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Business School Professor Begins Study of Arab Americans

7/28/2003 --

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---University of Michigan Business School Professor Wayne Baker¿s landmark study of 1,000 Arab Americans and Chaldeans in the Detroit area is now under way.

Baker, principal investigator of the study with University of Michigan Dearborn Center for Arab American Studies researcher Ronald Stockton, is conducting the study for the University¿s Institute for Social Research (ISR), the world¿s largest academic survey and research organization.

"The aftermath of Sept. 11 brought new urgency to issues of national identity, multiculturalism and trust," said Baker, professor of organizational behavior and human resource management at the Michigan Business School and professor of sociology. ¿Arab Americans have confronted increased discrimination and suspicion as they re-examine their national, religious and ethnic commitments, and their trust in U.S. institutions.

¿This impartial survey will provide an accurate picture of the Arab American and Chaldean community. It will correct the enormous amount of misinformation that exists about the community and counter destructive stereotypes.¿

The survey includes questions on life, work, family, values, relationships, community participation and well-being, in addition to experiences since Sept. 11.

By sampling 1,000 Arab Americans and Chaldeans in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, plus 500 non-Arabs residing in the same area, the researchers hope to document the similarities and differences in attitudes, behavior and opinions among various Arab American groups and between these groups and other Americans.

Face-to-face interviews with randomly selected residents are scheduled to continue throughout the summer and early fall. Baker and the rest of the ISR survey research team have hired Arabic-speaking interviewers from the community to conduct the survey and hope to release preliminary findings late this year.

Currently estimated at 100,000 to 300,000 persons, the tri-county Detroit Arab American and Chaldean community is one of the largest, most concentrated and best-known Arab expatriate populations in the world.

According to Baker and Stockton, it is also one of the most diverse, in religion as well as national origin, with Lebanese, Palestinians, Yemenis and Iraqis living alongside Syrians, Jordanians, Egyptians, Moroccans, and people from other Middle Eastern and North African countries.

Major funding for the survey comes from the Russell Sage Foundation, along with seed money provided by the University. Community leaders from more than 20 secular and religious organizations are serving as an advisory panel.

Co-principal investigators of the study include Michigan researchers Sally Howell, Ann Chih Lin, Andrew Shryock and Mark Tessler and Princeton University researcher Amaney Jamal.

For more information about the study, see http://www.isr.umich.edu/news/arab-amer/index.html



For more information, contact:
Bernie DeGroat
Phone: 734.936.1015 or 734.647.1847
E-mail: bernied@umich.edu