Posted by on May 07, 2014 in Blog

This year’s recipient of the Award for Corporate Citizenship at the 2014 Kahlil Gibran Awards Gala, Participant Media, is known for their production of films with conscientious subject matter and sharp storytelling. Since its creation in 2004, Participant has established itself as a leader in social justice issues, pioneering a marriage of great film and effective action campaigns. Participant Media is responsible for more than 50 films, of which 36 received Academy Award nominations and 7 earned Academy Awards, including Good Night and Good Luck, The Help, Syriana, An Inconvenient Truth, and Lincoln.

Participant Media has also been behind several films that present stories from the Middle East, including The Kite Runner, State 194, and most recently The Square, directed by Arab American filmmaker Jehane Noujaim. Participant’s newest film is an animated adaptation of Kahlil Gibran’s classic book, The Prophet. Gibran attendees were treated to the first ever preview of the film, which features the voices of Liam Neeson and Selma Hayek. Following a video presentation highlighting Participant’s work, CEO Jim Berk, who accepted the award on the company’s behalf, reflected on the company’s commitment to bringing Arab stories to the forefront:

The films that you saw in this particular montage…are really focused on a particular area which we think is an underreported area of storytelling – and that’s the stories of people from a certain region or background of the world which happens to be the Middle East. It’s of an amazingly vibrant, extraordinarily beautiful, rich culture and geography that isn’t really articulated properly in the media. And we think if we can show people what that experience is like, if we can break down these issues to personal stories,  we have the ability for people to drop their guard, for people to really look at somebody else as a human being – not as somebody in opposition.

Watch Mr. Berk’s full remarks:

Participant Media’s commitment to the use of media and digital content to inspire social change and the advancement of fair representation of the Middle East in the media exemplifies the qualities of social leadership that our community honors at Gibran. The Arab American Institute Foundation was honored to present the Award for Corporate Citizenship to Participant Media for their pioneering vision on matters of social justice. You can learn more about Participant’s projects here.