Posted on June 04, 2013 in Arab American Institute
The AAI Foundation is proud to showcase the rich heritage and tremendous diversity found in Arab and Arab American arts and culture. From co-sponsoring film festivals to hosting concerts, we work with communities and artists to improve Americans’ understanding and awareness of the varied music, literature, and arts found from Libya to Lebanon, from Mauritania to Morocco.
In recent years, we have showcased newer formats, including Arab American comedians, who have performed at our inaugural celebrations, been interviewed by Jim Zogby, and been honored at our Gibran Gala. We worked closely with the Kennedy Center on its nationally-acclaimed 2009 showcase “Arabesque.” The event featured films, an exhibit of bridal costumes, free concerts, culinary offerings, a jewelry showcase, and calligraphy exposition.
As part of our ongoing celebration of Arab American heritage, the AAI Foundation hosts the annual Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards. Roughly 600 attendees join us each year to honor individuals and organizations whose work exemplifies the spirit of the great Arab-American poet, Kahlil Gibran. Our honorees are recognized for Individual Achievement, Organizational Excellence, International Commitment, Public Service, and Excellence in Journalism, and their accomplishments inspire us to continue to strive for intellectual, creative, and moral excellence. The Gibran Gala has become a Washington institution, and the most prominent event for the Arab American community. It is an opportunity for our friends and supporters—members of Congress and the Administration, business leaders and entrepreneurs from the U.S. and the Arab world, luminaries from the media and arts, visionaries, and community activists—to celebrate the humanitarian spirit that unites and guides us.
The AAI Foundation also supports programs that educate Americans about the Arab and Muslim worlds and the Arab American experience. We are the nation’s leading resource for demographic information on our community, and serve as the Census Information Center for Arab Americans. In addition to compiling national statistics, AAIF offers demographic profiles of the 11 states with the highest concentration of Arab Americans.
Our publications are available online and in hard copy, and are used by schools, universities, and NGOs to enhance outreach and education on minority civic engagement, the immigrant experience, and Arab and Muslim cultures. Each year, AAIF updates our Roster of Arab Americans in Public Service, which provides a comprehensive list of Arab Americans in elected and appointed office, from the local through federal levels.. In 2012, we updated and re-issued Arab Americans: A Century of Civic and Cultural Achievement, and we are proud to continue to serve as the publisher for Casey Kasem’s landmark brochure: Arab Americans: Making a Difference.