DET 2024 Game Changers Arab American Heritage_Showcase-HARAJLI_2568x1444_v2

DETROIT -- As a child who had recently immigrated to the United States, Lina Hourani-Harajli remembers how difficult the transition to kindergarten was, having to acclimate to a foreign school system and culture.

She recalled watching her parents struggle to learn the English language, navigate a new country and even stepping in as her mom’s translator.

So in 2000, Hourani-Harajli joined the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) and began working her way up the organization.

“I still remember those feelings,” Hourani-Harajli said. “For me, why ACCESS is and why I am who I am is because so many of our staff and leadership were those clients. We are individuals who have felt the same exact way so when you call on us, it just comes so naturally. I want to make sure that the path we pave for our families is one that was better for us. This work is definitely very special and meaningful.”

Now the Chief Operating Officer of ACCESS, Hourani-Harajli is committed to helping those whose shoes she walked in not long ago.

DET Hourani-Harajli

With a staff of more than 500 people and the largest Arab American non-profit organization in the nation, ACCESS provides assistance to the local Arab American community while honoring its heritage and rich history.

“We’re really proud to be able to serve anyone who walks through our doors in a way that is truly the ACCESS way,” Hourani-Harajli said. “In an integrated, one-stop shop that can really help you navigate all of the different challenges that you might have in your life to help you become the best version of yourself.”

ACCESS operates out of 10 different locations based in four divisions of services. These departments include Youth and Academic Development and Leadership, Social Services Basic Needs, Workforce Development and Entrepreneurial Support and the Community Health and Research Center.

Hourani-Harajli is the first of four honorees to be recognized during Arab American Heritage Month as part of the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers Game Changers series, presented by Comerica Bank. The Game Changers series celebrates individuals who are actively working to make a difference in the community.


“As we celebrate Arab American Heritage Month across our organization, we're honored to recognize Lina Hourani-Harajli with the Game Changers distinction,” Ilitch Sports + Entertainment Director of Community Impact Kevin Brown said. “A leader for Arab American communities near and far, Lina's work through ACCESS and various other community, cultural and educational organizations is creating a lasting impact across Michigan.”

Hourani-Harajli said she looks forward to continue making a difference in the community and building upon ACCESS’s commitment to success.

“We’re really proud to have served millions of people over our 53 years,” Hourani-Harajli said. “We touched those lives and made them better, so any recognition is a recognition of that service and the local, regional and national impact that we’ve been able to make. We’re so proud that we could be a part of people’s success stories.”

To learn more about Hourani-Harajli and ACCESS, visit