Posted on: April 1, 2022 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

By Omar Shalabi, JRN 111 Student

Illinois has one of the fastest-growing Arab populations in the country, according to the Arab American Institute. But although the community is growing, it also has deep roots in the area.

The “long history of involvement, contributions, activism and community building” of Chicago’s Arab American community will be the focus of a talk Wednesday at 12:30 p.m., for Arab Heritage Month. The event will be held virtually via WebEx and will feature Moraine Valley’s Nina Shoman-Dajani.

The conversation will dive into the history of the community and the social and cultural roots it has planted over the past 65 years. 

Shoman-Dajani is the assistant dean of Learning Enrichment and College Readiness. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the California State University-Sacramento, then her doctorate in education from Benedictine University. She is also the executive director of the Chicago Palestine Film Festival and an outspoken community advocate.

She is the perfect person to host this conversation, says head librarian Troy Swanson, the organizer of this event:  “Dr. Shoman-Dajani is a leader on our campus who has given a several talks in our library over the years. She is active in the Arab-American community in our area and has been an important advocate on our campus. She has done research on the identify of Arab American students in higher education.”

The event is meant to be both a celebration of Arab heritage for those who are a part of it and an opportunity for others to learn about one of the more a culture that is a big part of not only Chicago, but Moraine itself.

Swanson says one of the library’s goals is to be “a platform for our community to help share ideas and discussions that impact them. Over the years we have carried out this goal by acting as a regular partner with Arab American students, faculty, and staff. Most notably, we have hosted events organized by both the Arab Student Union and Muslim Student Association. We have also hosted talks by our faculty and outside experts.” 

The program is free and open to the college community as well as the general public. Register via this link.