Posted on March 07, 2019 in 2019 Gibran Gala Awardees
We are delighted to present the Honorable Eugene “Gus” Newport with the Award for Individual Achievement at the 21st Annual Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards Gala in recognition of his tremendous commitment to community building and social justice.
Gus Newport has an extensive history in service of community justice causes and humanitarian aid. He served two terms as the Mayor of Berkeley, CA from 1979 to 1986. During his time in office, he was the Vice-President from the U.S. to the World Peace Council, and served on multiple United Nation committees, including The Committee against Apartheid and the Committee on The Question of Palestine. During the 1960s he chaired the Monroe County Non-Partisan Political League, the largest civil rights organization in Rochester, NY, which fought against police brutality, workplace discrimination and to safeguard the election of people of color through voter registration advocacy. He has stated that it is [his] “responsibility as an elected official to use any forum to speak out for world peace. Without a guarantee of peace, the rest of our social programs are useless.”
Mr. Newport’s affiliation with a wide array of projects and causes throughout his career serve as a testament to his decades of involvement in public service as an activist and leader. He led the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative in Boston, MA, the only non-profit organization in the US to receive the powers of eminent domain from a community master plan, which empowered local residents to buy affordable homes. Mr. Newport is also the former director of many organizations such as the Institute of Community Economics, the Community Building Support Center for the Urban Strategies Council (USC), and the Partnership for Neighborhood Initiatives (PNI) Palm Beach County, FL. He has consulted for the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, the Jacobs Family Foundation, Ford and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, among others.
Following Hurricane Katrina, Mr. Newport was part of the five-person advisory body to oversee the planning of New Orleans rebuilding efforts and led many initiatives to bring aid to the city. He served as program director of the Vanguard Foundation, and as consultant to the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation where he aided community planning, organizing and policy development in the recovery work throughout the Mississippi Delta after Katrina. He has contributed to institutions including Yale University and M.I.T. as a MLK Scholar, and the University of California Santa Cruz as a faculty member and mentor. As a member of the leadership committee of the National Council of Elders, his mentorship guides young, up-and-coming leaders to create a network that ensures a bright future for civil and social justice.
Gus Newport continues to serve with several governmental and nonprofit agencies advocating for peace and justice, not only in domestic issues but in global affairs as well. From his early days as a civil rights activist, to his current role as the President of the Middle East Children’s Alliance, Mr. Newport has been a leading peacemaker in the national and global community, working to uplift the neglected.
Gus Newport’s belief that, “the pursuit of peace means the gentle treatment of all people,” reflects one of the core messages in the literature of Kahlil Gibran himself. We thank Mr. Newport for being a true example of servant leadership with a lifetime of achievement and uplifting others. It is with great pride that the Arab American Institute Foundation honors his life of leadership, vision, and dedication to peace and justice with the Award for Individual Achievement.