Arab Culture Association

Salah Mohsen and Iyad Barghouti

Salah Mohsen from Adalah (L) sitting with Iyad Barghouti, director of the Arab Culture Association (Haifa, 2015)

The Arab Culture Association (ACA) in Haifa is an independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1998 to promote Arab culture and identity for Palestinians living in Israel. The association is committed to the development of a Palestinian Arab society that is proud of its language, identity, and cultural heritage; that is culturally and academically independent; and that is creative, productive, socially responsible, and based on humanitarian and pluralistic values.

In line with this vision, goals of the ACA include developing an accessible Arab cultural identity; providing a space for artistic and literary production and skill development; empowering youth through education in Palestinian history, culture, and identity; creating a professional Arabic language training center; and strengthening communication between Palestinians in historical Palestine and the diaspora.

A major project that the Arab Culture Association is currently (mid-2015) working on is the creation of an Arab Cultural Center in Haifa. The center will be devoted to promoting expertise in the arts, literature, and critical thinking, as well as encouraging cultural production. When completed, the center will house a performance hall; an arts library and cultural archive; a gallery, training and professional centers; a cultural café; an arts marketplace; and studios.

One focus of LAP’s 2015 discussion with ACA director Iyad Barghouti was the activity of the association in combatting the erasure of Palestinian history and the propagation of Arabic language errors in Israeli textbooks. (A 2011 report by the Arab Culture Association found more than 16,000 mistakes in the Arabic textbooks provided to students in the third to ninth grades.)

For more information on the Arab Culture Association, see the association’s website and its Facebook page.