6th Annual Arab Women's Conference


Join the ACCC for our Sixth Annual Bay Area Arab Women's Conference--a unique grassroots Arab women's conference produced by and for Arab women!

This year, panelists and performers from across the world will present on such topics as how Arab women move beyond colonial, orientalist, and Arab nationalist definitions of Arab womanhood; how to recognize diversity and challenge racism and ethnocentricism across the Arab world and diaspora; and how to lead more holistically healthy lives.  

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Conference Program:

10:30AM-10:45AM - Registration and Check In

10:45AM-11:15 AM - Musical Prelude: The Aswat Women's Ensemble

11:15AM-11:30 AM - Opening Remarks, Loubna Qutami, ACCC Executive Director

11:30AM-1:00 PM -  Panel: "Complicating Colonial and "Post" Colonial Definitions of Arab Womanhood" with Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi

and "Contemporary War Diaries and Arab Womanhood: On Story-telling, Mothering, Laughter, and Activism" with Dr. Nadine Sinno

1:00PM-1:30 PM - Performance: poet Warsan Shire

1:30PM-2:15 PM - Lunch (provided)

2:15PM-3:00PM Workshops (ROUND 1)

Workshop 1: Arab Community Health: Assessing our Collective Well-being with Jamie Elmasu ~ Workshop 2: Intergenerational Writing Workshop: Envisioning a World for our Mothers and Daughters with Elmaz Abinader ~

3:00PM – 3:45 PM - Workshops (Round 2-take the workshop you didn't take before)

Workshop 1: Arab Community Health: Assessing our Collective Well-being with Jamie Elmasu ~ Workshop 2: Intergenerational Writing Workshop: Envisioning a World for our Mothers and Daughters with Elmaz Abinader ~

3:50 PM-5:00PM - Panel: Addressing Racism, Ethnocentricism and Colorism with Maytha Alhassen and Sandra Estefan

5:00PM-5:15 PM - Closing Remarks

5:15PM-5:30PM – Debka Demo and Celebration!


Speakers and Performers:


Aswat Women's Music Ensemble is the musical voice of Arab America in the Bay Area, sponsored by Zawaya, a non-profit organization that seeks to contribute to the multicultural discourse of the Bay Area with the Arab Arts. True to Zawaya's commitment to pluralism and inclusion, Aswat is a multi-ethnic and multi-racial music ensemble that reaches out to the diverse Bay Area community with folkloric, classical, and contemporary Arab music. For more information, please visit www.zawaya.org or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


rabab_abdulhadi83b5ab86a44fd60943Rabab Abdulhadi is an Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies/Race and Resistance Studies and the Senior Scholar of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative at the College of Ethnic Studies, San Francisco State University. Her scholarship, pedagogy and public activism focuses on Palestine, Arab and Muslim communities and their diasporas, race and resistance studies, transnational feminisms, and gender and sexuality studies. She is the co-editor of Arab and Arab American Feminisms: Gender, Violence and Belonging (Syracuse University Press), winner of the 2012 National Arab American Book Award. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies in English and Arabic and she is the recipient of several honors and awards, including the New Century Scholarship, Sterling Fellowship, Phi Beta Kappa award, and teaching excellence awards from Yale University and AUC. he has participated in collaborative projects including cofounding the Islamophobia Studies Journal, contributing to the the Masarat Second Annual Conference and the National Conference of Women’s Studies as well as numerous World Social Forum events, including the upcoming 2013 World Social Forum in Tunisia.

IMG_4364Elmaz Abinader's books are a memoir, Children of the Roojme, A Family's Journey from Lebanon, and a poetry collection, In the Country of My Dreams. Her award winning play, Country of Origin, was most recently performed at the Kennedy Center and has traveled around the world. She is a co-founder of the Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA) workshops for writers-of-color and she teaches at Mills College in Oakland, CA.

may_alhassen350d0dae8Maytha Alhassen is a University of Southern California (USC) Provost Ph.D. Fellow in American Studies and Ethnicity, studying historical encounters between Black internationalism and the Arab diaspora, critical race studies, transnational social movements, media and oral history narratives. Under the academic tutelage of Manning Marable, Alhassen researched the historic linkages between Malcolm X and the Arab diaspora for the Malcolm X Project. Her work in and outside academia bridges the worlds of social justice, academic research and artistic expression. Alhassen has written for CNN, Huffington Post, Counterpunch and other outlets on issues such as Middle East politics, the Prison Industrial Complex, the Arab uprisings, historic racial tensions and solidarities between African Americans and Arabs (and Arab Americans), Arab-owned liquor stores in Black neighborhoods, representation of Arabs and the Middle East in media and hip hop, and even on Love. In addition to her journalistic and academic writing, she has appeared on CNN and Al Jazeera English and contributed an essay to a book on American Muslim women's stories, "I Speak For Myself." Alhassen recently co-edited a book on the Arab uprisings, youth and social media with HuffPost Live host Ahmed Shihab-Eldin," Demanding Dignity: Young Voices from the Front Lines of the Arab Revolutions," (White Cloud Press). She can be reached through her website, mayalhassen.com (where much of her writing is accessible); by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or on Twitter @mayalhassen.


Jamie_Photo7b9d64Jamie Elmasu Committed to advancing health and promoting wellness, Jamie researches and designs strategies that focus on improving programs and services in the public health field. Her experiences stem from working in the healthcare safety net and with a variety of community-based nonprofit organizations. Jamie currently works as a health associate for BTW Informing Change, a strategic consulting firm, where she collaborates with nonprofits and foundations to use evaluation as a tool to strengthen the impact of their work. Jamie has applied her program development and evaluation skills in the Arab community, where she initiated a youth-based violence prevention and anti-bullying program at the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services and currently serves on the advisory board for the Racial Equity in Schools program at the Arab Cultural and Community Center. Jamie holds an MPH from the University of California, Berkeley with a focus on Health and Social Behavior and earned a certificate in Multicultural Health.


Sandra Estafan graduated from the Graduate Theological Union in 2012, and is a lecturer at San Francisco State University. She is an Egyptian Canadian Feminist. She grew up in the Coptic Orthodox Church, and its spiritual themes usually find their way into her work. Her creative work spans various media, including mixed media installations, graphic design, and poetry.She has facilitated a variety of workshops in formal and informal spaces.



Diala Khasawnih is an artist and a translator who enjoys bringing people around a dinner table and if that can be called art, well, even better. She is a member of the Makan collective www.makanhouse.net




N_Sinnoe0bf1281ba45Nadine Sinno Nadine Sinno is an Assistant Professor of Arabic Literature and Language in the Middle East Institute at Georgia State University. Her research interests include modern Arabic literature and culture, literary translation, contemporary Arab women’s writings, and transnational feminisms. Her work has appeared in The Journal of Arabic Literature, The Journal of Middle East Women’s StudiesMizna: Prose, Poetry, and Art Exploring Arab America, and in the edited volume Feminism and War: Confronting U.S. Imperialism. Her publications also include a translation of Nazik Saba Yared's novel Canceled Memories from Arabic into English (Syracuse University Press, 2009).

warsan_pic74e62765f012Warsan Shire Warsan Shire is a Kenyan-born Somali poet and writer who is based in London. Born in 1988, Warsan has read her work extensively all over Britain and internationally – including recent readings in South Africa, Italy, Germany, Canada, America and Kenya- and her début book, 'Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth' (flipped eye), was published in 2011. Her poems have been published in Wasafiri, Magma and Poetry Review and in the anthology 'The Salt Book of Younger Poets' (Salt, 2011). In 2012 she represented Somalia at the Poetry Parnassus, the festival of the world poets at the Southbank, London. Her poetry has been translated into Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.


For more information, email Weyam Ghadbian at wghadbian[at]arabculturalcenter[dot]org or call (415) 664-2200

Event Properties

Event date: Saturday, 16 March 2013
Event End Date: Saturday, 16 March 2013
Cut off date Monday, 18 March 2013
Individual Price 25.00
Location San Francisco Public Library