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News Release

Date: March 21, 2008
Media Contact: Elizabeth Homan, 240-567-7970; Steve Simon, 240-567-7952

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Montgomery College to Commemorate Arab American Heritage Month in April
Guest Speakers to Include County Executive Leggett, Arab American Institute Foundation’s Executive Director

Montgomery College will host a series of special events to celebrate Arab American Heritage Month in April. The College’s month-long commemoration is designed to encourage discussion and learning, and highlight the diverse cultural traditions of the world’s 22 Arab countries. These events are free and open to the public.

  • Monday, April 7 at 3 p.m. - “Promoting Understanding in a Diverse Community”
    Montgomery College-Rockville
    Theatre Arts Arena
    51 Mannakee Street, Rockville, Md.

    Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and Helen Samhan, executive director of the Arab American Institute Foundation, will be the keynote speakers at this event. In November 2006, Isiah Leggett was elected to a four-year term as Montgomery County Executive. He is the first African American to be elected to this public office. Leggett also served four terms as a member of the Montgomery County Council. As a Council member, he served as president, vice president, and chair of the Transportation and Environment Committee. Helen Samhan leads a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and studying the Arab American experience. AAIF is an affiliate of the Arab American Institute that represents Arab American issues in politics, training, and public policy. She has been with the Institute since its formation in 1985.

  • Tuesday, April 15 at 11 a.m. - Arabic Music Workshop and Performance
    Montgomery College-Takoma Park/Silver Spring
    Black Box Theatre, Communication Arts Center
    Located at the corner of Chicago and Philadelphia Avenues
    Takoma Park, Md.

  • Tuesday, April 15 at 3 p.m. – Arabic Music Workshop and Performance
    Montgomery College-Rockville
    Music Building, Room 124
    51 Mannakee Street, Rockville, Md.

  • Friday, April 25 at 3 p.m. – “Cities of Lights,” film screening and interfaith dialogue
    Montgomery College-Rockville
    Theatre Arts Arena
    51 Mannakee Street, Rockville, Md.

    The movie, “Cities of Lights: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain,” deals with the triumphs, shortcomings, achievements and ultimate failures of a centuries-long period when Muslims, Christians and Jews inhabited the same corner of Western Europe and built a society that lit the Dark Ages. Following the screening, there will be an interfaith discussion about the film and the legacy of Islamic Spain with Alexander Kronemer, producer of the film; Lobna Ismail, president of Connecting Cultures; and Daniel Tutt, outreach coordinator for Unity Productions Foundation.

For more information about the events, contact Enas Elhanafi at 240-567-1759 or e-mail her at For maps and directions to Montgomery College’s campuses, visit

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md. The College serves nearly 60,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.

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