Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, August 2006, page 56

Arab-American Activism

American-Arab Conference Honors, Inspires Community

Rahim AlHaj, who was forced to leave Iraq in 1991 and is now based in Albuquerque, NM, performs at ADC (Staff photo M. Horton).

THE AMERIAN-ARAB Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) held its 26th annual convention at the Wardman Park Marriott Hotel in Washington, DC from June 15-18. Banquets, panel discussions, films, music, artwork, and exhibition booths laden with embroidery, pottery and books illustrated this year’s theme: “Celebrating Our Heritage: Building Our Future.”

Attendees spent the first day of the conference lobbying members of Congress on Capitol Hill. Prince Turki Al Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S., hosted a reception at the Embassy featuring delicious Middle Eastern food. Following the reception, an Open Mic/DJ party was held back at the hotel.

The following day, June 16, Mike Wallace, senior correspondent for “60 Minutes,” woke up the audience at a panel discussion about the media. He challenged the audience to provide examples of anti-Arab discrimination. Arab-Americans took the bait, telling tales of terrible bias, and a lively discussion ensued.

Friday’s luncheon featured Col. Larry Wilkerson, former Department of State chief of staff and author of Is the U.S. Being Transformed into a Radical Republic? Bachar Sbeiti, a brilliant 6-year-old Lebanese Canadian, received ADC’s Child Achievement award. ADC presented its Lifetime Policy Achievement Award to Clovis Maksoud, who served as Arab League ambassador to the United Nations and to the United States, and who is now a professor of international relations and director of the Center for the Global South at American University in Washington, DC.

Delinda C. Hanley