Arc of the U.S. to be honored at AAI Gala

Arc of the U.S. to be honored at AAI Gala
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Arab Americans Honor The Arc of the U.S. for Work on Behalf of Intellectually & Developmentally Disabled Community

Presentation to be Made at 2017 Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards

April 20, 2017 (Washington) – On Thursday, April 27, 2017, the Arab American community will honor the work of The Arc of the United States for their leadership on behalf of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Award for Institutional Excellence will be presented by Senator Amy Klobuchar during the 19th annual Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards in Washington, DC.

The Arc is the largest national community-based organization advocating for and promoting the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes. The Arc encompasses all ages and more than 100 different diagnoses including autism, Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, and various other developmental disabilities.

From its inception, The Arc has consistently campaigned for and developed platforms upon which individuals with disabilities can act as advocates for themselves, placing their voices at the forefront of a movement. With programs like the National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability, its work is a reminder that timely issues like criminal justice reform impact a cross-section of communities.

“One of Kahlil Gibran’s key messages was that of human triumph and inclusion. The Arc of the United States symbolizes that spirit. Over the course of 60 years, the work of The Arc has helped bring us all out of the one-size fits all mentality to realize how much we have to gain from the full participation of the intellectually and developmentally disabled community. Not only has The Arc been integral in empowering this community and their families to fully engage and advocate for their rights, but their nationwide network has lifted their voices to ensure that those with intellectual or developmental disabilities live the lives they choose and live lives of quality. For this work, which makes our nation stronger, we are proud to recognize The Arc with Kahlil Gibran Award for Institutional Excellence,” said AAIF Foundation Director Maya Berry.

The Kahlil Gibran “Spirit of Humanity” Awards was launched in 1999 to recognize individuals, corporations, organizations and communities whose work, commitment and support make a difference in promoting coexistence and inclusion in all walks of life. The awards are named for the author of The Prophet, whose message of human endurance and triumph was so evident in his life and work. The awards further symbolize Gibran’s pride in his Arab heritage, respect for the freedom he found in the United States and his universal love of humanity. Past gala participants and awardees include former President Bill ClintonHer Majesty Queen Noor al-Hussein, actress Selma Hayek, former President of Poland Lech Walesa, former Sen. George Mitchell, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former professional boxer Muhammad Ali, actor and philanthropist Jamie Farr and recording star Sting.

This photograph (1 of 2) depicts the Khalil Gi...

This photograph depicts the Khalil Gibran Memorial, located along the 3100 block of Massachusetts Ave. NW in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WHAT: 19th annual Kahlil Gibran “Spirit of Humanity” Awards gala

WHO: The Arc of the United States – recipient of the 2017 Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Award for Institutional Excellence

HONOREES ALSO INCLUDE:  Steve Coll, Hamdi Ulukaya, Greg Simon, Kamal Boullata

WHERE: Grand Hyatt Hotel, 1000 H St. NW, Washington, D.C.

WHEN: Thursday, April 27, 2017 Reception 5:30PM | Gala dinner 6:30PM


RSVP Needed:

About AAIF: The Arab American Institute Foundation’s goal is to encourage, recognize, and celebrate Arab American participation in American civic life, and to cultivate and mobilize a strong, educated, empowered Arab American community that can play a meaningful role in developing and improving U.S. policies. A not-for-profit affiliate of the Arab American Institute (AAI), the Foundation supports programs that promote greater awareness of Arab Americans in the United States, demographic research and international outreach. The AAIF serves as the primary national resource on the Arab American experience for the media, academia, government agencies and the private sector. Through its numerous outreach programs, the AAIF builds leadership skills among students and young professionals and informs the American public, government agencies and organizations about the contributions and concerns of Americans of Arab descent.

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Managing Writer at The Arab Daily News
RAY HANANIA — Columnist

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, and at, and at He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper,, 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, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

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