Posted on April 29, 2015 in Press Releases


April 28, 2015


Jennifer Bell, Bluelight Strategies,, 202-265-3000


Susan Rice to Deliver Keynote Address at

Arab American Institute Foundation Gala Wednesday

Salma Hayek, Lawrence Wright, Michael Baroody,

and John Sexton to receive Kahlil Gibran Awards


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice will deliver the keynote address Wednesday evening, April 29, at the 17th annual Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards Gala hosted by the Arab American Institute Foundation (AAIF). The event at 6:30 pm at the Omni Shoreham Hotel will honor four exceptional individuals for their work promoting inclusion, cultural understanding, and cooperation across ethnic, racial, and religious lines.


Rice is expected to address issues important to the Arab American community, including the pursuit of peace between Israelis and Palestinians, ending the conflict in Yemen and Syria through negotiations, and increased support for Lebanon.


It is open to press and coverage is invited.


Actor-activist Salma Hayek Pinault will receive the award for Individual Achievement for her leadership and activism at the Salma Hayek Foundation and Chime for Change on behalf of women and girls worldwide. The organization will also celebrate Hayek Pinault's work on the forthcoming animated adaptation of Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet, which she describes as "a love letter to this part of my heritage."


Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author of 'The Looming Tower,' and staff writer at The New Yorker Lawrence Wright will receive the Anthony Shadid Award for Excellence in Journalism for his critical and illuminating work on Middle East issues.


New York University President John Sexton, who has been dedicated to nurturing the growth of intellectual exploration and exchange across national boundaries, will receive the award for Individual Achievement for his pioneering work in advancing equality of education internationally.


The Honorable Michael E. Baroody, who served in the administration of President Ronald Reagan and in many other posts with elected officials, will receive the Najeeb Halaby Award for Public Service for his long career serving his country and community.


The Arab American Institute will celebrate its 30th Anniversary and host its foundation's 17th annual Kahlil Gibran "Spirit of Humanity" Awards Gala on April 29th. The gala benefits the advocacy, research, and policy development programs that AAI and AAIF conduct throughout the year on behalf of Arab Americans nationwide.


Reporters interested in covering this event should contact Jennifer Bell at or 202-265-3000.


WHO: National Security Advisor Susan Rice, actor-activist Salma Hayek Pinault, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lawrence Wright, New York University President John Sexton, The Honorable Michael E. Baroody


WHAT: Arab American Institute Kahlil Gibran "Spirit of Humanity" Awards Gala


WHERE: Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2550 Calvert Street, NW, Washington, D.C.


WHEN: Wednesday April 29, 5:30pm Reception, 6:30pm Gala





Founded in 1985, the Arab American Institute Foundation (AAIF) is a nonprofit organization committed to the civic and political empowerment of Americans of Arab descent. AAI provides policy, research, and public affairs services to support a broad range of community activities. At this year's Gala, AAI will mark thirty years of empowering Arab Americans and encouraging civic engagement across the United States. For more information on AAI, please visit