Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Blog

Today, after months of preparation, hundreds of Arab Americans and friends from all walks of life will come together to celebrate the astonishing accomplishments of a few who have worked to change the world around them. The Kahlil Gibran “Sprit of Humanity” Awards Gala, now in its fourteenth year, honors those whose work promotes inclusion, cooperation, and greater understanding among people of diverse backgrounds, both at home and abroad - a task particularly important for a community still grappling with the realities of a post-9/11 environment. "This year the gala could not have come at a more important time for our community," said Arab American Institute president James Zogby. "The Gala serves as a reminder for Arab Americans of how far we've come as a community and how far we have yet to go."

2012 awardees include the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), receiving the Award for Institutional Excellence for its tireless work to foster a society that respects all its members, regardless of their ethnic, religious, or political backgrounds; Ambassador Theodore H. Kattouf, former U.S. Ambassador to the UAE and Syria, receiving the Najeeb Halaby Award for Public Service for his thirty-plus years of distinguished foreign service. We will present the Arab Thought Foundation (ATF) with the Award for International Commitment in recognition of its efforts to promote Arab culture and solidarity while celebrating common humanitarian values. The Muslims Are Coming! Comedy Tour will receive Special Recognition for its use of comedy to break down cultural barriers and to promote understanding.

At today’s gala, the Foundation will pay special tribute to the memory of two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anthony Shadid, whose February passing was a tragic loss for the Arab American community, for journalism, and all those who followed and were inspired by his work. Anthony’s widow, New York Times journalist Nada Bakri, will join us in remembering her late husband’s dedication to his community, his country, and his craft.

This year’s recipients join a long list of distinguished past awardees including: Her Majesty Queen Noor al-Hussein, President of Poland Lech Walesa, Senator George Mitchell, Secretary Spencer Abraham, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend Sting, and boxer and activist Muhammad Ali.

For more information on AAI, please visit or call 202-429-9210.

About the Gibran Awards:
Launched in 1999 by the Arab American Institute (AAI) and AAIF, the leading organizations in the promotion of the policy and community interests of Arab Americans, the awards gala focuses attention on acts of leadership that promote the common good, and features prominent leaders from the diplomatic, business, philanthropic, and government sectors. The Kahlil Gibran "Spirit of Humanity" Awards are named for the renowned Arab American poet and author of The Prophet, whose message of human endurance and triumph was so evident in his life and work.



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