The Politics of the Rise and Fall of the Association of the Arab American University Graduates

  • Author / Creator
    Sharaf, Sarah
  • The Association of Arab-American University Graduates (AAUG) came into existence in 1967 as a response to the negative portrayals of the Arabs in the U.S media. The establishment of the Association was a crucial and significant move by a group of U.S.-based young scholars, professors and intellectuals of Arab origin to challenge all forms of stereotyping and disinformation about Arabs. It was optimal timing to start such an association as it was at the peak of the U.S. civil rights movement, and intellectuals and scholars were eager to challenge and write about racism and other human rights movements including nationalist movements. As both American-born and immigrant Arabs were harmed by media distortions, the AAUG’s main goals were to bring young university graduates together, integrate their knowledge and expertise, challenge and combat bigotry, and most importantly, educate and inform the American public. By utilizing archival material and scholarly literature, this thesis analyzes the reasons behind the rise and fall of the AAUG since its establishment in 1967 till dissolution in 2007. Key findings are advanced theoretically by adopting Edward Said’s anti-colonialist and anti-racist framework as established in Orientalism, alongside the unity and solidarity of Third Worldism, and the significance of human interdependence for preventing human suffering advocated by care ethics in the work of Fiona Robinson. In this research, I argue that the AAUG’s weakening and demise was gradually influenced first by the fall of pan-Arabism in the Arab world, which was caused by a series of events in the region. Many of the Association’s prominent members, and other organizations that were financially supporting the Association, were influenced by fragmented politics of their home countries that led them to cease funding the AAUG, and hence affected the functioning of the organization. Second, it was caused by the U.S.’s pro-Israel domestic and foreign policies which had intensified in Israel’s favor through each Arab/Israeli conflict or event. Although the AAUG dissolved in 2007, it left a lasting legacy to a new generation of civil society movements. This will be shown by the discussion of the resistance of the new generation of civil society movements in the Arab world which embraced the Palestinian activism as well as resisted against the oppression and corruption of their state leaders, as witnessed during the Arab Spring. Furthermore, it will be demonstrated by the discussion of the rise of the new transnational civil society movements such as BDS movement and its supporters from all over the world.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2023
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.