Ileen Younan

v i s u a l i z i n g   i m m i g r a n t   P h o e n i x


Hello. My name is Ileen and I am an English BA major at the ASU West Campus. I am originally from Midland, TX. Having grown up in a small West Texas city, the move to Phoenix, AZ was a welcome change with all its diversity. As the daughter of two Assyrians, I am happy that there is a small community established in metropolitan Phoenix and think this is a good opportunity to highlight who these people are. I am thankful to be working on this project because I find it a wonderful way to not only share information with others but to learn along the way.

Assyrian Church Services

A Place to Share Assyrian Culture

Churches are the prime places to find Assyrians in Phoenix, and here Ileen takes us to St. George Parish of the Ancient Church of the East Arizona, where she and her family attend the Sunday service and share Assyrian culture. Assyrians are a Christian minority from the Middle East.  In Phoenix, Assyrians are from Iran or Iraq, with a minority from Syria or Turkey. Most came as refugees after the 2003 Iraq War, when they left for the sake of safety as their homelands were ravaged by bloody conflicts.


An Assyrian Wedding

We become part of the close-knit Assyrian community and attend a wedding of a young couple from Baghdad. Join in the Khigga line dance, shake a silky Yalikhtas handkerchief, and relish the sartorial splendor of traditional celebratory dress as we congratulate the happy couple on this milestone of their lives in the Assyrian diaspora.

An Assyrian Language Instructor Teaches Links to Homeland

Language links one generation to the next and ties immigrants' culture to their homeland. Ileen introduces us to Noelle from Iraq, who teaches Aramaic to children of migrants at  St. George Parish of the Ancient Church of the East Arizona, an Assyrian Church.

An Eye Across Immigrant Cultures

Eye-shaped amulets that protect against the evil eye can be found at Curiosidades Mexico Lindo, a small shop waiting to be discovered within Mercado de Los Cielos in Desert Sky Mall. Like the Mexican and other Latin American immigrants living in Maryvale, these amulets have been carried to many cultures along the global currents of empire and migration.