Our Students Needs and Challenges

Survey Report of Arab/MENA Students

Black Bacground. Top third is in green color with white and yellow writing. Middle third has a long image of a ceiling lamp in traditional Moroccan design with three green lit lamp casings, flanked on both sides with a green geometic art design. Logo of the center is at the bottom left.

In the October 2019, the Arab American Cultural Center conducted the first ever survey of Arab/Middle East and North African student survey at UIC. The survey aimed to understand this student community’s needs and challenges and explore their relationship to the Center. A link to the Executive Summary is provided below. The Full report is available upon request. Please contact us at: arabamcc@uic.edu

Middle Eastern and North African Racial/Demographic Category

Silhoute of four individuals with varying hair color, texture, and covering, skin tones, gender expression in red, brown, beige, and black

The Arab American Cultural Center launched a campaign #CountMENAIn to demand a Middle Eastern and North African racial/demographic category during Spring 2021. Arab/Middle East and North African (MENA) students at the University of Illinois (UIC, UIUC, UIS) deserve to have their own demographic/racial category that reflects their personal identifications, their positionality within the US racial structure, and their daily experiences. The campaign came out of student demands and experiences on campus and beyond; experiences of being invisible and yet hypervisbile as marked, orientalist, and othered bodies. Center staff documented student stories and testimonies about their experiences at UIC and other U of I campuses.

The campaign includes:

  • Social Media campaign: photos, quotes, and videos from students experiences and thoughts
  • Three public events:
    • Nadwa (Public Conversation): Arab Americans: Invisibility in Racial Categorization
    • Hikayat (Storytelling): We Want Representation Students Speak Up for MENA Category. Click here to View and Listen to a Recording of the Session.
    • Nadi al-Cinema: Film Screening and Discussion
  • Undergraduate Student Government Resolution: Read HERE
  • Solidarity Statement: Read and Sign HERE