Over the past century, Arab American contributions have enriched the political, economic and cultural life in the United States. Arab Americans have risen to prominence in every profession. This section tells the stories of hundreds of Arab American individuals and organizations whose contributions have influenced our way of life – politicians, activists, athletes, physicians, labor leaders, and entertainers. Featured individuals include world-renowned surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey, consumer advocate and presidential candidate Ralph Nader, former White House journalist Helen Thomas, and auto racing legend Bobby Rahal.


As academics and scholars, Arab Americans have contributed to every field. In areas such as Women’s Studies, History, Post-Colonial Studies, Middle East Studies and Media Studies,  Arab Americans have both contributed to and altered the intellectual discourse and expanded the scope of study to include non-Western viewpoints.


Numerous Arab Americans have made it their life’s work to assist in improving the lives of all Americans. They have contributed in the fields of labor, health, social justice, law, cultural awareness and community development by putting their own self interest aside and working for the betterment of all. These committed individuals have been recognized not only by the Arab American community but also by the entire nation.


Arab Americans formed new organizations to aid new immigrants, fight stereotyping and discrimination, enhance civic and political empowerment, publicize political struggles, and provide much-needed services to the community.

Creative Arts

From prose and poetry to innovative design, music and dance, Arab Americans have enhanced and broadened the cultural landscape of the nation. These creative people have helped to bring a greater understanding of cultural diversity through the arts and in turn, build bridges among all groups.


Arab Americans have gained acclaim as Oscar and Emmy award-winning actors, multi-platinum-selling musical performers, critically acclaimed film and TV directors and producers, radio personalities, teen pop idols and celebrity humanitarians. Many of the nation’s best-loved performers are Arab Americans.


Arab Americans have been serving in the U.S. military since the Revolutionary War. They fought with both the Union and Confederate armies in the Civil War. During World War I, Arab American community leaders urged young Arab American men to join the U.S. Armed Forces in order to help defend their new country.

Today, there are thousands of Arab American men and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. The Association of Patriotic Arab Americans in the Military (APAAM) is an organization that unites service members of Arab descent.


Arab Americans have served the nation as members of Congress and the U.S. Senate, governors, judges, district attorneys, negotiators, ambassadors, cabinet secretaries, White House press correspondents and political pollsters. All areas of government and politics have been well served by the hard work and commitment of Arab Americans.


Arab Americans have contributed to all aspects of science and medicine. These highly skilled people have won Nobel Prizes, founded hospitals and research centers, cured diseases, flown in space, and trekked and mapped Antarctica. Often working behind the scenes, their names may not be well known. However, their contributions have resulted in great strides toward understanding our world and enhancing our health.


On and off the playing fields Arab Americans have made contributions to sports. From race car drivers, football players, baseball players, basketball players, pro bowlers, track and field stars to coaches and team owners and even professional wrestlers, these professional sports legends had fans cheering.