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Our Story

What is afikra?

This is a question we get a lot. It is pronounced a’fikra (عفكرة or 3afikra) which means “on second thought” or "come to think of it" in colloquial Levantine Arabic. The name is appropriate given that our mission is to cultivate curiosity around Arab history and culture and create a global community committed to sharing intellectual thought on those topics.

In other words, afikra is all about collectively taking a moment to a spend a second to explore topics that we are curious about.

How did afikra start?

The idea of afikra started in 2014 when Mikey Muhanna was living in New York City. The idea of establishing a community for him and his friends to explore Arab history and culture began at a small rooftop event on a September evening in Brooklyn.

The desire to form this community was born out of Mikey's internal frustration that he engaged with the Arab world in two ways: either through cultural celebrations with family and friends (weddings, reunions, holidays, etc.) or through engaging in activism (attending rallies, watching documentaries, protesting, etc.).  He and his friends felt a need to create another way to engage with the region. 

The idea was to establish a space dedicated to actively learning and sharing research about the region's history and culture. The community had to be open and inviting - with the focus set on identifying our intellectual curiosities and encouraging each other to satisfy them through learning.  After the first event, more and more people began to attend, first from all over New York, and then they started to fly in from other parts of the world. It became clear that this need wasn't unique to a small group of friends and from there, afikra began to grow and start chapters all over the world.

Currently, afikra hosts regular events in their chapters in New York City, Washington DC, Montreal, London, Beirut, Dubai, Bahrain, & Amman.   

We have plans to grow new chapters in Toronto, Berlin, Saudi Arabia, Doha, Paris, Kuwait, Boston, Cairo, Tunis, & Los Angeles.



Will I have to present this time? No, don't worry! You can sign up to present at afikra one of the following months.

Are events free? Yes! They are free. If it's at someone's house, please bring a beverage and/or snacks to share.

Can anyone attend? All afikra events are open to all.  Our events usually reach max capacity quite quickly, so be sure to RSVP soon after we announce the event.

Can non-Arabs come? Of course! Everyone is welcome!!

What topics will people present on? Topics are always kept a secret!  So come to find out. In general, topics will vary widely. Some will be high brow, some low brow, some..erm..medium brow. They are based on a curiosity that the presenter had related to Arab history and culture. The presentations are about showcasing and sharing what they found after spending some time looking into their curiosity. Check out our Archive to learn more. 

What are you waiting for?


Our Values

Curiosity in the less-explored topics

Contribution over consumption.

Interest in Arab culture (over just being Arab)

Non-promotional (our agendas or ourselves)

Being kind


READ MORE of our story  - afikra in the press

We have been honored to be featured in local and international press. You can read more of our story here:
Executive Magazine - June 2017
Muftah Magazine - January 2018 Foreign Policy Magazine - April 2018 Arab News - December 2018


afikra is a NY State based LLC.
For more information please contact Mikey Muhanna

This website was designed by Leen Sadder