Posted on March 01, 2011 in Arab American Institute

Award for Institutional Excellence:

Vital Voices

Vital Voices is a NGO that identifies, trains, and empowers emerging women leaders and social entrepreneurs around the globe.


  • The Middle East and North African Businesswomen’s Network (in 11 Middle Eastern Countries) aims to increase the number of women in business and the value of their businesses, to advance the role of women in society, and to promote a regional culture of women's entrepreneurship
  • Partners annually with the U.S. State Department and FORTUNE Magazine to provide international emerging women leaders in business the opportunity to develop their leadership, management and business skills through the FORTUNE/State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership
  • Builds private-public partnerships to enhance social and economic progress in Jordan, Bahrain and the UAE that are sustainable, profitable and produce a positive impact on communities, especially for women
  • Works to focus attention on the women of Afghanistan, and the important role they can play in the reconstruction of their country via the Afghan Women’s Leadership Initiative
  • Founded Teen Vital Voices, the first teenage chapter of Vital Voices
  • Builds on a long history of working with women in Northern Ireland by bringing together Arab and Israeli Jewish women with other international peacebuilders to discuss the role they must play to overcome social division and promote peace and prosperity
  • Maintains and Africa Women’s Leadership initiative and Businesswomen’s Network and has similar programs in every region of the world

Special Recognition:

US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI)

For nearly 100 years the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) has fought for the needs and rights of immigrants worldwide by advancing fair and humane public policy, facilitating and providing direct professional services, and promoting the full participation of migrants in community life. USCRI has worked tirelessly to promote refugee resettlement, provide aid to refugee and immigrant children, and to end refugee warehousing.

USCRI advocates for refugees from every corner of the globe, including the Arab world. Since 2003 they have supported Iraqi refugees in the United States, Syria, and Jordan by petitioning the US government for additional funding, by dispatching volunteers to assist immigrants in acclimating to new communities, and by enrolling Iraqi immigrants in their National Programs. USCRI is active in most Middle Eastern countries, such as Kuwait, Lebanon, and Yemen.

From online campaigns, to enlisting the aide of celebrity spokespeople, and petitioning the American people for volunteer hours, the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants utilizes every possible outlet for the benefit of immigrants around the world. It is through their efforts that refugee children are reunited with relatives in the US, that immigrant families become integrated into their new communities, and that millions of refugees languishing in camps the world over have basic rights and humanitarian assistance.

Najeeb Halaby Award for Public Service: 

Governor Mitch Daniels

Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. was elected as the 49th Governor of the State of Indiana in 2004. Under the governor’s leadership, Indiana has seen improvements to the state’s infrastructure resulting from the $4 billion lease of the Indiana Toll Road. In 2005, he created the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, tasked with attracting new jobs to the state. The state is now near the top of every national ranking for business attractiveness. Governor Daniels has also spearheaded reforms to enhance the performance of government, including efforts to improve the state’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the departments of Child Services and Corrections.

Daniels had a successful career in business and government, holding numerous top management positions at the Hudson Institute and Eli Lilly. He has served as Chief of Staff to Senator Richard Lugar, Senior Advisor to President Ronald Reagan and Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush.

Daniels earned a bachelor's degree in public and international affairs from Princeton University in 1971 and his law degree from Georgetown University in 1979. He and his wife Cheri have four daughters: Meagan, Melissa, Meredith and Maggie. Governor Daniels is the grandchild of Syrian immigrants. He has been involved with AAI for the past 25 years, and has spoken at a number of events including the 2002 Gibran Awards Gala and our 2001 inauguration party.

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