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After 1967 he wanted to be a part of a progressive organization and did join the AAUG. Within a few years, he also helped to found the conservative and Arab Gulf-oriented National Association of Arab-Americans, something that angered his progressive Mends.
First, I highlight the factors that gave rise to and shaped the AAUG. Then, I address both the internal and external factors that constrained the organization and limited its capacity to meet the challenges of the day, thereby rendering it impotent.
The AAUG was premised on the assumption that Arabs in North America were voiceless and lacked a forum, while the Zionists seemed to enjoy a near monopoly of the popular and scholarly literature on the Middle East.
In the case of the AAUG, it was the late Ibrahim Abu-Lughod, a Palestinian from Jaffa.
This, then, was the rationale for both the creation of and then the programmatic work of AAUG. There was, however, the undefined and unspoken need of those who felt a sense of abject failure by the post-colonial societies to protect the independence of the Arab world and to advance a common Arab interest.
The AAUG would serve as a bank of knowledge and talent, a think tank, to work on various assignments and projects all aimed at producing and disseminating accurate and reliable information about all facets of Arab society, economy and polity.
As a non-Arab I was originally not eligible for full voting membership, but joined AAUG as an associate, non-voting member.
For the following two or more decades the AAUG was the premier Arab American organization for the dissemination and publication of information on the Arab world.
In the early 1970s, AAUG held its convention in Boston at one of its hotels.
Subsequently, the Association of Arab-American University Graduates (AAUG) was founded in Chicago in October 1967.
It is worth noting that, because of the accidental nature of the Ann Arbor meeting, only five of the 14 participants ended up being actively involved in the AAUG. Some were obviously not interested.
In fact, this unique combination of first rate scholars and politically committed activists is precisely what made AAUG so special.
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