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SE Michigan

By Adil James

Arab and Chaldean Festival Underwhelms Downtown Detroit

Saturday—July 29—The Arab and Chaldean Festival in downtown Detroit, only a few short years ago, was once an overwhelming event attended by tens of thousands of people who jam-packed Hart Plaza, making a living monument to the multiculturalism of metropolitan Detroit. Unfortunately that time has passed—perhaps because of the heat (about 95° F) or perhaps because of concerns about safety (although there were several patrolling officers); about 10 different vendors came, paying the approximately $750 booth fee, including the army, national guard, private national security agencies, and a few local vendors selling goods designed for a Middle Eastern audience).

This year’s festival’s highest attraction was the Art Gallery, a venue that showcased multiple exhibits including ‘1,000 years of Arab Medicine,’ ‘Arab Folklore and Customs’ and ‘Arab Calligraphy.’ This year’s festival also included a Children’s Fair, which will serve as a family program with many arts and crafts projects, readings of Arab and Chaldean children’s books and multiple inflatable attractions.

The festival also included booths from local businesses that serve delicious Middle Eastern food, beautiful jewelry and Arab inspired art from emerging and recognized artists. The Arab and Chaldean Festival serves as a multicultural program for people of all cultures to come and enjoy numerous educational and entertaining showcases of the Arab and Chaldean communities. As part of another annual tradition, the festival hosted a fashion show on Sunday, showcasing different attire every Arab country of the Middle East including Algeria, Bahrain, Camaras Islands, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qater, Saudia Arabia, Somolia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. There were also explanations of the geography and culture of the different nations.

If you wish to be involved in the festival next year, here is the contact information: Arab and Chaldean Festival, 7234 Oakwood Dive, West Bloomfield, MI 48322, Tel: 248-960-9956, Fax: 248-960-9956, arabandchaldeanfestival@yahoo.com; www.arabandchaldean festival.com. President: Dr. Jacoub Mansour.

New American Media Reaches Southeast Michigan

Monday—July 31—Sandy Close of New American Media (NAM) hosted The Muslim Observer as well as several other local ethnic media organizations including newspapers and radio stations of the Korean, Hispanic, African-American, and other ethnic media outlets. Some of the media outlets represented were the Korean American Times, the Michigan Chronicle, and the Michigan Citizen.

The purpose of the event was to begin a discussion on building a local network of ethnic media on Monday, July 31, 2006 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. NAM—a national nonprofit collaboration of ethnic media—is working to build a national presence for ethnic media in order to build resources for ethnic media’s editorial work and expand its advertising. The event, co-hosted by ACCESS, took place at the McGregor Memorial Conference Center at the Wayne State University campus. NAM has had great success in coordinating media networks across the country, especially in its base of San Francisco, California.

Ms. Close of NAM gave a brief presentation, showing the power of ethnic media in that millions of people nationwide use the ethnic media as their primary news source, despite this being unknown to many advertisers. She explained the benefits for advertising negotiating power of ethnic media outlets working in unison, and gave a brief presentation including a demonstration video which showed various ethnic media editors and publishers speaking on the importance of NAM’s work, and which showed the importance of NAM’s annual awards ceremony, which this year is intended to take place in November in Washington DC. The Muslim Observer has been nominated as a candidate in two fields for this year’s awards ceremony. Ms. Close also showed the disproportionate share of advertising dollars that went to mainstream media rather than ethnic media—even when advertisers were trying to reach ethnic consumers.

For more information, to participate, or to voice your support, please contact Hayg Oshagan at (313) 577-2945 or via email at h.oshagen@wayne.edu.


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