Arab Indianapolis

Our Mission: To document the long history and contributions of Arab Americans to Greater Indianapolis

Help us make a full-length documentary for public television. Check out the trailer below and for more information, please click here.



From the late 1800s until today, people of Arab descent have made Indianapolis their home. From establishing businesses to working in the fields of health care and education, they have contributed to the cultural vitality, economic growth, and social fabric of Greater Indianapolis. Today’s Arab Hoosiers trace their roots to more than twenty Arabic-speaking countries across North Africa and the Middle East.

What does this project actually do?

Research our Past

Explore the history of Arab Indianapolis, its diversity, and our contributions to the city

Understand our Present

Document and celebrate the lives of contemporary Arab Americans in Indianapolis

Spread Knowledge

Publish a book, make a film, design exhibits, create a history tour, build an archive


Our Community Partners

The first major Arabic-speaking neighborhood in Indianapolis was located on Willard Street downtown.

Our institutional partners include the IUPUI Department of Religious Studies, Indiana Muslim Advocacy Network, Indianapolis Public Library, Catholic Charities Immigrant and Refugee Services, and Eman Schools. The director is Edward Curtis, a fourth-generation Arab Midwesterner.

Want to volunteer or help? Let us know! Just send an email to ecurtis4@iupui.edu or call 317-278-1683. Thanks!


Our Supporters

People of Arab descent like the Freije family have been settling in Indianapolis since the 1800s.

Institutional supporters include the IUPUI Vice Chancellor for Research, William M. and Gail M. Plater Chair of the Liberal Arts at IUPUI, IU School of Medicine Gastroenterology and Hepatology Division; IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute; Indiana Humanities; IU Muslim Voices; IUPUI International Affairs; Garden Hill Fund; and IUPUI Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion.                     

Individual supporters include Dr. Eyas Raddad and Samia Alajlouni; John W. Guy; Dr. Mohammad Al-Haddad and Hiba Alami; Stephen Hartnett; Dr. Mona Raed and Dr. Rami Ahmed; Sandra Lynch; Dr. Amira Mashhour; Dr. Majdi Abu-Salih; Diana Najjar; Steve and Susie Baranyk; Edward Curtis III; Dr. Arthur Farnsley; Dr. Susan Hyatt; Dr. Peter Thuesen; Rev. Betty Brandt; Jeanne Zwald; Andrea Akel; Eric White; Dr. Anne Wilson; Kelly Zwald; Rouba Al Aseer; Dr. Hussein Rashid; Dr. Anna Bigelow; Ed Fujawa; Theresa Berghoff; Suzy Reed; Jennifer Bly-Lake; Robert Dillingham; Dr. Nermeen Mouftah; Sue Ellen Braunlin; Sampson Levingston; Dr. Layla Goushey.