Celebrating the First Arab-American Day in America

Article excerpt

More than 400 guests gathered at the National Geographic Society (NGS) in Washington, DC to celebrate the first annual Arab-American Day on Dec. 4. The Arab League's Ambassador to the United States Mohammed Al-Hussaini Al-Sharif and the Council of Arab Ambassadors in Washington, DC honored Arab immigrants to the U.S. with a reception following a private viewing of the award-winning exhibition "1001 Inventions."

Ambassador Al-Sharif welcomed guests saying, "Our event tonight pays tribute to our culture and heritage and to the unique legacy of our ancestors. For centuries, the Arab and Muslim worlds were credited with great civilization while Europe was in the Dark Ages."

The Arab League ambassador went on to praise Arab Americans "who have successfully participated in all aspects of American life. Their achievements are reflected in assuming important positions from cabinet posts to congressmen to ambassadors to four-star generals to mayors to aerospace scientists, you name it, and they have an important role to play as a bridge between the Arab world and the United States."

Arab Americans can preserve the rich and complex traditions and values the guests had just seen in the "1001 Inventions" exhibition, he noted. "Your presence enriches your community. You have every reason to be proud of your country."

Ambassador of Lebanon to the U.S. Antoine Chedid remarked, "The aim of this event is to create a space free from religious and political influence, a space that welcomes and encourages Arab Americans and Americans to meet, to socialize, and to share the Arabs' unique culture and heritage."

NGS executive vice president Terry Garcia said he was pleased that his organization had been selected as the location for the first annual Arab-American Day celebration. …

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