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SWANA Heritage Month

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April marks the annual Southwest Asian and North African (SWANA) Heritage Month at San Diego State University. The SDSU Center for Intercultural Relations, in collaboration with student organizations and community partners have planned educational and celebratory programming for the month. All members of the SDSU community are invited to participate in our events by registering here. 

What Does SWANA Mean?

SWANA is a decolonial and geographical term that represents the various communities located in Southwest Asia and North Africa. Another term used to describe the region is the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The term SWANA has been adopted by the Center for Intercultural Relations and other CSU student organizations to be more inclusive of SWANA communities that may not identify as Arab. 

About SWANA Heritage Month

The purpose of the heritage month is to increase awareness about the history, cultures, experiences, contributions, and resiliency of the SWANA community. The heritage month coincides with the National Arab American Heritage Month which is observed in April.

2023 SWANA Heritage Month Events View
//Calendar

April 4

SWANA/MENA Experience Student Panel

2:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Center for Intercultural Relations (Student Union 250)

Four student panelists anelists will share their experiences regarding cultural traditions, assimilation, and challenges they have faced. 

Flyer for event

April12

Dispel the Myth Part III with Guest Speaker Dr. Farid Abdel-Nour 

1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Center for Intercultural Relations (Student Union 250)

Join the Center for Intercultural Relations (CIR) and the Middle Eastern North African (MENA) student organization as we discuss the lived experiences of members of the SWANA communities. We will talk about stigmas and the importance of challenging stigmatized narratives.

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April17

Take a Break: Mosaic Tile Art

2:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Student Union Aztlan (230A)

Join us for Take a Break: Mosaic Art, where we will be making colorful mosaic coasters and learning about mosaic art history to celebrate SWANA/MENA Heritage Month. Materials are provided, but you must RSVP!

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April 19

Yalla Let's Chat! Cultural Appropriation and Cultural Appreciation

2:00 pm to 3:00 pm

SWANA Lounge, Center for Intercultural Relations (Student Union 250)

Join us as we discuss cultural appropriation and to celebrate our SWANA culture during the SWANA Heritage Month! Each attendee will receive a goodie bag at the end of the event.

Yalla! Let's Chat is a peer-led support group, which explores the Southwest Asia & North Africa/Middle Eastern/Arab student experience.

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April 25

Middle Eastern and North African Closing Celebration

12:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Student Union Courtyard 

Join us for the closing ceremony of SWANA Heritage Series hosted by the Middle Eastern and North African Student Union, One SDSU and Center for Intercultural Relations. 

April 27

A Convo with Comedian Kareem Rahma

5:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Student Union Park Boulevard Room

Comedian, screenwriter, and entrepreneur Kareem Rahma will share his experience as a first-generation Egyptian, and creator of  "Keep the Meter Running"  which spotlights NYC taxi drivers that has amassed over 45 million views on TikTok and Instagram! 

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May  1

Taste of the Middle East 

5:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Scripps Cottage Patio

Celebrate SWANA (Southwest Asian, North African) Heritage Month with some Middle Eastern cuisine at Scripps Cottage Patio! The Center for Intercultural Relations is partnering with SDSU's Head Chef Tiago Battastini to prepare dishes right in front of you!

Flyer for Taste of the Middle East

Past SWANA Heritage Month Events

  • We are not Invisible: SWANA Explained 
  • Introduction to Arabic Calligraphy hosted by the Center for Intercultural Relations, Muslim Student Assocation, and Language Exchange Club
  • Dispel the Myth Part II hosted by the Center for Intercultural Relations and the Middle Eastern and North African Student Union
  • Closing Celebration hosted by Middle Eastern and North African Student Union