Souk El Tayeb Founder Kamal Mouzawak to be Recognized for International Commitment at the Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards Gala
Posted by Tess Waggoner on February 24, 2020 in Blog
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The Arab American Institute Foundation is delighted to celebrate Kamal Mouzawak’s commitment, leadership, and love of community by presenting him with the Award for International Commitment at our 22nd annual Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards Gala, on Wednesday, April 15 in Washington, DC., at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.
In the fight for a holistic and sustainable future, Kamal Mouzawak finds himself on the front lines. Mouzawak has spent his life living the farm-to-table concept nurtured in Lebanon’s fertile soil and diverse cultures. He is using this way of life to bring people together, reinvigorate local economies, and help some of Lebanon’s people find futures they never dreamed possible.
Born in rural Lebanon amidst the civil war, Mouzawak developed a keen awareness of the natural world, and how the foods he ate made their way to the table. Mouzawak’s career began by sharing his knowledge with others through food and travel writing, teaching macrobiotic cooking, and hosting a healthy cooking television show. In 2004, he established Souk el Tayeb, the first weekly farmers market held in the rebuilt souk in downtown Beirut. In the time since, Mouzawak has spent his career revitalizing Lebanon’s local food scene, reintroducing residents to forgotten customs and traditions in the process.
Souk el Tayeb was founded with the vision of celebrating food and traditions that unite communities of small-scale farmers while promoting sustainable agriculture. The name “el Tayeb” has several meanings in Arabic: “good,” “tasty,” or “goodhearted.” Like the word, Mouzawak’s work strives to be all of these at once. The souk rapidly expanded from just 10 producers to 70 and began operating in a second location, offering stable economic opportunities for hundreds of families in the process. In just six years, more than 300 women including refugees from Palestine and Syria have enrolled in Souk el Tayeb’s Capacity Building Program. Mouzawak has continued to expand his mission through a variety of education and advocacy initiatives, including banning the use of plastic bags, and promoting green practices such as recycling. His Souk @ School program prioritizes future generations through educational campaigns devoted to teaching environmental awareness.
In all of his endeavors, Mouzawak’s special ingredient for success is his unique ability to build community while raising social awareness. His tireless commitment to this principle is reflected in Souk el Tayeb’s slogan, “Make Food Not War.” The Arab American Institute Foundation is delighted to present him with the Award for International Commitment.