The Arab Indianapolis project explores and celebrates the history of Arab Americans in Greater Indianapolis, the diversity of our community, and our contributions to the city. We connect contemporary Hoosiers of all backgrounds to our shared past.
The project has been widely covered by local media, including the Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis Monthly, WFYI News, WRTV, IU Research, WFYI’s member magazine and website, Hoosier History Live, the IU Alumni Magazine, and WISH-TV (below).
Arab Indianapolis began in March, 2020, as a blog featuring community history and interviews of Arab Americans in Greater Indianapolis. Directed by Edward Curtis, the project engaged two dozen other Arab Americans and nine student researchers. IU Indianapolis students Jay Brodzeller and Ronnie Kawak worked on the project from beginning to end; Dana Dobbins, Emma Eldridge, Lily Malcomb, Layla Mitiche, Asrar Jaber, Jamee West, and Mickey Yoder made significant contributions, as well. Ziad Hefni was the project’s photographer. Prof. Paul Mullins and Prof. Jeff Wilson also supported the project.
After the first blog posts appeared, a community advisory committee started by Hiba Alalami recommended publishing a book about the community, and local filmmaker Vinnie Manganello suggested that the topic deserved a full-length documentary. Two years later, in June 2022, with the help of over 75 individuals and about a dozen institutions, the film and the book appeared. Over half the funding for the project came from various units of Indiana University, including a significant portion from the William M. and Gail M. Plater Chair of the Liberal Arts and the IUPUI Vice Chancellor for Research.
In the second half of 2022, the project then expanded to include an application for an Indiana Historical Bureau marker at Willard Street, K-12 lesson plans on PBS Learning Media, statewide screenings and conversations about our film sponsored by Indiana Humanities, and a June, 2023, K-12 Indiana educators workshop.