Congratulations 2016 Making an Impact exhibit inductees!


To close out the Museum’s 10th Anniversary Year – May 2015 through May 2016 – AANM recently inducted 10 new people into its permanent Making an Impact exhibit. Since opening its doors in 2005, AANM’s Making an Impact exhibit has highlighted significant Arab American figures for their contributions to society.  


AANM’s interactive Making an Impact exhibit tells the story of Arab Americans and organizations whose contributions have influenced not only Arab Americans but the world as a whole. Contributions from politicians, activists, athletes, physicians, labor leaders, scientists, entertainers and other notable fields are highlighted throughout the exhibit. Within the exhibit, visitors can enjoy multimedia displays as well as a plethora of artifacts signifying each individual’s achievements.


Sadam Ali [Sports]

At the age of eight, Yemeni American Sadam Ali was inspired to start boxing by Yemeni British boxer “Prince” Naseem Hamed. When he was 17, Ali won the featherweight division of the 2006 National Golden Gloves Championship and a year later won the lightweight division. He represented Team USA at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. As a professional in the welterweight division, Ali remained undefeated for the first six years of his career.



Suheir Hammad [Creative Arts]


Born in Amman, Jordan, as a Palestinian refugee, Suheir Hammad’s poetry and writing often focus on the struggles of fitting in as an immigrant and as a woman in a sexist society. She has won several accolades over the years, including a Tony Award for Special Theatrical Event as a writer and performer for Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry Jam on Broadway. Her poem First Writing Since gave voice to Arab Americans following the September 11, 2001, attacks. In 2009, she received The George Ellenbogen Poetry Award from the Arab American Book Awards for her poem Breaking Points. 



Geoff Johns [Creative Arts]


Growing up in Grosse Pointe, Mich., Geoff Johns’ interest in comics began when he found a stash of them in his grandmother’s attic. Johns wrote dozens of books for iconic characters including Superman, The Flash and Aquaman. As chief creative officer of DC Entertainment, Johns created the first Arab American superhero, Simon Baz. Introduced as a Dearborn, Mich. native, the character became a new Green Lantern in 2012. Johns has since expanded DC’s reach into film and television. In 2012, AANM’s Russell J. Ebeid Library & Resource Center established a graphic novel collection in his honor.


Rana El Kaliouby [Science]


Rana el Kaliouby is co-founder and CEO of Affectiva, the Emotion AI company.  She is a pioneer in emotion recognition technology and is on a mission to bring emotional intelligence to the digital world. Her interest started while working on her Ph.D. at Cambridge University. Away from her family and friends in Egypt, el Kaliouby wished her computer could better convey her emotional state. Her technology accurately reads minute changes in facial expressions that convey emotions. El Kaliouby worked as a research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is a member of the Women in Engineering Hall of Fame.




Nawal Nour [Activism]


Born to a Sudanese father and American mother, Dr. Nawal Nour created the African Women’s Health Practice at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. The Harvard-affiliated facility provides services to immigrant women affected by female genital cutting – a harmful practice Nour dedicated her obstetrics career to ending. In 2003, she received a MacArthur “genius grant” in recognition of her work.


Dean Obeidallah [Entertainment]


Born in New Jersey to a Palestinian father and Italian mother, Dean Obeidallah (above left) created a career as a comedian and political satirist. Obeidallah was featured in the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, and co-founded the annual New York Arab American Comedy Festival with fellow Making an Impact inductee Maysoon Zayid (above right). In 2013, he co-directed and co-produced the award-winning documentary The Muslims are Coming! with comedian and filmmaker Negin Farsad.


                                                                    (Photo by Laith Al-Majali)


Omar Offendum [Entertainment]


Hip-hop artist, poet, designer and activist Omar Offendum’s music frequently speaks to events in the Arab World, including several songs that went viral during the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. His collaborators include hip-hop artists The Phillistines, Mr. Tibbz and The Narcicyst. Born in Saudi Arabia to Syrian parents, Offendum has raised money for various humanitarian relief organizations through his performances.



Karim Rashid [Creative Arts]


Time magazine once called Karim Rashid “The Poet of Plastic” and “The most famous industrial designer in all the Americas.” Born in Cairo and raised in Canada before moving to the U.S., Rashid has designed for many products and brands, including luxury goods, furniture, lighting and even a New York City manhole cover. His work is in museum collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.


                                       (Photo by Lisa Gansky)


Brandon Saad [Sports]


Brandon Saad is one of the few Arab Americans to play in the National Hockey League. He grew up playing hockey in Pittsburgh and after high school, he quickly advanced through the amateur ranks.  At just 18 years old, he was drafted to play with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011. As a Blackhawk, Saad won two Stanley Cups in 2013 and 2015. He started playing for the Columbus Blue Jackets during the 2015-2016 season and made his first NHL All-Star Game appearance.



Maysoon Zayid [Entertainment]


Maysoon Zayid once described herself as “a Palestinian Muslim virgin with cerebral palsy, from New Jersey, who is an actress, comedian and activist.” Zayid’s acting career began on the long-running soap opera As the World Turns. She appeared in Adam Sandler’s You Don’t Mess With the Zohan. In 2003, she co-founded the New York Arab American Comedy Festival with Dean Obeidallah. 

13624 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn, MI 48126 - Phone (313) 582-AANM (2266) A Project of ACCESS