Monday, July 11, 2005

New York City to celebrate Arab Heritage Month

NYC to Celebrate First Arab-American Heritage Week

What: Arab-American Heritage WeekWhen: Saturday July 9 through Saturday July 16, 2005 NEW YORK, July 11 -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg will officially declare Arab-American Heritage Week during festivities taking place between July 9 and 16.

New York City Arab-American organizations and museums will host events in order to introduce New Yorkers to the vast diversity of Arab people, their cultural traditions, customs, cuisine, art, music and dance.Arab Americans have resided in NY since the 1800's and have contributed to New York and the rest of the country in many ways. Today, over 200,000 Arab- Americans populate New York City. The Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs has established Arab-American Heritage Week as an annual event in order to commemorate the community's presence and contributions over the years.

"As an educator, Heritage Week has been a long-time dream that Arab- Americans and I have wanted to share with fellow New Yorkers," said Debbie Almontaser, one of the event's principal organizers. "The week will give New Yorkers a chance to learn Arab cultural traditions - food, music, dance - the elements of life that exemplify how we are more alike than we are different as human beings."

This year, Heritage Week will kick-off on Saturday July 9th with the 3rd Annual Arab-American Cultural Street Festival and the 7th Annual North-African Cultural Street Festival, hosted jointly by the Network of Arab-American Professionals of New York (NAAP-NY) and the Algerian American Cultural Center (AACC).

Other events include a stand up comedy workshop lead by comedians Dean Obeidallah and Maysoon Zayid, presented by the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival (7/12) and Arab American Community Tours by Marry Ann DiNapoli in Brooklyn (7/9, 7/11). The films "Return to the Land of Wonders" and "The Thief of Baghdad" will be shown at the Two Boots Pioneer Theatre and the Museum of the Moving Image (7/13 and 7/16), and music lovers may catch an evening of Iraqi music featuring Amir Saffar, at Alwan for the Arts (7/15). Finally, the week will close with the Arab American Heritage Park Festival, sponsored by the Arab American Association of New York and the Arab American Family Support Center (7/16).

Sponsoring organizations include: Arab American Association of New York, Arab American Institute, The Arab-American Family Support Center, Alwan for the Arts, Salam Arabic Lutheran Church, Mahrajan of Middle Eastern Churches, Yemeni American Association, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Arab Muslim American Federation, Salaam Club of New York, and the Network of Arab-American Professionals of New York.For a complete listing of events or for more information about Arab- American Heritage Week, please visit:
Source: Network of Arab-American ProfessionalsCONTACT: Debbie Almontaser, +1-917-559-8480, or Linda Sarsour,+1-917-306-3323, both for Network of Arab-American Professionals