Two Dearborn students will be national teen advisors to the Smithsonian

A message from Kim Silarsk, Communications Manager at Arab American National Museum:



Two Dearborn students will be national teen advisors to the Smithsonian


Dearborn, Mich. (Sept. 28, 2017) – The Arab American National Museum – an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. – has recruited two area high school students to join the Smithsonian Secretary’s Youth Advisory Council.


Malak Wazne, a senior at Dearborn High School and Fatima Abu-Omarah, a junior at Fordson High School, will lend their advice to Smithsonian Secretary David J.

Fatima Abu-Omarah

Fatima Abu-Omarah

Skorton as members of the council. Wazne and Abu-Omarah are among 25 high school juniors and seniors who will advise Skorton during a quarterly meeting on topics such as technology in museums, how museums could address societal conflicts and be catalysts for dialogue and how the Smithsonian might accomplish its goal of reaching one billion visitors.

Malak Wazne

Malak Wazne


“I’m very pleased to expand the opportunity to include teens nationally through our Smithsonian Affiliations program,” Skorton says. “I look forward to connecting with our teens and gaining a wide variety of perspectives.”


Skorton established the Youth Advisory Council in 2016 to gain advice and insight on youth perception of the Smithsonian from students in Washington, D.C. The second group expands on the original work and include students from the Smithsonian Affiliate network, providing a national perspective to the conversation by attending virtually. The Smithsonian held the first meeting of the 2017 council at the Smithsonian Castle in Washington Sept. 27.


“AANM is honored to help bring the thoughts and perspectives of young Arab Americans to the Smithsonian Secretary’s Youth Advisory Council,” says AANM Director Devon Akmon. “AANM, and our colleagues at ACCESS, are committed to building leadership skills among young Arab Americans. We hope initiatives like this will inspire young people to become more civically engaged and to consider exploring careers in the museum field.”


The 2017–2018 council includes 15 teens from the Washington metropolitan area. Ten teens recruited directly from five Smithsonian Affiliates will provide a national perspective; the Affiliates are the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Mich.; the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History in Fort Worth, Texas; the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Museum in Cincinnati; the Rockwell Museum in Corning, N.Y.; and the Upcountry History Museum in Greenville, S.C.


“Taking the Smithsonian beyond the National Mall is critical to our mission,” says Myriam Springuel, interim director of Smithsonian Affiliations. “The five Affiliate partners in the Council’s second cohort are incredibly strong advocates for their own local youth programs.


The Arab American National Museum (AANM) documents, preserves and presents Arab American history, culture and contributions.


AANM – an institution of Dearborn, Mich.-based human-services agency ACCESS – is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums; an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution; and a founding member of the Immigration and Civil Rights Network of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.


The Museum is located at 13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn, MI, 48126. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. WednesdayThursdayFriday and Saturdaynoon-5 p.m. Sunday. Closed MondayTuesday; Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Admission is $8 for adults; $4 for students, seniors and children 6-12; ages 5 and under and Museum Members, free.


Visit or call 313.582.2266 for further information

Kim Silarski | Communications Manager | Arab American National Museum

13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn, MI 48126 | Office 313.624.0206 | Cell 313.670.1300


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