A culture where Arab Americans are included, understood and presented with dignity and accuracy.
NAAWA is a membership-based grassroots organization of Arab American Women. We serve as a platform to support our community members and to connect and collaborate with other like-minded organizations advocating for social justice.
Advocate and support activism and leadership participation of Arab American women in developing and enacting public policies that protect individual rights and freedoms for all citizens. Educate, empower, and inspire Arab American women to improve their local communities through volunteering, mentoring, and social outreach. Uphold and promo Uphold and promote the rich Arab culture and heritage, including art, music, literature, and language. Stand firmly against all forms of discrimination: gender, racial, ethnic, religious, and all others. Form coalitions and partnerships with other organizations that share similar principles.
JIHAN ANDONI—NAAWA co-founder, former president, and current board member. Jihan had a long history of activism supporting women’s movements. Jihan is also an active member of the International Women's Forum- DC chapter. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Bethlehem University, and a master’s degree in Information Systems from the American University. Jihan is currently the CEO of Zeva Inc. Before joining Zeva, Jihan held different positions at the Center for Responsive Politics. The latest was the Research Director.
Ghada Mansur Barakat has been a NAAWA board member since the organization’s inception. She has also served on the boards of ACCESS in Michigan, Palestine Aid Society, and the Ramallah Club of Detroit, while also supervising the headquarters of the American Ramallah Federation. For over nine years Ghada worked as the Director of Organizing at the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee, supervised seven regional office, followed up with 135 active chapters, and organized ADC’s national convention with over 3,000 attendees
Dr. Najat Arafat Khelil is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Arab American Women’s Association (NAAWA), Chairperson of Know Thy Heritage (KTH), and a member of the board of directors of United States Palestinian Council (USPC). Formerly, she was the National president of: Arab Women’s Council Research and Educational Fund, General Union of Palestinian American Women, Palestinian American Congress and Roots (Palestinian Youth Organization). She has also served on the boards of the Interreligious Committee for Peace in the Middle East and the National Rainbow Coalition.
Wahiba Derouaze is an educator and an activist. She taught French and Arabic in Fairfax County Public Schools for years. She also worked with Fairfax County Adult Education Department.As an activist, she served on national and local organizations to promote Arab American heritage and culture. She was a VALS Board Member for many years and President for four years. She is currently serving on NAAWA’s Education Outreach Program.Wahiba is a proud mother of four accomplished professional Arab Americans. She enjoys playing tennis and doing yoga on a regular basis. She also enjoys world music, fine arts and travelling.
Hiam Muhawi is a proud Arab-American who came to the United States from Palestine in pursuit of higher education in 1982. She obtained a B.A. in English Literature from Bir Zeit University in the West Bank and ultimately settled in Washington D.C. where she graduated from George Washington University with a M.A. in Human Resource Development / Higher Education and Administration. After a small stint with the private sector, Hiam devoted 30 years of service to the D.C. Public School system specialized in reading, writing, and English as Second Language (ESL) programs for our youth. Hiam served as the ESL Department Chair of her district from 2010-2020 where she developed enhanced reading and writing curriculum for international students and spearheaded staff development in cross-cultural communication and conflict resolution initiatives.Hiam's diasporic journey and Palestinian roots continue to drive her passion for education, women's rights, and the mission to grow future generations of capable leaders.Hiam currently resides in the Washington D.C area and has one son
Ilham Nasser is an educator and researcher in child development and education. She completed a Ph.D. in Human Development and Child Study at the University of Maryland. She has conducted workshops and taught courses on best ways to meet the needs of learners in the United States and other countries. She is the director of the Human Development program, part of Advancing Education in Muslim Societies (AEMS) Initiative at the International Institute of Islamic Thought in VA. Ilham is a mother of two accomplished young professional Arab Americans. She is an avid yogi who enjoys music and gardening. She also serves on our Virginia Education Outreach Program.
Hiba Kassab is a dentist, a self taught artist, and a mother of two boys 7 and 8 years old. She lives with her husband and children in Baltimore, Maryland and practices dentistry in the DMV area. Originally from Iraq, she moved to Baltimore in 2002 after graduating from dental school in Baghdad. Moving frequently for her studies helped her realize the value of building a community where women can get the support they need by reaching out and connecting to each other. In 2016, when Hiba moved back to settle down in Baltimore, she established her Lean In Maryland women circle where she hosted speakers throughout the year. It has brought a wonderful impact on women and their fields by networking and empowering each other, and Hiba always feels excited to help and empower other women to unleash their full potential.
Samar Sakakini is an educator and cultural activist who serves on both national and local organizations to promote Arab and Palestinian heritage and culture, while fighting discrimination and stereotypes. She was appointed to the Commission for Culture, Arts & Heritage in Canton, Michigan, where she currently serves as the chair. Additionally, she has volunteered with multiple campaigns for election, and her favorite hobbies are gardening, traveling, and researching her family history. She is a proud mother of two amazing Arab Americans.
Alma Khoury Korkor has been an ADC Board Member for the past 6 years and is an activist, writer, and educator who studied in Syria, France, and America. She is an Arabic teacher and has written and translated numerous pieces, including a publication discussing the treatment of children during times of disaster. In Ohio, Alma worked in real estate, owned a Middle Eastern restaurant, served as a radio host for an Arab American program, a President of the City International Festival and national auxiliary president of NAAMA. She also co-founded Ohio’s ADC and was previously President of AAA, all while staying active in various local political initiatives and guest speaking at schools and civic events on Arab American issues, culture and heritage. Most recently, she joined the Board of Directors for the Masrah Cleveland Al-Arabi. Alma also serves on the Arab American Institute's (AAI) Leadership Council. She is a mother of four children and a grandmother of seven kids.
Rana Abu-Ragheb has over fifteen years of national and international experience in finance, human resource, and operations management. She co-founded and managed a social impact venture that aimed at providing access to books in underserved communities in Jordan and managed the operations of several SMEs across several industries including sustainability consulting and software development. Rana holds an MBA from American University in Washington, DC.