Posted by on April 28, 2015 in Blog

Arab Americans from across the country will gather in Washington, DC for the 17th annual Kahlil Gibran Awards Gala and our annual Arab American Leadership Days on Capitol Hill and at the White House on April 29th and 30th. The Gala is our annual celebration of the progress made by our community, and a chance to honor individuals whose work has promoted inclusion, cultural understanding and cooperation across ethnic, racial and religious lines.  This year, we are honoring award winning actress and humanitarian Salma Hayek Pinault, NYU President John Sexton, the Honorable Michael Baroody, and Pulitzer prize-winning author and journalist Lawrence Wright.

Arab American Leadership Day brings together public servants, professionals, activists and leaders from across the country including, California, Texas, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Ohio. After visiting with members of Congress and their staff on the Hill on April 29, our group of Arab American leaders will join the White House for a briefing on the following morning. The White House briefing is expected to focus on issues ranging from profiling, to civil rights and civil liberties, to matters involving US-Arab bilateral relations.

This year senior members of the Obama Administration, members of Congress, Ambassadors from the Arab Diplomatic corps, and coalition partners will join the nearly 700 expected guests at our Gala. National Security Advisor Ambassador Susan Rice will deliver a keynote address on the occasion of the Arab American Institute’s 30th Anniversary, and will be addressing some of the Middle East’s most pressing foreign policy concerns.

Once politically excluded, Arab Americans have overcome difficult barriers to win the right to fully participate in American political life. This year in particular, 30 years after our founding, we honor the tremendous progress that has been made towards the advancement of the Arab American community in American political life, celebrate how far our community has come, and look ahead to challenges we must still overcome.