Brazil celebrates Arab Community Day

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Rubens Hannun, President, Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce

The Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (ABCC) and its space devoted to Arab culture and immigration, Arab House, recently brought focus on the history of Arab immigration to Brazil during a virtual seminar recently held to mark Arab Community Day in Brazil.  

Guest experts traced back the roots of the Arabs’ presence in Brazil and gave a comprehensive view of the community’s growth and contributions during the ‘Arab Immigration: History, Legacy and Influence’ webinar.  

The discussions during the special online gathering were divided into three sections. The first one zeroed in on the history of Arab immigration and Brazil’s Arab Community Day. Also presented in this session were highlights of the results of ABCC’s recent survey, a probabilistic study conducted by Ibope Inteligência and H2R Pesquisas Avançadas to look into the size of the Arab community and its members’ inclusion into the local community. 

The survey was released as part of ABCC’s 68th anniversary celebration. The findings showed that Brazil is now home to more than 11.6 million Brazilians of Arab descent, with many of them still maintaining ties with their ancestors’ countries of origin decades after arriving in the country. Around 33 per cent of those surveyed still communicate with their friends and relatives who are residing in Arab countries, while 28 per cent have already visited the Arab region.

The second part of the discussions showcased the past and present solidarity efforts made to build harmonious coexistence between Brazilians and Arabs. It was during this session that the immigration phenomenon was addressed from other perspectives such as the solidarity that has brought together Arabs and Brazilians during this COVID-19 pandemic. Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce launched a solidarity campaign to unite efforts addressing the problems ushered in by the global novel coronavirus crisis. This time, the campaign aims to fight hunger that continues to stalk many families and has worsened during the pandemic.

The last section of the discussions tackled the life story and influence in society of Arab-descendant and non-Arab descendant Brazilians. During this part, non-Arab descendant people, through their personal and professional testimonies, shared how Arab immigrants and countries have transformed and inspired their lives. 

Rubens Hannun, President, Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, said: “Attracting more than 3,000 views, the webinar aimed to highlight the beauty in unity and integration regardless of our origins and diverse backgrounds. In this difficult time, we must work harmoniously together to create a better future for all.” 

“Furthermore, through the online event, we showed that Brazilians of Arab descent, despite their modern upbringing, are still very much connected with and interested in the traditional Arab way of life and culture. This has a positive impact on the growing alliance between Brazil and the Arab region on all fronts. We aim to further strengthen their ties by looking for new and innovative ways for all parties to meaningfully engage, build bridges and collaborate and network,” he added. 

The latest webinar forms part of a series of special meetings being organized to bring together Arabs and Brazilians and build and provide more positive, synergistic avenues for discussions that can lead to strong partnerships and joint efforts in enhancing their relations.