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UN official keynotes AHRC Dearborn civil rights event. Dr. Rima Khalaf, Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, based in Beirut, will be the keynote speaker at the annual “Spirit of Humanity” Gala dinner hosted by the American Human Rights Council
By Ray Hanania
Dr. Rima Khalaf, Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, based in Beirut, will be the keynote speaker at the annual Spirit of Humanity Gala dinner hosted by the American Human Rights Council to recognize and support human rights, civil rights and the rights of prisoners.
Before joining the UN Development Program, Khalaf served in senior government posts in Jordan, including as deputy prime minister, industry and trade minister, planning minister and head of the ministerial economic team. She has also participated in various international commissions, including the High Level Commission for the Modernization of the World Bank Group Governance.
The AHRC-USA “Spirit of Humanity” Gala Dinner will be held on Thursday, May 12, 2016 beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the Greenfield Manor Banquet Hall,477 Greenfield Road in Dearborn, Michigan.
AHRC was founded in Michigan to celebrate human rights and human dignity throughout the country and for all ethnic and religious communities. It has become a leading voice in championing human rights and especially focused on prisoner rights.
“We are very proud to have Dr. Khalaf as our keynote speaker at our Spirt of Humanity gala,” said AHRC Executive Director Imad Hamad, a longtime respected civil rights advocate working in the mainstream and American Arab community in Greater Detroit.
The honorary AHRC Chair is Clovis Maksoud the distinguished former Ambassador for the Arab League and Arab League representative to the United States. Maksoud also served as a senior editor for Al Ahram Newspaper based in Cairo Egypt and as a Chief Editor of Al Nahar Newspaper.
“Our primary focus is on prisoners’ rights. The AHRC works to ensure that the rights of prisoners, and their families, are recognized and defended. In doing so, we will also encourage cooperation between similar organizations in Michigan, and other states, as well as other countries.”
Dr. Khalaf previously she served as director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States with the UN Development Program from 2000 to 2006, initiating projects to promote good governance, human rights and human development in Arab countries. She was the principal architect behind the pioneering Arab Human Development Report series and has received numerous international prizes, including the Prince Claus Award and the King Hussein Leadership Prize.
Although the primary focus of AHRC is in the United States, it’s members work in close conjunction with all organizations and activists who strive towards protecting human rights around the world, regardless of geographical or other boundaries, Hamad explained.
The AHRC consists of an Executive Board and a governing board. The Executive board includes His Excellency Maksoud, Attorney Isaac Robinson, Dr. Ihsan Alkhatib, Imam Steve Mustapha Elturk, Ms. Minnie Washington, Professor Michael T. Thomas, Sr., attorney Shereef Akeel, Dr. Saleh S. Muslah, Dr. Husain Salih, and Dr. Opada Alzohaili.
The AHRC board members include Mr. Muthanna Al Hannoti, Dr. Daad Katato, Ms. Sara Malak, Ms. Elisa Grubbs, Mr. Abdallah Sheikh, Mr. Bandar Bawazir, Ms. Sarah Harakati, Ms. Farah Imad, Mr. Walid Fidama, Mr. Sufian Nabhan, Mr. George “Jalil” Saad, Ms. Faye Awada, Mr. Ibrahim Aljahim and Mr. Mohamad Alaoiue.
Dr. Khalaf holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the American University of Beirut and a master’s in economics and a Ph.D. in system science from Portland State University in Oregon.
Dr. Khalaf has been targeted by pro-Israel fanatics for defending the rights of Palestinians who are victims of ethnic cleansing by Israel’s rightwing government. Propagandists falsely twisted her criticism asserting falsely that she compared Israel to Nazi Germany and they lobbied heavily in April 2014 to force UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to dismiss her. But Secretary General Ban Ki Moon stood by Khalaf and the rights of Palestinians.
The Israelis are notorious for making false accusations of anti-Semitism as a bullying strategy to silence criticism of their oppression and their discrimination of Christian and Muslims. They have continued each year to target Khalaf and other Palestinians who have risen to heights of respectability and who have courageously challenged Israel’s continued violations of human rights and the Rule of Law.
AHRC is honoring Dr. Khalaf for her outspoken and courageous support of people under oppression and who have been imprisoned and tortured by oppressive governments.
Dr. Khalaf is a deserving champion of the civil rights and human rights fight on behalf of victims of civil and human rights abuses throughout the world.
AHRC expects a huge attendance demonstrating the strong respect that Dr. Khalaf has in the human rights community.
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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