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Celebrating Arab American Heritage Month

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University of Denver

Letter  •
Arab country flags

*A former version of this communication incorrectly identified Keith Ellison, former U.S. Representative for Minnesota, as the first Muslim Arab American to serve in Congress. While Representative Ellison was the first Muslim American to serve in Congress, the distinction of the first Arab American to serve in Congress is held by George A. Kasem. We apologize for the oversight.

Dear DU community,

As we continue to recognize and honor the diversity that enriches the University of Denver, this April we celebrate Arab American Heritage Month.

We continue to celebrate the people of minoritized populations in the United States of America for their enduring contributions to society. Arab Americans have long been a vital part in the fabric of American life. Every time we gaze at a magnificent image from the Apollo moon landing, we should thank Dr. Farouk el-Baz, a geologist credited with some of the first images of the moon. When we remember the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, we should remember whistleblower Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician who impacted the lives and well-being of a generation of children. We should recognize George A. Kasem, former U.S. Representative for California, who was the first Arab American to serve in Congress, breaking barriers and opening the door for future Arab political leaders in this country.

For centuries, members of the Arab community have come to America’s shores, sharing with this country their gifts, talents and unique perspectives. As we welcome others from around the globe, we also welcome migrants from the 22 Arab nations who arrive to seek opportunities, flee persecution or simply look to build a better life. As a community and as an institution, we have a supporting role to play in helping them to realize their dreams and aspirations here in America.

As we celebrate Arab American Heritage month this April, we urge you to join us in these conversations during our upcoming event and through engagement with our Muslim Student Association, which serves as a resource to all campus, to gain a better understanding of the experiences and contributions of the Arab American communities. Arab Americans are an invaluable part of our community, and we are grateful for their contributions in making DU and our nation what they are today.

By seeing each other clearly and with empathy, we are able to build coalitions and communities based on our shared humanity and begin to make progress—progress in addressing the problems that continue to create division and stand in the way of human joy, connection and advancement. As an institution dedicated to the public good, we remain steadfast in sustaining a culture that enables us to lift up, celebrate, and see the inherent beauty and power of our diverse community.

In solidarity,

Jeremy Haefner, chancellor

Mary Clark, provost and executive vice chancellor

Todd Adams, vice chancellor of student affairs

Leslie Brunelli, senior vice chancellor for business and financial affairs

Paul Chan, vice chancellor for legal affairs and general counsel

Vivek Choudhury, dean, Daniels College of Business

Karlton Creech, vice chancellor for athletics, recreation and Ritchie Center operations

Andrei Kutateladze, dean, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Michael Levine-Clark, dean, University Libraries

Jerron Lowe, interim vice chancellor for human resources

Fritz Mayer, dean, Josef Korbel School of International Studies

Amanda McBride, dean, Graduate School of Social Work

Michael McGuire, dean, University College

Daniel McIntosh, dean, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Renea Morris, vice chancellor for marketing and communications

Nancy Nicely, senior vice chancellor and chief of staff

Stephanie O’Malley, associate vice chancellor for government and community relations

Valerie Otten, vice chancellor for university advancement

Karen Riley, dean, Morgridge College of Education

Todd Rinehart, vice chancellor for enrollment

Tom Romero, interim vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion

Michelle Sabick, dean, Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science

Bruce Smith, dean, Sturm College of Law

Shelly Smith-Acuña, dean, Graduate School of Professional Psychology

Gary Starling, interim vice chancellor and chief information technology officer

Christopher Whitt, vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion

The Arab American Experience: A Conversation on Being and Belonging

Join us for a Heritage Months initiative in partnership with C+V

Arab Americans represent a rich cultural tapestry consisting of 22 countries and several ethnicities- each one with its own lingo, rituals, cuisine, music and traditions. In the United States this community thrives despite harmful portrayals in the media and hurtful interpersonal and systemic violence. Conversations about Arab American belonging in the United States begins by humanizing a people too often caricaturized. In the stories of their community; their struggles and the successes; their hopes and their aspirations we find the people who are our friends, peers, colleagues, and neighbors.

Thursday, April 22, 2021 | 11:00 a.m.-noon

Register Here 

Visit the Heritage Months Website

The University of Denver is committed to living our values of diversity and inclusion. Our community and institutional success is dependent on how well we engage and embrace the rich diversity of our faculty, staff, administrators, students and alumni.

With that shared value in mind and in partnership with Human Resources & Inclusive Community (HRIC), the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI), The Cultural Center, and the Staff of Color Association (SOCA), we will celebrate the identities and histories of members of the DU and world communities. Each month we will feature a staff or faculty member and a student in recognition of each heritage month, along with an event to honor one another and learn about our unique differences.

Learn More

Propose a Program or Highlight a DU Community Member for Heritage Months

The University of Denver is committed to living our values of diversity and inclusion. We recognize that our community and institutional success is dependent on how well we engage and embrace the rich diversity of our faculty, staff, administrators, students, and alumni. With that shared value in mind, throughout this academic year, we plan to publish a series of articles to celebrate cultural and ethnic heritage months. In partnership with Human Resources & Inclusive Community (HRIC), the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI), The Cultural Center, Community + Values (C+V), and the Staff of Color Association (SOCA), we will feature a staff or faculty member and a student in recognition of each heritage month, along with an event to honor one another and learn about our unique differences.

Also, if you are aware of any events that are happening on campus or have an idea for Heritage Month events, we'd love to hear about them and promote them campus-wide.

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