Establishing Community Among Those of SWANA Descent

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Farah Al-Nakib is an assistant professor of history, specializing in the modern Middle East. Al-Nakib is reaching out to fellow faculty and staff who identify as being of SWANA descent.   

SWANA describes the Southwest Asian and North African region in a geographical and therefore non-political, non-religious, and non-Eurocentric way.  As a community in the United States, SWANA refers to people who immigrated and/or descend from the countries of this region, which extends from the Caucasus to Iran, Arabia, the Levant, and North Africa.  

In the US, people of SWANA descent are legally classified as white for racial identification purposes.  It is therefore difficult to gauge the size of the SWANA community at Cal Poly, among both the student body and faculty/staff.  While a SWANA student organization exists that has been actively enhancing a sense of community among students of SWANA heritage, no comparable group exists for our faculty and staff. 

In an effort to reach out to and establish community among fellow SWANA colleagues at Cal Poly, Al-Nakib created a Google form to fill if you identify as being of SWANA heritage (to any degree, including by association or former residence) and/or are interested in being part of an email listserv of SWANA-affiliated faculty and staff, and in starting a SWANA Faculty Staff Association.

For more information, email Al-Nakib at


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