Bshara Nassar, a 2104 alumnus of Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, has been named as an awardee of The Arab America Foundation’s “40 Under 40” Class of 2021. The honorees were announced July 21.
All awardees are under the age of 40, excel in their industry, and are engaged in promoting their heritage and culture to empower their communities and make a difference. The competition is open annually to all professionals who live and/or work in the United States and are of Arab descent.
Nassar is founder of the Museum of the Palestinian People in Washington D.C. and also deeply involved in his family’s educational farm, Tent of Nations, in Palestine. Since 1998, undergraduate, graduate and alumni groups from the university and Eastern Mennonite Seminary have made the 100-acre farm outside of Bethlehem a regular stop on Middle East cross cultural trips. [Read more about this connection here.]
Nassar’s vision for a brick and mortar museum devoted to telling the story of the Palestinian people began in 2011 and culminated, after several years of hosting travelling exhibits (including one at EMU), in a 2016 opening. His role was multifaceted: “he developed the concept, worked with artists, assembled a board, negotiated museum space, coordinated the setup of the exhibits in locations across the country, and raised over 1 million dollars in funds,” according to the bio.
More recently, he and his wife Kirsten Rosetto Nassar ’14 co-founded Keffiyeh Masks, a socially responsible brand to invest in Palestine businesses and support local charities in the U.S.
The “40 Under 40” bio also highlights Nassar’s strong commitment to educating about “Palestinian rights and livelihoods,” with public speaking opportunities in diverse forums, including churches and universities, as well as the French Embassy and John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Nassar joins 39 professionals from a range of fields and business sectors, including education, law, public service/politics, non-profit, business leaders, entrepreneurs, engineers, medical professionals, artists, entertainers, writers, and media representatives.
“We are ecstatic to recognize the 40 individuals that have worked to make their dreams come true and have contributed immensely to the Arab American Community,” said Warren David, co-founder of the Arab America Foundation and president of Arab America. “To truly succeed you must own your identity and strive towards goals that seem almost impossible. These awardees have remembered their heritage while making notable achievements and that is something that generations of Arab Americans before us would be proud to see.”
The 40 Under 40 awardees for the class of 2021 will be honored at a future event to be announced.
The Arab America Foundation (AAF) is a non-profit (501c3) educational and cultural organization. The mission of AAF is to promote the Arab heritage, empower and educate others about the Arab identity, connect Arab Americans, and build coalitions with diverse organizations across the U.S.