A Day at West Point: Forging Alliances, Connecting Cultures


Colonel (Ret.) Abbas Dahouk


Paige Peterson

The United States Military Academy at West Point stands among the foremost institutions globally for cultivating leaders. Those within the esteemed Long Gray Line uphold the ethos of “Duty, Honor, Country,” leading in various spheres, whether in uniform or beyond. Beyond rigorous academic and physical challenges, West Point instills essential military proficiencies crucial for success in today’s intricate landscape of war and peace, fostering a commitment to excellence and national service among cadets as future Army officers.

Colonel (Ret.) Abbas Dahouk and I serve on the Board of Directors of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations. We joined fellow members from the National Council – Board Chairman John Pratt and Executive Vice President & Director of Development Patrick Mancino – for a recent visit.

We first explored the Malek Visitors Center, an essential stop when entering the Military Academy at West Point. The center features seven exhibit areas, including two movie theaters, and 20 exhibitions. A nine-minute film, West Point – The National Treasure, plays every 20 minutes.

“The Long Gray Line,” in its simplest definition, encompasses all graduates and cadets of the military academy. The phrase signifies the unique bonds connecting every graduate to those who came before and those who will follow. It symbolizes the demanding four-year journey experienced by all cadets, a period of instruction steeped in tradition and largely unchanged since its inception. The term evokes the image of the gray cadet uniforms worn by generations of young individuals, enduring the discomfort of itchy wool fabric and stiff collars—a tradition integral to West Point’s pageantry. This shared tradition is reflected in the resilience of outstanding American leaders, including two U.S. presidents, numerous generals, industry leaders, and over 80 thousand graduates who have led our Army’s soldiers as young officers.

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Carolinas Committee on U.S.-Arab Relations Spring 2024 “NEWSLINES”

Cover of the Spring 2024 NEWSLINES newsletterThe Carolinas Committee on U.S.-Arab Relations (CCUSAR), with Dr. Joe P. Dunn serving as Director, is an initiative of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations. Dr. Dunn is an alumnus of the Council’s Malone Fellowship in Arab and Islamic Studies Program, the coordinator of the Southeast Model Arab League conference, and the faculty advisor heading the Converse College Youth Leadership Development / Model Arab League program.

CCUSAR recently published its Spring 2024 “NEWSLINES” newsletter, available for download through the link below.

The issue features:

  • Powerful illustrations and testimonials from participants in the National Council’s Youth Leadership Development Program / Model Arab League, sharing how the program impacted them; along with
  • Highlights from the 2024 National University and Southeast Regional Youth Leadership Development Program / Model Arab League conferences; and also
  • A story about interfaith dialogue in Spartanburg, South Carolina; together with
  • A book review of Palestine 1936: The Great Revolt and the Roots of the Middle East Conflict by Oren Kessler.


Dr. Fadi Hilani: Bridging Cultures Through Academia and Analysis

In the world of academia and foreign policy analysis, Dr. Fadi Hilani stands as a bridge between cultures, bringing together his expertise in linguistics, Middle East policy, and U.S. relations with the Arab countries. Appointed in 2023 as the Senior Academic and Research Fellow-in-Residence at the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, Dr. Hilani continues to delve into critical issues shaping the Arab Gulf region, including most recently an analysis of the growth of esports in Saudi Arabia, and rethinking strategies of defense, security, and economics.

man in a dark suit smiling in front of a navy blue backdrop

Dr. Fadi Hilani

Dr. Hilani’s diverse background in academia sets a strong foundation for his current role. Before joining the National Council, he served as a professor of linguistics at institutions such as Aleppo University in Syria, Isra University in Jordan, and Montclair State University in New Jersey, U.S.A. His journey also includes mentoring students across different countries, offering guidance on thesis writing, and other academic pursuits.

Throughout his career, Dr. Hilani’s scholarly contributions have extended beyond the classroom. He has lent his expertise as a peer reviewer for academic journals, including Research on Language and Social Interaction and Multilingua: Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication. His research interests have centered on Arabic conversation analysis, shedding light on the nuances of communication within the Arab world.

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Summer 2024 Washington, DC Internship Program

Washington, DC Summer Internship Program

June 3 – July 26, 2024

NCUSAR Washington, DC Summer Internship Program Students

The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations’ 2024 Washington, DC Summer Internship Program offers undergraduate and graduate students an eight-week professional, academic, and career opportunity internship with an organization in the nation’s capital. The program features a demanding mix of professional involvement, intellectual challenge, career exploration, and cross-cultural encounters designed to provide students with a rich and varied experience.

  • Professional work experience: Students are placed with one of over a dozen Near East and Arab region-related organizations with offices in Washington, D.C., where they are expected to work 35-40 hours per week under the direct supervision of their host organizations. Internships are unpaid.
  • Academic seminars: Students take part in twice-weekly seminar sessions designed to provide them with greater depth of knowledge about the Arab region, to underscore the cultural, economic, and political diversity of Arab states, and to explore the intricacies of Arab-U.S. relations. There will be a particular emphasis, though not exclusively, on Arabia and the Gulf.
  • Site visits: Students receive a behind-the-scenes look at many of the central institutions of the federal government, national security policymaking, international diplomacy, and international business.

NCUSAR Washington, DC Summer Internship Program

About the Program

The National Council’s Summer Internship Program offers professional work experiences combined with twice-weekly evening seminars that bring academic specialists and experienced foreign policy practitioners to meet with students in candid off-the-record discussions and dynamic question-and-answer sessions. Its objectives are:

  1. to provide a realistic work experience in a Washington, D.C.-based office that will provide pathways for career development;
  2. to offer interns exposure to the foreign policy analysis and advocacy processes in the nation’s capital;
  3. to incorporate a strong academic component focusing on U.S. political, economic, and cultural relations with Arabia and the Gulf region;
  4. to help participants begin the process of career networking by introducing them to working professionals in government, business, journalism, and NGOs; and,
  5. to highlight the wide range of career opportunities awaiting those who aspire to work in the field of U.S.-Arab relations, as well as to provide counseling on graduate school and fellowship application processes.

As complements to the program, interns will also be exposed to Washington, D.C., in a less formal manner via films, cultural events, embassy and museum visits, off-the-record conversations with former diplomats, group dinners, and suggestions for exploring the sights and sounds of the nation’s capital. This allows students to not only experience working in the city but also encourages them to appreciate the experience of living in a diverse urban environment, and to take advantage of the exciting cultural, educational, and recreational opportunities available in D.C.
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[Preview] Geopolitical Crossroads in Yemen: Unraveling Yemen’s Future Amidst Trade Routes and Conflict – December 14, 2023

The Washington Center for Yemeni Studies and the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations invite you to:

Geopolitical Crossroads in Yemen: Unraveling Yemen’s Future Amidst Trade Routes and Conflict

Tune in for a thought-provoking exploration of the India-Middle East-EU trade route and its potential impact on Yemen’s economy. Against the backdrop of the Israel-Hamas conflict and maritime threats in the Red Sea, specialists will delve into the regional competition over the Bab al-Mandab Strait, and the prospects for lasting peace and sustainable development.


  • Sami Hamdi, Managing Director and Head of Political Risk of the International Interest.
  • Colonel (Ret.) Abbas K. Dahouk, Member of the Board of Directors of the National Council on U.S. Arab Relations, Founder and President of HyphenPoint LLC.


  • Marwa J Ghumrawi, Operations and Communications Manager of the Washington Center for Yemeni Studies.


🔍 Key Focus

  • Implications for Yemen’s Economy
  • Geopolitical Challenges Unveiled
  • Prospects for Lasting Peace and Sustainable Development


🗓️ Date & Time:

December 14, 2023, 2:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


🌐 Virtual Venue:

Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 929 434 7323

Keynote Remarks by HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal Al Saud [40th Anniversary Gala]

On November 16, 2023, the National Council held a special evening celebration of the 40th anniversary of its establishment as a Washington-based, non-profit, educational NGO. The program featured keynote remarks by HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal Al Saud.

National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Presents ‘Public Service Achievement Award’ to H.E. Mohamed M. Abou El Enein

On the occasion of its 40th Anniversary Gala Celebration, the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations presented its PUBLIC SERVICE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD to H.E. Mohamed M. Abou El Enein, Deputy Speaker of the Egyptian Parliament and Chairman of Cleopatra Group.

The Safer Oil Tanker: Diplomacy Averts Disaster

This is the story of a $20 billion disaster that did not happen.

Last month, while the United Nations General Assembly was meeting in New York City, I attended some programming on the summit’s sidelines together with my colleagues from the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations. Among them were meetings to learn more about the ongoing conflict and crisis in Yemen. While the situation in Yemen remains dire after 8 years of war, there is a recent bright spot for proactive international efforts: the successful operation to offload oil from the decaying Safer storage tanker. This enormous undertaking has prevented what could have been a colossal environmental disaster that exacerbated the situation in Yemen, and wreaked environmental, economic, and humanitarian havoc in the Middle East region.

Located on the southwestern end of the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen is beloved by those familiar with its varied landscapes and its warm, smart, kind, and generous people.  It is bordered by the Red Sea to its west and the Gulf of Aden to its south.  The Romans called it Arabia Felix—Fortunate (and Fertile) Arabia.  In the United States, one is most likely to find Yemen identified with the Queen of Sheba (also known as Bilqīs or Makeda, she is one of the few female figures who appears in sacred texts of all three Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), coffee (Yemenis are believed to be among the first to popularize the beverage), and the port of Aden (one of the most famous hubs in the world, connecting maritime traffic between Africa, Asia, and the Middle East).

Map of Yemen, 2012.

The past decade has seen Yemen embroiled in its fourth civil war in the post-World War II period. Its proximate cause was the response of the Zaidi Shiite-Houthis to the outcome of an all-inclusive National Dialogue Conference, which concluded in 2014. Displeased with the outcome of that political process, the Houthis’ militias, with resources and support from Iran’s government, seized Yemen’s capital of Sana’a in 2015.  That subversion of law and order in Yemen touched off a conflict that has resulted in what has been described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

One of the poorest countries in the Arab region even before the most recent stretch of violence, Yemen has been placed in a very precarious situation. Eight years of conflict, compounded by economic collapse, natural disasters, and the COVID-19 pandemic, have taken a toll on Yemenis’ ability to live with the dignity and meaning that all people deserve. The UN reported several months ago that this year “a staggering 21.6 million Yemenis require some form of humanitarian assistance as 80% of the country struggles to put food on the table and access basic services.”

Relief map of Yemen, 2002.

The National Council has a long history of engagement with Yemen through its founding President & CEO Dr. John Duke Anthony. Appreciating the richness of its cultural heritage, its natural beauty, the incisive and joyful qualities of the Yemeni people, and its long history, the Council has taken twenty delegations of American educators to the country, enabled hundreds of U.S. students to live and study Arabic in Sana’a, and sponsored educational programs about Yemen in Washington, D.C. Most recently, the Council partnered with a Yemen-based non-profit foundation dedicated to enhancing youth capabilities toward promoting peace – the Adalah (meaning “Justice” in Arabic) Foundation For Legal Development – to bring the Council’s Youth Leadership Development Model Arab League Program to Mukalla, Hadhramout.

Individuals stand together after signing an agreement

A cooperation agreement between the National Council and Yemen’s Adalah Foundation was executed last year. The two non-profit groups collaborated to bring the National Council’s Youth Leadership Development Program / Model Arab League to Yemen. The program involves an experiential learning exercise where students have the opportunity to practice representing the needs and interests of someone other than themselves during the course of simulating a diplomatic summit.

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