ACCESS Arab-American teen philanthropists award financial grants

(DEARBORN, MI) — The Teen Grantmaking Initiative (TGI), a program of the Center for Arab American Philanthropy at ACCESS, recently awarded eight

arab-american-philanthropy$1,000 grants to non-profit organizations that serve youth through its chapters in Detroit, Mich. and Brooklyn, NY. 

The grants will be used to further develop a variety of arts, advocacy and health programs that focus on education and leadership skills for children and teens. These grants represent the culmination of a process that began last year. Over the past several months, TGI members actively fundraised, learned about community needs, visited grantee organizations, participated in community service projects, and reviewed grant proposals from prospective organizations. 

TGI member Fatima Al-Hakim said she is proud of the work that the teens accomplished this year.

“Being a part of this program ignited my passion for philanthropy,” she said. “The most important idea I took away from TGI is that you really have to start from your local community to make a lasting change throughout the world.”

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ACT NOW: Petition the UN for Lebanon

IMG_0047By Edward J. Alam, Ph.D

Executing Officer/Director of Lebanon: Land of Dialogue
Notre Dame University-Louaize, Lebanon (NDU)

A very exciting and interesting Initiative began in June 2013 whereby several prominent Lebanese businessmen and academics met and selected Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) to lead an Initiative devoted to gaining United Nations (UN) recognition of Lebanon as a Land of Dialogue Among Civilizations and Cultures (LDC) by petitioning the UN mainly through an electronic petition among other instruments. The initiative posits that Lebanon has an eternal vocation to be a land of freedom, plurality and conviviality.

This unique goal — to petition the UN to officially recognize Lebanon as such — cannot be accomplished except via both institutional and organizational commitment and alliance and sincere engagement by the Lebanese communities and their friends in Lebanon and abroad.


Our strategy is to stimulate the engagement of Lebanese youth, students, academics and professionals in addition to civil society activists and the general public to lobby for Lebanon’s Dialogue Initiative and to motivate people of goodwill to join hands with us for the UN recognition of Lebanon as a Land of Dialogue.

This will not only be done through engagement of important business people and diplomats, internationally recognized academicians, and multi-cultural Liaison Officers, but also by engaging Lebanese, people of Lebanese descent, people who believe that Lebanon has this vocation, as well as people who believe in dialogue around the world who believe in Lebanon’s vocation of freedom, plurality and conviviality.

This Initiative is a unifying cause for all Lebanese who believe in Lebanon’s vocation. It is a tool to have the UN member states to designate Lebanon as a land for dialogue in an act of International solidarity with Lebanon.

We call upon each one of you to sign the petition (, to inform, persuade and encourage family members, friends, and acquaintances around the world to sign the petition and to appeal to your representatives in the UN to vote “Yes” for Lebanon.

Dr. Edward Alam Biography

Edward J. Alam is a Full Professor at Notre Dame University-Louaize, Lebanon, in the Faculty of Humanities, where he has taught philosophy, cultural studies, and theology since 1996.  He was Director of International Academic Affairs at Notre Dame from 1999-2004. He is presently Secretary/Treasurer of the World Union of Catholic Philosophical Societies and General Secretary of the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy ( while recently opening a new CRVP center at his home university in Lebanon. He has given key-note and plenary addresses at international conferences in Rome, Cape Coast,  Bangkok and Chicago, and major papers at international conferences in Beirut, Tehran, Qom, Shanghai, Phnom Penh, Hai Phong, Madrid, Uppsala, Siracusa, Washington D.C., Taipei, Ibadan, Awka, Addis Ababa, and Iasi.  He has participated in both organizing and giving papers at, international conferences in, Poland and the Ukraine and has traveled extensively in India, East and West Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East promoting philosophical seminars that seek to address contemporary challenges by cultivating perennial values in various cultural heritages. He is founder and chairman of the Communio study group in Lebanon, and has published on Metaphysics and Mysticism in the Communio journal—one of some 30 published articles in international journals around the world; he has published two major books; one on the philosophical contributions of John Henry Newman, and another introductory work on the history of philosophy. He led the 2009 CRVP five-week intensive philosophy seminar in Washington, D.C., on the theme of the Sacred and the Secular, with a 12 member group of international philosophers, and gave a series of week-long lectures on Eschatology at the Wyoming  School of Catholic Thought in 2005, as well as the key note address in their nationally acclaimed lecture series in 2010.  Edward is a native of Salt Lake City, Utah.  He is of Lebanese descent and a member of the Syriac Maronite Church, the oldest Eastern Catholic Church in the world.  His wife is Lebanese and they are the proud parents of four children. 

St. Laba Hasroun Society honors Fr. Roby Zibara

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(STERLING HEIGHTS, MI) — St. Laba Hasroun Society members gathered at Ike’s Restaurant to welcome Father Roby Zibara from Hasroun, Lebanon on Sunday.

“Father Roby, whom I personally know from when I was a little kid in Hasroun, has been on a special assignment to serve our parish for the last 4 weeks,” said Maurice Farah, president of the organization.

Father Zibara was ordained in 2008 from Hasroun. He was most recently in Rome, working on his PhD in fundamental theology.

“It was a great pleasure having him in our community. We are looking forward having him over again in the future. He can count on this society to be his extended family here in the US,” Farah said.

Chorbishop Alfred Badawi and Father Roby Zibara with St. Laba Hasroun Society leaders.

Auxilia introduces new president

IMG_0038(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — Business owner Fadi Habib Samaha was recently elected as Auxilia’s new president, replacing Dr. Assaad Nasr, who will now serve as Secretary-General.

The American Foundation for Auxilia, represented by Secretary Samar Malouf and Michigan Chapter Board Member Rowina Eid, met the new president during a private meeting in Beirut on Wednesday.

“We continue to restructure the Auxilia organization,” Dr. Nasr said, pointing to Samaha’s accomplishments as a prime reason why he was elected as president. “We have faced many ups and downs as an organization, so we’re looking forward to moving into the next chapter.”

“The American Foundation for Auxilia is pleased to have met Mr. Samaha for the first time. We think he will be a great person to work with as soon as we return to the United States,” said Samar Malouf.

Comments by Dr. Assaad Nasr and Samar Malouf translated into English from Arabic.

Flint’s Mid-East Festival returns this weekend

mid-east-festival-flint-michigan(FLINT TOWNSHIP, MI) — The annual Mid-East Festival at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church is happening this weekend from Friday, July 11, to Sunday, July 13. Authentic Lebanese food, dancing, and cultural festivities bring a Lebanese celebration to Flint Township each year.

“The support we get from the Flint community is amazing. The festival keeps growing and growing, and we couldn’t be happier,” said festival chairman Jason Klanseck. “The festival is an event that brings the church together; everyone works side by side for the same goal.”

The Mid-East Festival is at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church, located at 4133 Calkins Road, Flint Township. The festival is open on Friday from 11:30 a.m. to midnight, from noon to midnight on Saturday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

There is no admission charge, but parking is $3.

For more information, visit

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UCF walks for Detroit’s Capuchin Soup Kitchen

united-cedars-foundation-capuchin-soup-kitchen(SHELBY TOWNSHIP, MI) — The United Cedars Foundation (UCF) walked in support of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen at River Bends Park in Shelby Township on Sunday. 75 members and supporters gathered at 8am for a walk to provide homeless Detroiters with basic necessities.

The Capuchin Soup Kitchen was established in 1929 by the ministry of the Capuchin Province of St. Joseph. The founders developed a religious mission to work among the poor, providing food, temporary shelter, and other basic needs.

“The Capuchin Soup Kitchen serves meals everyday for homeless people. They provide them with clothing, hot showers, beds, whenever they need. We are proud to support them,” said Walid Korkmaz, president of the United Cedars Foundation.

UCF purchased 500 raffle tickets valued at $500.00 for the upcoming “Capuchin Souper Summer Celebration,” hosted by Lebanese-American business owner Anthony Ahee and third-generation members of the Ahee family. The celebration, which will take place on July 12 at Comerica Park, is expected to draw over 7,000 people.

“The Ahee family has been doing this for 33 years,” said Korkmaz. “It’s really special.”

Ahee Jewelers underwrites the annual free fundraiser every year, covering the cost of producing the event, entertainment, and raffle prizes. Over the past thirty years, the family has raised over $5 million for the soup kitchen.

UCF members paid $30 per family to participate in Sunday’s fundraiser. A saj breakfast with coffee, juices, and other beverages were served following the 2.5 mile walk.

“It’s very nice, they’re always doing an excellent job. People can get together and enjoy the outdoors,” said UCF member Mirna Douiahy.

To view photos from UCF’s event, click here. For more information about the “Capuchin Souper Summer Celebration,” visit

Center for Arab American Philanthropy awarded $380K Kellogg grant

(DEARBORN, MI) — The W.K. Kellogg Foundation recently awarded a $380,000 grant to the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP), a project of ACCESS. The grant will allow CAAP to “expand its services and reach out to more members of the community to continue its mission of empowering Arab Americans, including youth, through philanthropy.”

Funding from the grant will be used to launch additional Giving Circles, a new Women and Children’s Fund at CAAP that supports organizations serving low-income children, women and their families, and expansion of CAAP’s Teen Grantmaking Initiative (TGI) program nationwide.

“The Kellogg Foundation has been CAAP’s partner since our inception. We are so proud to have their ongoing support,” said Katherine Hanway, CAAP donor services and program officer, in a news release. “This grant marks a pivotal point in CAAP’s development, as it will considerably expand our programs and services across the country. The grant allows us to positively impact our community, especially our young people.”

CAAP’s vision is to develop a legacy of giving in the Arab American community by working with donors to invest their charitable dollars in organizations and programs across the country.

To learn more about CAAP, watch the video below:


ACC Partners with Huntington Bank on Financial Literacy Program for Arabic-Speaking Clients


Beginning Thursday, June 26, the Arab American and Chaldean Council (ACC) will partner with Huntington Bank on a financial education program for Arabic speaking individuals. Using the Money Smart by FDIC curriculum, the classes will cover topics including budgeting, financial goal setting, savings, and money management.

Twenty students are expected to attend each session, which will be led by Arabic speaking Huntington colleagues. All classes will take place on the fourth Thursday of each month (June 26, July 24, August 28, September 25 and October 23) from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at ACC’s Macomb WIA Program building in Sterling Heights (38219 Mound Road, Suite 102). 

“Students will benefit from the program by not only learning how to budget and save money, but by also developing a financial plan alongside their work and career plans provided by our workforce development program,” said Dr. Haifa Fakhouri, ACC President and CEO. “Our goal is to help our clients have the knowledge they need to financially succeed.”

Upon completion, each student will be presented with a certificate.

“This innovative new offering continues Huntington’s strong financial education partnership with ACC,” said Mike Fezzey, president of Huntington’s Southeastern Michigan Region. “Teaching smart money use in a culturally relevant collaboration will provide the best opportunity for future success as participants benefit from learning in the language in which they are most proficient.”

In 2013, more than 25 Huntington colleagues taught financial skills to nearly 150 students in ACC’s workforce development programs in Detroit and Hamtramck.

VIDEO: Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce honors Middle Eastern judges

(TROY, MI) — The Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce honored 26 judges of Middle Eastern descent on Monday, as part of their annual Salute to Justice evening event.

Watch highlights below:

The Chamber honored the following judges:

  • U.S. District Court Judge George Caram Steeh, III
  • U.S. District Court Judge Jack Zouhary (OH)
  • U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Mona K. Majzoub
  • U.S. Administrative Law Judge Alfred Morad, (ret)
  • Michigan Supreme Court Justice Brian K. Zahra
  • Michigan Supreme Court Justice David F. Viviano
  • Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Henry W. Saad
  • Oakland County Probate Chief Judge Linda Saoud Hallmark
  • Livingston County Circuit Court Judge Michael P. Hatty
  • Wayne County Circuit Court Judge David J. Allen
  • Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Annette J. Berry
  • Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Charlene Mekled Elder
  • Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Edward Joseph
  • Wayne County Circuit Court Judge James J. Rashid (ret)
  • Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Kathryn A. Viviano
  • Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Tracey A. Yokich
  • Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Antonio P. Viviano (ret)
  • Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Joseph J. Farah
  • Dearborn District Court Chief Judge Sam A. Salamey
  • Dearborn Heights District Court Chief Judge David D. Turfe
  • Redford District Court Chief Judge Karen Khalil Bouzas
  • Rochester Hills District Court Judge Lisa L. Asadoorian
  • Warren District Court Judge Matthew Sabaugh
  • West Bloomfield District Court Judge Diane Dickow D’Agostini
  • Mt. Clemens District Court Judge George Caram Steeh, II (ret)
  • Grosse Pointe Woods Municipal Court Chief Judge Theodore A. Metry

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