Posted by Arab American Institute on April 12, 2017 in Blog

Kamal_Boullata.jpegJoin us at this year’s Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards, as we honor and celebrate the work of the remarkable Palestinian artist, Kamal Boullata. We are especially proud to have Kamal with us because we know that 2017 marks 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, an agreement by foreign powers that resulted in the eventual dispossession of indigenous Palestinians. It is also the 70th anniversary of the partition of Palestine. And in just a few short months, it will be 50 years since the 1967 war which led to the occupation that we struggle against today. Because of this tragic timeline, a century of injustice, Palestinians have become the largest refugee population in the world bearing new generations that have never seen or touched their homeland. 

But, Palestinians, and those of us who support their search for justice, haven’t lost hope. And that is due in large part to the triumph of Palestinian culture. Through art, literature, music and food, all the things that make up the essence of life and bind humans together, we see something besides tragedy. We see triumph. For Palestinians, art is a source of optimism, courage and steadfastness. It’s a statement of determination, human endurance and celebration of the human spirit. 

Kamal Boullata is one of the great artists breathing life into this ideal. Since his earliest days as a child exploring the miraculous beauty of the Dome of the Rock, Boullata uses his talent to make connections, explore Palestinian identity and examine the relationship between light and dark. His contributions to art, the bettering of human understanding through culture and his continual probing of the Palestinian search for justice deserve our appreciation and praise. So, in 2017, the Arab American Institute Foundation will honor Kamal Boullata with a Special Recognition Award for his lifetime of dedication to the spirit of humanity.

We invite you to join us for this very special evening where we will honor our community’s values by celebrating those who give of themselves. If you are not familiar with Boullata, please enjoy his biography linked here and this column by AAIF President James Zogby which explores the significance of his work.

We hope to see you on April 27 for what will be an extraordinary evening during a challenging time. Please use this link to reserve your tickets. We also have a special room rate at the Grand Hyatt Hotel for $279/night. You may call the Grand Hyatt to book your hotel room at 1-888-421-1442 or you may book a room on their website using this link. The deadline to book a room at the Grand Hyatt has been extended to April 14th