Southwest Asian and North African (SWANA) is a decolonized term that centers on geography rather than a history of European colonialism and imperialism.
The University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Diversity Advisory Council and Intercultural Center are acknowledging and celebrating the contributions of Southwest Asian and North African (SWANA) students, faculty, and staff at UMB as well as across the country and around the globe this month.
In previous years, “Arab” and “Middle Eastern” and “North African” were terms used to celebrate people from countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and many others. In addition, UMB formerly celebrated Arab Heritage Month in April.
DAC and the Intercultural Center will be moving forward with SWANA because it is a decolonized term that centers on geography rather than a history of European colonialism and imperialism. It also is more inclusive of the various ethnic groups, languages, religions, and cultures of this region.
On April 22 at 1:30 p.m., the Intercultural Center will host a “SWANA Identity at UMB Panel” that will discuss the issue of SWANA not being recognized as a racial and/or ethnic identity by the U.S. Census.
Attendees of the virtual event will have the opportunity to learn and connect with a panel of SWANA students, staff, and faculty as they reflect on their SWANA identity and share their lived experiences at UMB and more broadly in the United States.