiry-based learning in her classroom and seeks to promote awareness of Arab American culture in a positive light to combat stereotypes. Haya decided to join Arab America to bring forth positive awareness of Arab American impact in the U.S.

During the month of July, Haya has contributed to Arab America through administrating and facilitating group collaboration.

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 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 videos, photos, and articles. He has also gone above and beyond in his research to increase our 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. This coming fall semester, Udochi will be studying abroad in Tunisia & Italy with SIT academic programs. She is currently an Intern and contributing writer at Arab America. She is very excited to work with Arab America throughout this summer.

In July, Udochi has searched for and posted events, ran our social media, and contributed to our database with extensive research on the state of Massachusetts. She has written several articles, on varying topics, Detroit Native, Abdul El-Sayed and his quest to become the United States’ first Muslim governor and popular Arab foods found in Arab American kitchens.

Jesús Nieto

Jesús Nieto is a Chicano (activist of Mexican ancestry) and he 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 this month, Jesús has contributed to our database through his research.

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. and is excited to be working in the city with Arab America this summer.

Cait has spent this past month searching for and posting events, researching Maryland for Arab America’s website and database.  In addition, she has been posting on our social media. She has contributed several articles, one of them on why Arab Americans should feel American on the Fourth of July and Arab Family Dynamics: What Do The Numbers Tell?

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. 

During the month of July, 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. Her recipes can also be found here.

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 July, Christine has shared with Arab America some short videos, pictures, and articles that enriched its content.

Emiliya Strahilova

Emiliya Strahilova is from Bulgaria where she graduated with a degree in Publishing and Media. She spent five years in Qatar where she worked in a diverse international environment. Strahilova visited several Arab countries of which she had the opportunity to explore Arab culture and people.

She contributes to Arab America utilizing her experience in research and communications skills. Strahilova’s interest lies in the arts and with social issues.

Janice Jwaid 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 our database by researching Arab and Middle Eastern restaurants in Orange County, California.

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. This coming fall semester, she will be studying abroad in Amman, Jordan with CET Academic Programs. After her graduation from the university, she hopes to spend 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 is currently a full-time intern and contributing writer for Arab America, and is very excited to be working with the team this summer. 

This month, Annika has contributed to Arab America by searching for and posting events, posting on social media, and has spent time researching Illinois for the website and database. She has written articles on the Arabic language, the Arab World, and the rise in popularity of camel milk.