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Newsletter of the Palestinian Heritage Foundation
          Volume 7, No. 2                            December  2001

A Community of Many Worlds: Arab Americans in NY City


The Museum of the City of New York announces the expansion and new opening date for the exhibition A Community of Many Worlds: Arab Americans in New York City, Originally scheduled to open on November 17, 2001, the show has taken on a new and greater significance in the aftermath of the events of September 11 and has been relocated to a larger gallery space within the museum.

After consultation with the exhibition’s advisory team, which includes scholars, community representatives, and artists, the museum has decided to enlarge the scope and content of the exhibition. It will open on March 2, 2002, and will run through Labor Day.

New York City claims distinction as the oldest port of entry for Arab immigrants to the United States. As such it supports one of the country’s most diverse populations of citizens of Arab descent. A Community of Many Worlds: Arab Americans in New York City, the first exhibition on the history of the City’s Arab populations, will introduce visitors to this diverse group of New Yorkers, who share a linguistic heritage-Arabic- and cultural traditions dating back more than 1500 years. It will tell the story of how and why people from Arabic-speaking countries first came to the City, where they have chosen to live, and how their presence has changed the food ways,  the sound  waves, and the look of some of the City’s neighborhoods.                                                                                         

The exhibition will emphasize the long history and diversity of New York’s Arab population, which includes Christians, Muslims, and Jews, people of many ethnic and national background, and recent immigrants as well as citizens whose roots in the City go back for generations.                                                                                                          

More than one hundred objects, including archival and contemporary photographs, documents, books, costumes, textiles, and household objects, illuminate the cultural and commercial contributions Arabs have made to the City and the values and traditions that have connected them over five generations.

The Museum of the City of New York presents A Community of Many Worlds as part of its mission to foster understanding of the City’s diverse heritage. The need for tolerance in these troubled times makes this mission particularly pressing. For centuries, New Yorkers of all backgrounds have sought to maintain personal and cultural traditions while adapting to a heterogeneous culture. New York City’s Arab communities have in the past and continue to exemplify this effort.

Funding for exhibition implementation was provided by a challenge grant from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, which was matched by a major contribution from the Olayan Group. Additionally, important support was received from Council member Kenneth K. Fisher, the George Sayour Foundation, the Palestinian Heritage Foundation, the Islamic Heritage Organization, Arab Bank plc, the Arab American Institute Foundation, Gulf Bank International, and many individuals.

The Museum of the City of New York is a private, non-for-profit, educational corporation founded in 1923 for the purpose of presenting the history of New York City and its people as a significant learning resource. The museum advances its mission through exhibitions, educational activities, and publications and by acquiring, preserving, and documenting original cultural materials which reflect New York City’s history.


Foundation to Honor Walid Khalidi at 15th Anniversary Banquet


The Palestinian Heritage Foundation will celebrate its 15th Anniversary in April 2002. This event will coincide with Palestine Land Day, celebrated each year, in memory of seven Palestinians from the village of Sakhnin, Upper Galilee, who gave their life in defense of their land. 

On this special day, the Palestinian Heritage Foundation and the Arab-American community will honor Professor Walid Khalidi. 

Professor Khalidi was born in Jerusalem, Palestine. In 1945 he received his Bachelor Degree from Oxford University. Upon completing his Masters Degree he became a University lecturer at Oxford where he stayed until 1956. Part of Professor Khalidi’s rich academic career included the position of Professor of Political Studies, American University of Beirut, Lebanon (1957-1982), Research Associate, Princeton University (1960-1961), Fellow, Center for International Relations, Harvard University (1976-1978), Visiting Professor of Government, Harvard University (1978-1981) and Senior Research Fellow, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University (1982-1997).  Professor Khalidi has written many articles in Arabic dailies and periodicals, including Al-Ahram, Al-Hayat, Al-Nahar, etc. He has written for English periodicals such as Foreign Affairs, The Middle East Journal, Journal for Palestine Studies, Politique Etrangere, World Today, and for English dailies such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe and others.

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