Posted by Rawan Elbaba on March 23, 2018 in Blog


This year marks 20 years since the first ever Kahlil Gibran Gala. To commemorate our gala's anniversary, we wanted to share a few of our favorite moments from the #GibranGala over the last 20 years.


1999 - AAI staff enjoy the first ever Gibran Gala at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.

The Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity awards were named after the great poet who hailed from Lebanon to honor those who exemplify the best of humanity and show us our better selves.


2000 - President Bill Clinton has been the only sitting U.S. president to address guests at our Kahlil Gibran Gala.

"I came here primarily because I thought it might perhaps be the last chance I would have to thank the Arab American community for the contributions that you have made to the progress of America and to the strength and diversity of our administration over these last seven and a half years." 


2001 - Musician Sting accepted the Award for Individual Achievement for his work to protect the environment, promote the human rights of indigenous peoples and encourage cultural exchange through music.

On his song Desert Rose, "Although it didn't help the peace process it nonetheless made a difference."



2004 - Legendary boxer Muhammad Ali accepted the Award for Individual Achievement.

"He loves people regardless of where they are, who they are and where they come from, what religion they practice, what political persuasion. He lives by example." -Yolanda Ali on behalf of Muhammad Ali


2006 - Zainab Salbi, founder of Women for Women International, accepted the Award for International Commitment on behalf of the organization. 

"We cannot have a complete discussion of war and peace when we don't have women's perspective, there is no way we can have strong nations without having strong women."


2013 - CNN's Christiane Amanpour accepted the inaugural Anthony Shadid Award for Excellence in Journalism.

"To receive the first award in Anthony Shadid's name is of profound joy for me and a great, great honor. He was an American reporter, but he was a global citizen. He was really proud of his Arab heritage. He was able to give a voice to those who didn't have one and to make people who lived in the shadows no longer be invisible."


2014 - Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell accepts the Najeeb Halaby Award for Public Service.

"My parents knew little of history or of political science, but they understood the meaning of America. They conveyed their values to their children not by words, but by example. Wherever we’re from, we’re fortunate to be Americans. Citizens of what is, despite its many imperfections, still the most free, the most open, the most just society in all of human history."


2015 - Actress Salma Hayek addressed the crowd while accepting the Award for Individual Achievement.

"Tonight is a magical night. My grandfather died on the 29th of April and today, on the 29th of April, I receive the Kahlil Gibran Award for my humanitarian work. It is an honor for my name to be listed along with these extraordinary individuals that have made astonishing contributions to this country and to the world in spite of adversity."


2017 - Chobani Founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya reflects on his work supporting refugees around the world.

"Today, when we look at the world, who needs to be welcomed the most? Who needs the most shelter, hot soup, hope--especially hope? The more than 65 million refugees around the world."

We are proud to present AAIF's twentieth annual Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards on Thursday, April 26, 2018 at the J.W. Marriott in Washington, DC. This year’s recipients – The Honorable Marcelle M. Wahba, The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), The Honorable Frances Black, and José Andrés and World Central Kitchen– join a growing list of distinguished organizations, institutions, corporations, and individuals whose work, commitment, and support make a difference in promoting coexistence and inclusion in all walks of life. Read more about this year's awardees here.

The J.W. Marriott is offering AAIF guests a discounted room rate of $279 per night on April 25 and 26. Reservations at this rate must be made by April 5 by calling the hotel at 1-800-393-2503 or visiting the Gibran Awards J.W. Marriott reservation page

Make sure to purchase your tickets here.