The Road to Representation: Arab Americans in Office


The Road to Representation: Arab Americans in Office| Image: AANM
Reporter: Kimberly Porter |The Road to Representation: Arab Americans in Office| Image: AANM

Arab American representation in public office positions has increased in recent years, reflective of the growing community. This panel features Arab Americans in a variety of governmental and public office positions, both in the spotlight and behind the scenes, as they work towards a present and future that includes the full participation of all Arab Americans. Join us to hear their personal stories and journeys along the road to representation. The panel will include Salina Intermediate School principal Eman Ali-Ahmed, President of New American Leaders Ghida Dagher and Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud, with moderator Shams Al-Badry.

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6-8 p.m. ET Friday, Oct. 14, 2022

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Famous Arab American Panel Discusses Representation in Public Office

Eman Ali-Ahmed


Eman Ali-Ahmed, Ed.S. has been a passionate educator for over two decades at elementary and secondary levels. She is the principal of Salina Intermediate School in the Southend of Dearborn, Michigan. Mrs. Ali-Ahmed holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Michigan in education and teaching English language learners. She also holds a degree in Educational Leadership from Oakland University. Mrs. Eman Ali-Ahmed proudly serves as a board member for the Dearborn Education Foundation, Reaching Our Children, and Concerned Residents for South Dearborn. Her community work and involvement led to her appointment by Dearborn Mayor Hammoud to be on his transition team in 2022. She is a founding board member and Executive Director of a nonprofit organization called the United Humanitarian Foundation (UHF Relief). This nonprofit helps promote peace, education, sustainability and humanitarian relief aid to children and families around the world. Mrs. Eman Ali-Ahmed is a proud mother and wife who enjoys traveling, reading, cooking, and spending time with her family.



Ghida Dagher

Ghida Dagher is the President of New American Leaders, the only national organization championing New Americans as crucial participants in the political system by providing resources to ensure that immigrant, first- and second-generation American leaders have the skills and support they need to run, win, and lead at every level of our democracy. She recently served as Director of Appointments for Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, where she oversaw the appointments to the state’s 350 boards and commissions, as well as judicial and senior administrative appointments. Previously, Ghida was Director of Government Partnerships & Community Affairs at United Way for Southeastern Michigan and led initiatives on immigrant rights and civil liberties at the National Network for Arab American Communities at ACCESS.




Mayor Abdullah Hammoud


The proud son of immigrant parents, Mayor Abdullah Hammoud has been an unwavering advocate for his hometown of Dearborn for more than a decade. As Mayor, he is committed to reinventing government to deliver results for working families and residents in every corner of the city. Throughout his career, Mayor Hammoud has provided bold leadership for Michigan and Dearborn with a thoughtful, pragmatic approach to government that puts people first. As the city’s seventh mayor, that will include investing in infrastructure, improving public health and safety, and delivering quality services while lowering the tax burden on residents. Mayor Hammoud has served for three terms in the Michigan House of Representatives and was the youngest elected member for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters in 2014. A product of Dearborn Public Schools and three-time graduate of the University of Michigan, Mayor Hammoud believes in the transformative power of education. He has master’s degrees in business administration and public health, and a bachelor’s degree in science. He and his wife, Dr. Fatima Beydoun, are excited to raise their family in Dearborn and advocate for children and families across the city.



Shams Al-Badry


Shams Al-Badry is the Civic Engagement Manager at the National Network of Arab American Communities, an institution of ACCESS. She is pursuing her master’s degree in community development at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and serves as a board member for the Young Non-Profit Professional Network of Detroit. Previous to her roles at ACCESS she served as an academic advisor at UNL and taught as a Teach for America Corps member. Shams was the first Arab American mayoral appointee to the Lincoln and Lancaster Public Planning Commission. She has served as a Real Change Fellow and is a former board member for the Young Non-Profit Professionals Network of Lincoln, New Leaders Council of Omaha, YWCA of Lincoln, Academic Advising Association of UNL and a subcommittee chair for the Superintendents Facilities Advisory Committee for Lincoln Public Schools. She continues to stay active in her new community of Dearborn by continuing to be civically engaged in local and state politics.


For questions, e-mail Kathryn Grabowski-Khairullah, Curator of Public Programming, at KGrabowski@accesscommunity.org.


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