As the keynote speaker, Clinton Saturday night addressed the annual convention of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in Washington.
"I hope you will tell everybody that your vision of America is one where you are deeply proud of who you are. And teach your children their ethnic heritage, their religious heritage, their cultural heritage, with no negative reference to anyone else.
"Because it's the only shot we've got to make the most of our interdependent world," Clinton told attendees at the event called "From the Grassroots to the Nation's Capital: Change for Our Future."
Clinton's presence was a "stamp of legitimacy" for the 29-year-old Arab American organization, spokesman Yousef Munayyer told The Detroit News.
"To have someone who is part of the political elite at our convention is a high honor," Munayyer said.
Democratic U.S. Rep. John Dingell and White House press corps dean Helen Thomas, both from Michigan, were honored at Saturday's dinner with lifetime achievement awards.