Evette Kassab


Evette’s parents left Iraq during the Iraq-Iran War soon after they married and lived in Greece as refugees for three years. They eventually resettled in Detroit, Michigan where they raised four children. Her father is from the village Alqosh and her mother is from the village Mangesh. She grew up hearing stories of life back home and thus has had an appreciation for her homeland and culture since childhood. Her parents would always say “Surath b betha, Engleezee baraye” (Surath at home, English outside the home) to ensure their children learned and embraced their native tongue. Not only is Evette proficient in Surath, but she can read and write in Surath as well. 

Volunteerism has played a major role in Evette’s life. She co-founded the non-profit, E’rootha, in 2008 to preserve the identity of the Chaldean Assyrian Syriac diaspora and to inspire a cultural awakening within the youth of Michigan. From dance classes, language classes, a mentoring program for refugees, and a sports camp to genocide awareness events and art shows, she has actively worked to develop these initiatives for the past decade.


Following the ISIS invasion in 2014, she-along with other like-minded individuals- established the Shlama Foundation to ensure the indigenous people of Iraq continue to thrive and prosper in their homeland.

In 2017, she married her husband Dani and went to Iraq for the first half of her honeymoon. She absolutely loved her visit and treasured every second of the experience. For her, it was a blessing to explore her past with her future and plans to travel back home as often as she can.

Surath is the way to Evette’s heart. She has taught the language for more than ten years and has worked on several language projects for people of all ages, including university students as well as seminarians. Evette is passionate about preserving her culture and getting others to do the same. She hosts “Surath Nights” to encourage her friends to get together and only speak Surath while playing the card game "concan". She also likes to have cooking nights, where she catches up with her friends while making traditional dishes and desserts together.

Evette enjoys traveling, spending time with her family, watching movies, jamming to Surath music and everything Detroit.