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My Work History
At age 51, Emira Habiby Browne - a Palestinian immigrant and social services professional - founded the first Arab-American social service agency in New York in 1993 to address the needs of the growing Arabic-speaking immigrant community. The Arab-American Family Support Center offered a child welfare preventive services program, a youth education and leadership program, legal/immigration services, adult literacy, English-as-a-Second Language, citizenship preparation classes, child and family health services, and a domestic violence program. After the 9/11 backlash, Habiby Browne became a leading advocate on behalf of the Arab-American and Muslim communities traumatized by discrimination, racial profiling, detentions, deportations and punitive immigration policies. But Habiby Browne recognized the need for a more proactive approach, one that would prevent the growing marginalization and isolation of newcomer populations. In 2006, she founded the Center for the Integration and Advancement of New Americans (CIANA), which utilizes a new model of immigrant integration services designed specifically for immigrants and refugees from the highly traditional and largely Muslim societies of the Middle East and its neighboring countries in Africa and South Asia. The agency provides culturally sensitive support and educational services upon entry into the country to help them gain economic independence and ensure their successful integration into the socioeconomic and civic life of the United States.