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EPISODE 1: Unexpected Paths

These Arab Americans have forged unexpected paths.


Diane Rehm lacked a college education but became a national radio host of The Diane Rehm Show


Robby Ameen was born to Lebanese-American parents but has made a career as one of the top Afro-Cuban Jazz drummers in the world.


Rabih Dow was blinded by an explosion during the Lebanese Civil War and found his life’s work rehabilitating newly blind people at the Carroll Center for the Blind outside Boston.

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EPISODE 2: Bridge Builders

These Arab Americans navigate cultural differences to become bridge-builders.


Hip hop artist Omar Offendum is a bridge between his Arab roots and American youth culture.

Through Schera’s, 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.

Aliya Suayah and her parents, Ismail Suayah and Krista Bremer embrace both American and Libyan culture at their home in North Carolina.

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EPISODE 3: Entrepreneurs

These Arab Americans are entrepreneurs, building businesses, serving clients and creating jobs.


Inspired by the American Arts and Crafts movement, Nawal Motawi started Motawi Tileworks, a successful craftsman tile business in Michigan.


Fahid Daoud and his brothers fulfilled the American Dream through a chain of chili restaurants that began in Cincinnati and spread through southern Ohio.


Moose Scheib built Loanmod.com to help homeowners facing foreclosure figure out how to refinance and save their homes.

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EPISODE 4: Art & Life

Art and Life are inextricably intertwined in these three Arab American Stories.

Author Alicia Erian mines her life’s experience for her books, stories and screenplays. Find her latest book, Towelhead, and her latest collection, The Brutal Language of Love.

Artist Huguette Caland has found America to be the place she can most freely express herself in her art.

Hassan Faraj’s life was actually turned into art – the story of this neighborhood butcher became the subject of a community theater piece.

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EPISODE 5: Innovators

The United States prides itself on being a nation of innovators. These three Arab-Americans are part of that tradition.

Imad Mahawili saw a problem with energy in the third world and set out to fix it.

Amir Abo-Shaeer created the Dos Peublos Engineering Academy to inspire high school students to go into careers in science and math.

Brian and Leon Dewan have inventing in their blood and music in their souls and have married the two by making highly unique electronic instruments as Dewanatron. Their swarmatron is used on Trent Reznor’s soundtrack for the movie The Social Network.

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EPISODE 6: Traditions

So much is passed down from generation to generation – but it sometimes takes time for the next generation to recognize how the past affects their lives.

Hearing their family history shows three generations of the Abercia family how values are passed down from their forebears.

Chef Ali El Sayed’s son, Esmaeel, is just beginning to understand how his father’s Egyptian heritage fits in with his own identity as a native-born American living in ethnically diverse Queens.

The family recipes Kamal Al-Faqih learned from his mother led him to his calling as a chef and cookbook author.

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EPISODE 7: Creating a Community

These Arab Americans forge the community that is at the heart of American life.

Social services provider and activist Linda Sarsour serves new immigrants and youth in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn at the Arab American Association of NY.

Imam Taha Tawil maintains spiritual vitality at the Mother Mosque, the oldest mosque in America in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Dean Obeidallah performs across the country with a group of comedians who shatter popular myths and stereotypes.

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EPISODE 8: Serving the Nation

These Arab Americans all have a mission to serve the wider community.

Cardiologist Mahmoud Traina serves the working poor at a county hospital outside Los Angeles, but he also found time to take medical supplies to Libyans during the revolution.

Sergeant Mike Abdeen and deputy Sherif Morsi run the ground-breaking Muslim Community Affairs unit for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Father George Shalhoub built St. Mary’s Antiochian Orthodox Church into a positive force for the people of Livonia, Michigan.

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EPISODE 9: Expressions

These artists have all found new expression in their work by coming to America.

Oud player and composer Rahim AlHaj fled Iraq for political reasons. Now he fuses Middle Eastern and western influences together in his music.

Malika Zarra was born in Morocco, grew up in France and found a creative home in New York’s multi-cultural music scene.

Detroit artist Adnan Charara explores the idea of identity, personally and cosmically, in his painting and sculpture.

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EPISODE 10: Civic Leaders

Arab Americans are civic leaders working to protect the rights of all Americans.

Ferial Masry is a teacher and political candidate.

Khalil Kaid is a union organizer who works to protect workers’ rights.

Lawyers Nawar and Kareem Shora feel a responsibility to uphold the precious rights granted to them as American citizens.

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EPISODE 11: Artists

Talented and artistic Arab Americans are charting their own course in very competitive fields.

Opera star Hanan Alattar’s passion keeps her going as she pursues an international stage career.  Find her music here.

Najla Said is an actress, playwright and author exploring her identity as a Palestinian-American and a quintessential Manhattanite.

Fashion designer Rami Kashou charmed America as a finalist on Project Runway. His designs continue to wow the fashion world.

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EPISODE 12: Lasting Contributions

Arab-Americans have made lasting contributions to American institutions.

Public Relations Executive Judy Habib talks about the legacy of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Maha Freij found her niche as a development dynamo and helped grow ACCESS into largest Arab-American human services organization in the nation and develop the Center on Arab American Philanthropy.

Researcher and radiologist Dr. Elias Zerhouni had a transformative impact on medical research in the U.S. as Director of the National Institutes of Health.

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EPISODE 13: A New Generation

A new generation of Arab Americans are making their mark.

Actress Alia Shawkat, best known for her role on “Arrested Development,” is a rising independent film star.

Mariem Masmoudi is a student trying to figure out how to merge her American and Tunisian identities to give back to both cultures.

Former serviceman and DJ Ace Montaser is making his name on Detroit’s airwaves.

Major Funding for Arab American Stories: A National Discussion and Outreach provided by

Special Thanks to:

Betty H. Sams

Detroit Public TVAANM