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ACCESS congratulates its 2013 “Arab American of the Year,” Diane Rehm, on National Humanities honor


July 24, 2014

DEARBORN, Mich.— ACCESS and the Arab American National Museum (AANM) are pleased to congratulate Diane Rehm, longtime radio personality and host of the award-winning The Diane Rehm Show on NPR for being named a 2013 National Humanities Medal award recipient by President Obama. The prestigious award is bestowed on U.S. citizens for outstanding achievements in history, cultural studies, filmmaking, cultural commentary and historic preservation.

Rehm is being honored for “illuminating the people and stories behind the headlines through probing interviews with pundits, poets, and presidents,” the National Endowment for the Humanities said in a press release.

In 2013, during its 42nd Annual Dinner, Rehm was named an “Arab American of the Year” by ACCESS, and was honored for her extensive career in broadcast journalism. Throughout her 30 years on the air, Rehm has interviewed dozens of notable public figures, including then-Sen. Barack Obama, former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and Nobel Laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison. In 2000, she became the first radio talk show host to interview a sitting president (Clinton) in the Oval Office.

Each week, more than 2.4 million listeners across the country tune in to The Diane Rehm Show, which has grown from a local morning call-in show to one of public broadcasting’s most popular programs. The Diane Rehm Show was named to the Top 10 list of the most powerful programs in public radio for 2007 and 2008, based on its ability to draw listeners to public radio stations. It is the only live call-in talk show on the list.

“We are extremely proud of this most recent prestigious recognition of Diane Rehm,” states ACCESS Executive Director Hassan Jaber. “As a recipient of our 2013 ‘Arab American of the Year’ award, we are well aware of how important Ms. Rehm’s heritage is to her and her success. The Arab American community shares in this honor of one of its own.”

The daughter of Lebanese and Egyptian parents, Rehm began her radio career in 1973 as a volunteer producer for WAMU 88.5, the NPR member-station in Washington, D.C. She was hired as an assistant producer and later became the host and producer of two health-oriented programs. In 1979, she began hosting WAMU’s local morning talk show, Kaleidoscope, which was renamed The Diane Rehm Show in 1984.

The National Humanities Medal honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities, broadened citizens’ engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to important resources in the humanities. Previous medalists include Pulitzer Prize winners Philip Roth and Marilynne Robinson, Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison, essayist Joan Didion, and novelist John Updike. The medals ceremony will be live-streamed at 3 p.m. on Monday, July 28 at


Grounded in the Arab-American tradition of hospitality, ACCESS has a 43-year history of providing social, health, education and legal services in greater Detroit to empower people to lead healthy, informed and productive lives. Today, ACCESS extends that mission to a national platform through advocacy, arts, culture and philanthropy. Visit us online at