The Arab American and Chaldean Council’s (ACC) 28th Annual Civic and Humanitarian Awards Gala on Sept. 8 celebrated a night of philanthropic endeavors and achievements. A sold out crowd gathered at the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center to commemorate ACC’s role in dedicating time and service to the Metropolitan Detroit area.
The night’s theme “A Mural of Diversity, Development and Dedication,” paid homage to renowned honorees who give back to their community whether it’s through charitable pursuits, entertainment, education or exceptionally serving their constituents.
Brenda Schneider, first vice president and director of business and development services for Comerica Bank and Conrad Schwartz, director of asset management and world wide real estate for General Motors Corporation, emceed the evening’s festivities.
This year’s International Humanitarian Leadership Award recipient and keynote speaker, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, from Dubai, was unable to attend the ceremony, but sent First Secretary Omar Al-Shamsi from the Embassy of United Arab Emirates in Washington to accept her award.
“I will regretfully be unable to attend as I will be unable to travel to Michigan during this time. I will be in my third trimester of my pregnancy and traveling for long distances, as you may know, will be both unfavorable and uncomfortable,” the princess explained in her letter of regret.
Other honorees included Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop and Speaker of the House Andy Dillon with the State Leadership Award. Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm saluted ACC and the honorees by providing inspiring words about dedicating oneself to improving the community by staying focused on goals.
The Detroit Institute of Arts Director Graham W.J. Beal was recognized with the Community Leadership Award; the Excellence in Education Award went to Dr. Hashim Al-Tawil, professor of art history for Henry Ford Community College. The mayor of the city of Wayne, Abdul Haidous, was honored with the Community Service Award.
The Economic Development Leadership Award went to Matthew P. Cullen, general manager of Economic Development and Enterprise Services for General Motors Corporation. The evening wrapped up with ACC awarding Abdul-Karim Bader & his ensemble with the Lifetime Achievement Award for their musical contributions to the Middle Eastern community.
During the gala, ACC unveiled two public service announcements that are courtesy of Comcast. The public service announcements are set to air later this month and will highlight ACC’s initiatives and achievements.
“I’m very pleased with this year’s event as well as thankful for the honorees, dignitaries, sponsors and guests who attended to show their support of ACC and its goals,” said CEO and President Haifa Fakhouri. “After 28 years of dedicating time and showing support toward the community at large, ACC will continue to grow in its programs.”
The gala highlighted ACC’s Artisan Adult and Learning Center, which will open its doors in the spring. As part of ACC’s Seven Mile Revitalization Project the Artisan Center will provide workspace for artists of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds so they can create and display their work. The center will join ACC’s Youth Recreation and Leadership Center and the ACC Wayne County Behavioral Health Network Clubhouse.
For more information on ACC, visit the organization’s website at www.myacc.org.