Southwest Asian and North African (SWANA) is a pan-ethnic and transnational category that describes communities in the U.S. with ancestral descent, direct immigration, or temporary residential status from any of the following countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine (also known as Occupied Territories or West Bank and Gaza), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
SWANA Americans are currently legally classified as white for racial identification purposes. There are no national statistics of SWANA communities or students on campus other than statistics on international students from any of the above mentioned countries.
We seek to increase awareness within the George Mason community about the various cultures and histories of SWANA heritage people given the reductionist and essentialist narrative that the Middle East and North Africa are often connected with.
SWANA initiatives and student engagement aims to assist and partner with students, faculty and staff in promoting the diverse cultures, languages, written works and religions of the region. We strive to enhance the George Mason community in their collegiate experience by promoting diversity where it can be valued, appreciated, and celebrated through cross-cultural, trans-historical and inter-religious understanding.