BTMENA seeks to foster connections and friendships among Barnes & Thornburg’s Middle East and North African (MENA) teammates and allies. The group also strives to cultivate an awareness of the legal challenges facing MENA communities nationwide.
Nearly 4 million American trace their roots to a Middle Eastern or North African country, with two-thirds of them living in just 10 states. Currently, MENA is not an ethnicity category listed on the United States census, leading to underreported numbers for the group. BTMENA is working to bridge that gap, providing a community of support for individuals at the firm who identify as MENA.
“Not many law firms, companies, or other institutions have MENA affinity or talent resource groups,” said Michael C. Zogby, co-chair of BTMENA. “We are ahead of our peers, leading the way with thought leadership and setting a course for our colleagues, teammates, and friends.”
“We might be the most diverse affinity group,” said Alice Kyureghian, co-chair of BTMENA. “The Middle East covers a multitude of countries and religions with their own unique traditions.”
This group showcases that, though MENA teammates have many differences, there is always a common thread. The importance of family, food, and community runs deep, as demonstrated by BTMENA sharing traditional Arab American recipes in honor of National Arab American Heritage Month in April. The group is hosting regular meetings, and has been coordinating presentations by members of the judiciary, academia, thought leaders, and clients who share their heritage and a dedicated interest in promoting shared values.