Palestinian-American Profiles

Miranda Oakley: Climber Extraordinaire
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Miranda Oakley: Climber Extraordinaire

When Palestinian-American rock climber Miranda Oakley first stepped foot in a climbing gym, her sights weren’t set on breaking records or becoming famous in the climbing world. But in 2016, that’s exactly what happened when she became the first woman to climb the Nose of El Capitan solo in less than 24 hours.

Iman Jodeh: Colorado’s First Muslim and Palestinian Legislator
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Iman Jodeh: Colorado’s First Muslim and Palestinian Legislator

Colorado state legislator Iman Jodeh made international headlines after winning her historic election as the first-ever Palestinian and Muslim American lawmaker elected to Colorado's House of Representatives. The freshman legislator smashed through many barriers, but Jodeh insists she’s never set out to do so. “Breaking that glass ceiling was never my goal,” she said.

Rasha Mubarak: Activist Powerhouse
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Rasha Mubarak: Activist Powerhouse

Rasha Mubarak is a powerhouse grassroots activist bringing the fight for Palestinian freedom into mainstream U.S. electoral politics, known among her peers for her hard work, dedication, and integrity.

Abe Batshon: The Mastermind Behind BeatStars
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Abe Batshon: The Mastermind Behind BeatStars

Turning his dream into a reality, Abe Batshon created an online music platform that is the first-of-its-kind, offering everything needed to help music creators and entrepreneurs get started growing their business. BeatStars, founded in 2008, empowers independent music producers and artists from around the world, helping them create top hits and generate millions.

Beshara Doumani: Inaugural Mahmoud Darwish Chair at Brown University
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Beshara Doumani: Inaugural Mahmoud Darwish Chair at Brown University

In a milestone for the field of Palestinian studies, Brown University established last month a new permanent position, the Mahmoud Darwish Chair of Palestinian Studies. This first-of-its-kind chair at a major research university “signifies Brown’s commitment to the vitally important field of Palestinian Studies in perpetuity.” A leader in the field, Professor Beshara Doumani was appointed as the first holder of the Mahmoud Darwish Chair as of July 1, 2020.

Waleed Zuaiter and His Latest Project: Baghdad Central
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Waleed Zuaiter and His Latest Project: Baghdad Central

“Deep inside, I always knew I wanted to become an actor,” says Waleed Zuaiter, star of Hulu's highly-praised Baghdad Central. Yet Zuaiter, whose acting credentials are extensive, did not take a direct path to acting. Born in Sacramento, Zuaiter moved to Kuwait with his family at the age of five and spent his summers back in the Bay Area where his mother’s family was based. He describes his childhood as “the best of both worlds.”

Blanche Araj Shaheen: Making Middle Eastern Food Easy
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Blanche Araj Shaheen: Making Middle Eastern Food Easy

“A tool of mass cultural preservation”—that’s how Blanche Araj Shaheen describes her new cookbook. Feast in the Middle East (2020) features an array of dishes from across the Levant with detailed instructions and histories behind each recipe.

The Vagrant Trilogy: A Play About Palestinian Displacement
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The Vagrant Trilogy: A Play About Palestinian Displacement

Even in the arts, it can be rare to see Palestinian stories and identities shared, especially with mainstream audiences. THE VAGRANT TRILOGY, a three-part play by award-winning playwright Mona Mansour, offers just that. Opening in March at The Public Theater in New York City, the play is about Palestinian displacement set in the context of the 1967 Six-Day War.

Susan Muaddi Darraj: Fiction Writer and Creator of #TweetYourThobe
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Susan Muaddi Darraj: Fiction Writer and Creator of #TweetYourThobe

Born in Philadelphia to Palestinian immigrants who moved to the United States in 1967, Susan Muaddi Darraj has always loved books. She describes herself as a quiet child who found a lot of herself through reading.