A partnership between VII and Rutgers University

The Newest Americans is a three-year longitudinal study at Rutgers University–Newark that will document the lives and communities of students at the university. It is a collaborative effort involving VII, Rutger’s Center for Migration and the Global City (CMGC) and the Department of Arts, Culture and Media. See the first issue online here.

The project, spearheaded by Tim Raphael, director of CMGC, focuses on immigrant experiences in New Jersey with Newark as the hub where these different stories converge. “We’re starting off this year with five stories that we’re going to follow. And the idea is that by focusing on our students and letting them take us into their communities and tell the stories of those communities, we’re able to take advantage of the fact that we are the most diverse campus in the United States with access to stories that you can’t find anywhere else,” he states.

One such story follows Mohamed Alsiadi, an American studies doctoral candidate and Arabic instructor at RU-N, who was born and raised in Aleppo, Syria. Alsiadi is a musician who plays Waslah music, an art form that not only preserves the cultural identity of Syrians, but also unifies Syrian Muslims, Jews, and Christians, who recognize Aleppian Waslah as an important part of their traditions.

See the National Geographic feature here »