Iran, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Cross-border

Can You Guess What These Famous Celebrities Have in Common?

Human beings have been on the move ever since our species first left the continent of Africa some 60,000 years ago. It is in our nature to migrate in search of better living conditions and opportunities. People from the Middle East are no exception and as such have been leaving their homelands over the past century and a half in order to purse trade, education and new possibilities abroad. Middle Easterners and their descendants are now firmly established in thriving communities across the globe.

Latin America is home to the largest and most successful Arab diaspora in the world. Over the past 60 years, Latin Americans of Arab descent have wielded great economic and political power, and included in their ranks are 8 former heads of state. Carlos Slim, one of the richest men in the world, is Mexican of Lebanese descent. In North America, Arabs from the Levant have been immigrating to the United States since the 1880s and Arab-Americans are now firmly present in all sectors of American society.

The Iranian community in the United States now tops one million and is one of the most highly educated minority populations in the country. Iranians in the United States and across the world are well assimilated and hold a number of top posts in the fields of science, medicine, academia and business.

Check out our slideshow above to discover the Middle Eastern roots of some famous members of the Arab, Iranian and Turkish diasporas! Do you know of any others we forgot to mention? 

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Shirin Wertime

Shirin Wertime graduated from the College of William & Mary in the US with a degree in Government and French & Francophone Studies. As a 2010 Boren Critical Languages Scholar she spent one year studying Arabic in Syria and Morocco. Her study of languages and passion for travel have taken her to over 20 countries. Shirin is particularly interested in the Middle East and North Africa given her Iranian-American background and time spent living and studying in the Arab world. She hopes to pursue an internationally focused career in the realm of development and/or sustainability. ​

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