Lebanese American University

New York Academic Center

Al-Rabita Centenary Celebration:The New York League of Arab American Writers, Poets and Artists, 1920

Apr 23, 2020
LAU NY Online

Join LAU NY, the Washington Street Historical Society (WSHS), the Arab American National Museum (AANM), and the Khayrallah Center for a kickoff event marking the centennial of Al-Rabita, the literary society founded in 1920 by Arab American writers, poets, and artists, and celebrating 100 years of Arab cultural contributions to New York. The panelists will tell the story of Al-Rabita, its connection with New York as well as current initiatives to preserve its archive and further document its history and publish its output.

This program was funded in part by Humanities New York with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Dr. Akram Khater, Khayrallah Chair in Diaspora Studies and director of the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies at North Carolina State University. The Center is dedicated to research about Lebanese immigrants in the US and throughout the world, and to preserving and sharing that knowledge with the scholarly community and general public. Prof. Khater will speak about the Center’s project of Archiving Early Arab American Writers.

Dr. Linda K. Jacobs, Archaeologist and historian of the Syrian community in New York and the US; member of the Washington Street Historical Society (WSHS) which aims to restore the forgotten history of the earliest Arabic-speaking community in the United States back into the Great American Story. Dr Jacobs will discuss the soil from which New York’s literary movement emerged, concentrating on New York’s Syrian colony in the nineteenth and early 20th centuries.

Dr. Matthew J. Stiffler, Dr. Matthew J. Stiffler, is a cultural historian and member of the faculty at the University of Michigan. He is Research & Content Manager at the Arab American National Museum (AANM) in Detroit which is the first and only museum in the United States devoted to Arab American history and culture. Dr. Stiffler will present on the efforts of the AANM to document the history of the Arab American community through our archival and artifact collections and will focus on the materials they have that help to document the Rabitah and comment on the gaps in the archive as well as the importance of working with the community.

Mr. Nadim Shehadi,Mr. Nadim Shehadi, is the Executive Director of the Lebanese American University’s New York Headquarters and Academic Center. LAU is a leading liberal arts university in the Middle East with a rich history of arts education. Mr. Shehadi will moderate the panel and introduce the Rabita centennial as a series of events celebrating the continuing Arab American artistic and cultural contribution to the life of the city of New York.

Event will be livestreamed on Webex: The event address for attendees is:


Password: Rabita

Follow the digital conversation at #Rabita2020



Dr. Akram Khater is University Faculty Scholar, Professor of History, and holds the Khayrallah Chair in Diaspora Studies at North Carolina State University where he also serves as theDirector of the Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies. A native of Lebanon (born 1960), he earned a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, and holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and University of California, Berkeley, respectively. His books include Inventing Home: Emigration, Gender and the Making of a Lebanese Middle Class, 1861-1921, and A History of the Middle East: A Sourcebook for the History of the Middle East and North Africa, and Embracing the Divine: Passion and Politics in the Christian Middle East. He has produced Cedars in the Pines, a PBS documentary on the history of the Lebanese community in North Carolina, and is the senior curator for a museum exhibit on the same topic. He also curated the traveling exhibit, The Lebanese in America, which has toured ten (10) US cities, and will continue to tour through 2020. He has just completed a new documentary titled The Romey Lynchings, that narrates the history of racial violence against early Arab immigrants.

LJ_edit_thumb.jpgDr. Linda K. Jacobs, PhD, is an independent scholar working in New York City. She studies the Syrian/Lebanese diaspora in the United States in the nineteenth  century, focusing particularly on New York City. She has written three books: Strangers No More: Syrians in the United States, 1880-1900 (KalimahPress 2019); Strangers in the West: The Syrian Colony of New York City, 1880-1900 (KalimahPress 2015), and Digging In: An American Archaeologist Uncovers the Real Iran (KalimahPress 2012)


Dr. Matthew Jaber Stiffler is the Research & Content Manager at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, MI. Matthew also leads a national research initiative through ACCESS, the largest Arab American community non-profit in the country, to secure better data about the Arab American community. Matthew received his Ph.D. in American Culture from the University of Michigan in 2010, where he serves as a lecturer in Arab and Muslim American Studies. He is currently a board member and treasurer of the Arab American Studies Association and serves on the board of Michigan Humanities.


Mr. Nadim Shehadi, (Executive Director of the LAU New York Headquarters and Academic Center) is an Associate Fellow of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House in London. He was previously the director of the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. He was also a senior member of St. Antony’s College Oxford where he directed the Centre for Lebanese Studies from 1986 to 2005. Mr. Shehadi trained as an economist with an interest in the history of economic thought. He has produced several publications, contributes regularly to media coverage of Middle Eastern affairs and has advised several governments and international organizations.




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