Cultural Heritage and Identity Celebrations Calendar

Arab American Heritage Month

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​​The University of Nebraska is proud to celebrate Arab American Heritage Month during the month of April. Our celebration includes education on issues and topics that are important to this growing community on our campus. Please review our resource list for articles and books related to this diverse group. Our students represent different cultures but bring together a commitment to inclusive excellence on our campus. We are so proud of our students!

Beginning in the 1990s, Arab American heritage was celebrated sporadically in various states at different times of the year, primarily in school districts. It was not until 2017 when Arab America began a national initiative to coordinate all states under National Arab American Heritage Month. On April 30, 2019, Arab American organizations asked Congresswoman Debbie Dingell to issue a congressional resolution proclaiming National Arab American Heritage Month.  It was then introduced to the house on April 30, 2019, and then referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.  The largest and most promising achievement towards federal recognition of the month of April as the National Arab American Heritage Month was the proclamation published by the U.S. Department of State, which was accomplished on April 1, 2021, by the efforts of independent Syrian-American advocate and author, Pierre Subeh.

An identical bill was introduced in the House on May 1, 2020, to support the designation of an Arab American Heritage Month but it has not currently been passed. Some individual states (such as the Commonwealth of Virginia) and 26 others observed April as Arab American Heritage Month early on before any federal recognition was proclaimed.  It wasn't until April 19, 2021, that the first recognition on a federal level was issued, which was published as a White House letter from President Joe Biden recognizing April as the National Arab American Heritage Month, otherwise called NAAHM.

“Arab” is a cultural and linguistic term that refers to people who speak Arabic as their first language and/or are from the Middle East/North Africa region. While more than 300 million Arabs from 22 countries across the Middle East and North Africa share a language and history, many have different traditions, ethnicities, and religions. While most Arabs are Muslim, there are also millions of Christian Arabs, thousands of Jewish Arabs, and other religious denominations. According to the Arab American Institute (AAI), a non-profit educational and cultural organization, there are nearly four million Arab Americans in the United States, and more than 300,000 Arab Americans in California, the highest population of people who identify as Arab American in the country.


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