March 2, 2019 – Under the patronage of the Lebanese Ambassador to the United States Gabriel Issa, The American Lebanese Community Advisory Board held its first annual gala dinner in collaboration with Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) in Phoenix. The event, an initiative of Dr. George Ayoub and gala chairs, aimed to bring the Lebanese diaspora in Arizona together while supporting worthy cultural, educational and health projects in the US and Lebanon.
The dinner was a great success, with prominent Lebanese personalities in attendance: the Consul General of Lebanon in Los Angeles Mirna El Khawli, NDU Board of Trustees members Mona Kanaan and Philippe Ziade, NDU Vice-President for Administration Fr. Samir Ghsoub and many diaspora public figures. Ambassador Issa read, to everyone in attendance, an open letter from Lebanese President General Michel Aoun who thanked the Lebanese diaspora for its support to Lebanon and invited them to build stronger bridges with their homeland.
The event saw Dr. Elie Badr, and Claudine Aoun Roukoz presented respectively with the Man of the Year award, and the Woman of the Year award. Dr. Badr, Vice-President for Academic Affairs at NDU, was honored for his work supporting education in Lebanon, helping renowned Lebanese universities, like NDU, achieve international recognition from accrediting bodies in the US like the New England Commission for Higher Education (NECHE), attesting with the international standards of higher education in Lebanon. Aoun Roukoz, President of the National Commission for Lebanese Women and Special Assistant to President Michel Aoun, was celebrated for her work on promoting gender equality in Lebanon and the Arab world.
The dinner’s primary goals were to call attention to preserving the Lebanese diaspora’s cultural heritage: specifically, the opening of an American Lebanese Cultural Center in Phoenix, Arizona, and the establishing of a Lebanese Dialect learning program conducted in collaboration with NDU. It also aimed to fundraise for the American Lebanese Educational Exchange Program, supporting the American Lebanese Medical Association (Arizona) and raise funds to help NDU students while raising awareness of Notre Dame University-Louaize in the United States.