A panel hosted by Arab-American Business & Professional Association will take place on Friday, July 5, 2019 — 12:30-2:00pm — Washington Marriott Wardman Park — 2660 Woodley Road NW — Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Arab-American community in the DMV area is invited to join an engaging discussion hosted by Arab-American Business and Professional Association (ABPA) at the 61st Ramallah Convention organized by the American Federation of Ramallah Palestine. The panel will feature representatives from various U.S. federal agencies including the Small Business Administration, the Census Bureau, and the Department of State. The speakers will offer insights on how to facilitate more Arab-Americans finding career pathways into public service. The panel will also address the absence of an Arab-American category in the 2020 Census and discuss strategies to shape 2030 Census forms in the right direction. The panel will be moderated by Professor Edmund Ghareeb, a senior scholar at the Jerusalem Fund and member of the ABPA Advisory Board.

After the opening remarks by ABPA Founder and President Fuad Sahouri, Roberto Ramirez of the U.S. Census Bureau and John Klein of the U.S. Small Business Administration will take the floor. As a veteran analyst, Ramirez has been commended by the U.S. Census Bureau with Bronze Medal Awards for his research, studies, and reports on the Hispanic population. He will explain the strategies of the Census Bureau in testing the MENA category for the 2020 Census and the repercussions that followed. After a discussion on the official recognition of Arab-Americans, the audience will receive insights about federal opportunities and grants for small businesses. Panelists will pay special attention to the link between official minority status and the federal opportunity openings, and therefore, how to address the problem that the Arab-American community faces as being “white” and not equally recognized for the federal opportunities.

Following the Census Bureau and SBA perspectives, two Arab-Americans, Dr. Rita Stephan and Colonel (Ret.) Abbas Dahouk, will share their experiences as public servants. Leading the Middle East Partnership Initiative at the U.S. Department of State, Dr. Stephan will delve into the ways in which Arab-American youth can find career pathways into the federal government. Finally, Colonel Dahouk, the Vice President of Middle East Programs at Advanced Technology Systems Company and former senior military advisor at the Department of State’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, will discuss the significance of the Arab-American community’s involvement in public service as well as the role ABPA plays in this regard. The panel discussion will close with comments by Dr. Ghareeb, an internationally recognized expert on US-Arab relations, the Middle East, and American media, followed by a Q&A session with the audience. 

The panel is open to registered attendees at the Convention. The tickets are available at

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