Posted by Arab American Institute on April 05, 2018 in Blog


 Arab American Institute Foundation

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Contact: / 202-429-9210

Arab Americans Celebrate Legacy of Kahlil Gibran with Spirit of Humanity Awards

20th Anniversary Gala Honors: the ACLU, Chef José Andrés & World Central Kitchen; Irish Senator Frances Black & Ambassador Marcel Wahba

Washington – On Thursday, April 26, the Arab American community will honor the legacy of author and poet Kahlil Gibran during the 20th Anniversary Spirit of Humanity Awards. Through the event, Arab Americans recognize individuals, corporations, organizations and communities whose work, commitment and support make a difference in promoting coexistence and inclusion in all walks of life. The awards are named for the author of The Prophet, whose message of human endurance and triumph was so evident in his life and work. The awards further symbolize Gibran’s pride in his Arab heritage, respect for the freedom he found in the United States and his universal love of humanity. 

Past gala participants and awardees include advocate and actress Salma Hayek Pinault, ALSAC – St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, former President of Poland Lech Walesa, former Sen. George Mitchell, Habitat for Humanity, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Reporters Without Borders, former professional boxer Muhammad Ali, journalist Christiane Amanpour, Amnesty International, Refugees International and recording star Sting among many others.

NBC News Reporter Vivian Salama will act as Master of Ceremonies for the 2018 Gala.

2018 Awardees:

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will receive the Kahlil Gibran Award for Institutional Excellence for its 98 years of exemplary service in defending and preserving the rights and liberties guaranteed to all in this country by our Constitution. ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero will accept the award on behalf of the ACLU.

Chef José Andrés will accept the Kahlil Gibran Award for International Commitment for his service, and that of his World Central Kitchen, to vulnerable communities across the globe, including their 2017 efforts to provide comfort and hope to millions of Puerto Ricans by serving more than three million meals in the weeks and months following Hurricane Maria. 

Irish Senator Frances Black will receive the Kahlil Gibran Individual Achievement Award for her tireless commitment to uplifting human rights, defending migrants, the homeless, and survivors of domestic violence. She is the founder of Recovery In a Safe Environment (RISE) Foundation a registered charity focused on helping families work through their loved one’s addictions in a constructive, future-oriented manner.  

Ambassador Marcelle Wahba will accept the Najeeb Halaby Award for Public Service during the 20th Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards for her 22-year career at the Department of State which embodied a commitment to living a life of service to her country and fellow citizens. During her tenure, she served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Foreign Affairs Advisor to the chief of staff of the U.S. Airforce, and the international affairs advisor and deputy at the National War College of the National Defense University. 


WHAT: 20th annual Kahlil Gibran “Spirit of Humanity” Awards gala

WHO: honorees include The ACLU, José Andrés and the World Central Kitchen, Irish Senator Frances Black, and Ambassador Marcelle M. Wahba

WHERE: J.W. Marriott Hotel, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 

WHEN: Thursday, April 26, 2018 Reception 5:30 PM | Gala dinner 6:30 PM

MEDIA CONTACT:; 202-429-9210

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About AAIF: The Arab American Institute Foundation’s goal is to encourage, recognize, and celebrate Arab American participation in American civic life, and to cultivate and mobilize a strong, educated, empowered Arab American community that can play a meaningful role in developing and improving U.S. policies. A not-for-profit affiliate of the Arab American Institute (AAI), the Foundation supports programs that promote greater awareness of Arab Americans in the United States, demographic research and international outreach. The AAIF serves as the primary national resource on the Arab American experience for the media, academia, government agencies and the private sector. Through its numerous outreach programs, the AAIF builds leadership skills among students and young professionals and informs the American public, government agencies and organizations about the contributions and concerns of Americans of Arab descent.