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Center for Arab Narratives

The Center for Arab Narratives (CAN) is a program of ACCESS, the largest Arab American community non-profit in the country. CAN facilitates interdisciplinary and community-informed research to improve the well-being of Arab communities.

CAN launched in the spring of 2021 and builds on ACCESS’s 50 years of service to the community.

The goals of CAN are to:

  • bridge perspectives from humanities and public health and show their interrelatedness
  • make research relevant beyond academic walls
  • promote and practice community-driven research
  • build, convene, and maintain interdisciplinary research networks
  • pursue high quality, accurate, and representative data on Arab and MENA populations
  • offer research-based, informed perspectives on the Arab American experience to media, policy makers, community groups, and other audiences.


In 2019 ACCESS published a data-based portrait of the Arab American community by disaggregating Arab Americans from the White racial category in the U.S. Census. The report shows why Arabs and other MENA communities should have their own racial/ethnic category.

On February 3, 2021, the Center for Arab Narratives’ research affiliates co-signed a letter demanding that the Federal government revise their policy that classifies the MENA community as a member of the White population. The Biden administration has the executive authority to make this change, and if they did so they would ensure that the Federal government recognizes the lived experience of the MENA community and better meets their needs.

CAN facilitates research, in part, by helping to recruit research participants for a range of studies. View current studies.

CAN Twitter: @ArabNarratives

CAN Instagram: @ArabNarratives

Researchers interested in working with CAN should email