Osama Siblani

Born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1955, Osama Siblani came to the United States in 1976 to pursue his education. He completed bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at the University of Detroit three years later and assumed the position of Vice President at Energy International, Inc., an import-export firm dealing with the Middle East. Seeing a lack of Arab and Arab-American perspectives in mainstream media, he founded The Arab American News in 1984. The goal of his newspaper is to be a media outlet for Arabs in America, as well as a medium to communicate an Arabic point-of-view to Americans. “We are a diverse community ourselves…from different nations, of different religions, with different dialects,” says Siblani. “And when we started, our community was not known to the mainstream.” Siblani has carved his niche in the media world, and is asked to weigh in on issues concerning Arab nations and Arabs in America by the mainstream media. He’s traveled the country and the world, but is happy in Detroit. “Leaving the Detroit area has never crossed my mind,” he says. “There is a large Arabic community, and people in Michigan are friendlier than any other place in the United States, maybe in the world.” Cost of living and diversity also make his “pro-Detroit” list. “You can buy a home here for the fraction of the price, and it’s a multi-cultural society.” Siblani believes that more immigrants and more small businesses can strengthen the Detroit region’s competitive edge by opening the area up to a world market. “In order to compete in this world, you need to understand the world in which you are competing,” he says. “This is no longer a closed society, the world is shrinking so, in order to compete, we need to bring the world to us rather than exporting jobs.” To nurture an environment that is friendly to immigrants, Siblani urges tolerance and understanding. “We need to our protect country, but also be more respectful when people come from different cultures,” he says. “We need to create an environment where immigrants can come here and protect their investment….where people can come here and feel comfortable, and people like me will come here, study and stay — and create something very successful.”

If You Like This Post, Please Share It!

Comments are closed.