Annual Awards Gala Dinner 2023
American Task Force on Lebanon
The American Task Force on Lebanon is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization of prominent Americans of Lebanese heritage, who work to strengthen the historic U.S.-Lebanon relationship. The mission and objectives of ATFL are always in the best interests of the United States, and promote the national unity, independence, and prosperity of a democratic and multi-sectarian Lebanon.
2023 Annual Dinner Honorees
The Peter J. Tanous Founder's Award . . .
. . . . . . recognizes exceptional achievement in the arts, culture, and/or education. It is named for Peter J. Tanous, a founder of the American Task Force on Lebanon who has dedicated much of his life in support of higher education and recognition of artists, media, movie, and TV personalities from Lebanese ancestry. Mr. Tanous served as ATFL's Founding Chairman from 1987-1990 and has continued to serve on its board of directors. Under the tradition of his leadership and guidance, ATFL has grown into a nationwide network of members that celebrate their Lebanese heritage with a deep commitment to improving the US-Lebanon relationship.
The MayyasAlternative Dance Crew, Winner of America's Got Talent Season 17
The Mayyas is an all-female alternative dance group from Lebanon that has earned international renown for its mesmerizing choreographic style and recent first place victory in the America’s Got Talent competition during the show’s seventeenth televised season.
Founded and led by Lebanese dancer and choreographer, Nadim Cherfan, the group consists of over thirty dance performers. In 2019, Mayyas won first place in the show, Arab’s Got Talent, and reached the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent.
The Mayyas have made international headlines following their victories on the world stage and have become a source of pride for Lebanon at a time in which all other positive news seems scarce. Now collaborating with major brands like Tiffany & Co. and artists like Beyoncé, the Mayyas dance group has demonstrated exceptional achievement in the arts, and is a well-deserving honoree and recipient of the 2023 Peter J. Tanous Founder’s Award. The American Task Force on Lebanon is grateful to be able to bestow this honor to the Mayyas.
The 2023 Peter J. Tanous Founder's Award . . .
. . . recognizes exceptional achievement in the arts, culture, and/or education. It is named for Peter J. Tanous, a founder of the American Task Force on Lebanon who has dedicated much of his life in support of higher education and recognition of artists, media, movie, and TV personalities from Lebanese ancestry. Mr. Tanous served as ATFL's Founding Chairman from 1987-1990 and has continued to serve on its board of directors. Under the tradition of his leadership and guidance, ATFL has grown into a nationwide network of members that celebrate their Lebanese heritage with a deep commitment to improving the US-Lebanon relationship.
Dr. Joseph E. Aoun7th President of Northeastern University
Dr. Joseph E. Aoun is the seventh President of Northeastern University in Boston, MA and is considered an internationally respected voice on the value of global and experiential education.
President Aoun led the global expansion of Northeastern’s signature co-op program, bringing experiential learning opportunities to 148 countries. During his tenure, the University has created a global university system spanning 12 campuses across North America and the UK, quadrupled external research funding to more than $200 million in annual awards, hired more than 800 tenured and tenure-track faculty, and earned the designation of an R1 research institution.
He is the author of numerous articles and books, including Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (MIT Press, 2017). In it, he confronts the need for colleges and universities to meet the challenges and opportunities of the complex digital economy. The book lays out a blueprint for higher education with three primary components: a new curriculum for the A.I. age; the case for experiential learning, the ideal delivery system for this new curriculum; and a call for higher education to place lifelong learning at the heart of the educational enterprise.
President Aoun came to Northeastern from the University of Southern California’s College of Letters, Arts & Sciences where he was the inaugural holder of the Anna H. Bing Dean’s Chair. He received his Ph.D. in linguistics and philosophy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and advanced degrees from the University of Paris VIII (France) and Saint Joseph University (Beirut, Lebanon).
Under Dr. Aoun’s guidance, Northeastern has become a leader in globalized education, experiential learning, and innovation and real-world application of research. He is an example of exceptional achievement in education, and the American Task Force on Lebanon is honored to bestow him with the 2023 Peter J. Tanous Founder’s Award.
The 2023 Philip C. Habib Award for Distinguished Public Service . . .
. . . recognizes exceptional achievement in public service. It is named for the Honorable Philip C. Habib, who was described by the New York Times as the, “outstanding professional diplomat of his generation in the United States” upon his death in 1992. In 2006, Ambassador Habib was one of six historic diplomats honored with his own postage stamp.
Congressman Garret GravesU.S. Representative, 6th Congressional District of the State of Louisiana
Congressman Garret Graves represents Louisiana’s Sixth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives.
More than 750,000 people live in the 13 parishes that make up the sixth district, which includes most of Congressman Graves’ hometown of Baton Rouge, the bulk of the Capital City’s suburbs, parts of parishes along both sides of the Mississippi River to the western shores of Lake Pontchartrain and continues south through Thibodaux to Houma.
For the 116th Congress, Congressman Graves is the Ranking Member for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation and is the Ranking Member for the new Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. He also serves on the House Natural Resources.
Last Congress, he chaired the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment and was instrumental in the development, passage and enactment of a range of policy wins on rivers, levees, flood protection, coastal issues and Corps of Engineers reforms. He also brought about critical upgrades to federal disaster response and recovery programs, streamlining FEMA operations, creating faster recoveries and helping make communities across the nation more resilient to disaster.
Though he has only been in office a short time, Congressman Graves and his team have established a record of advancing Louisiana’s priorities through Congress – making a positive difference here at home.
A few more examples include the Washington St. Exit reconfiguration, I-10 expansions and other traffic improvements underway are happening because of legislation he wrote, helped negotiate, and enacted in 2015. Congressman Graves also fought to change federal law to fix the so called “duplication of benefits” fiasco for thousands of 2016 flood victims; and, he secured full funding for the Comite River Diversion, West Shore and other major flood protection projects that had been stalled for decades. Now they are fast-tracked for completion – which means better protection and lower flood insurance rates for all of us.
Congressman Graves’ leadership on transportation, infrastructure, energy, maritime, fisheries, coastal restoration, disaster and other issues critical to our state’s economy and way of life are an asset in Congress.
Congressman Graves is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he resides with his wife Carissa and their three children. He is of Lebanese descent and represents the best of the Lebanese American community. The American Task Force on Lebanon is grateful to be able to bestow Congressman Graves with the 2023 Philip C. Habib Distinguished Public Service Award for the remarkable achievements that he has made through his public service.
The 2023 Issam M. Fares International Leadership Award . . .
. . . recognizes individuals of Lebanese heritage for exceptional achievement in business, public service and philanthropy. It is named for Issam M. Fares, the former Deputy Prime Minister of Lebanon, successful industrialist and global philanthropist. Minister Fares served as Deputy Prime Minister of Lebanon from 2000 to 2005. Prior to that his career spanned four decades in the Persian Gulf, where he played a key role in the infrastructure buildout of that region. Minister Fares is most recognized throughout the world for the many charitable, educational and developmental programs and projects he has supported over the past several decades.
Mr. Ghassan M. SaabChief Executive Officer, Sorensen Gross Company
Mrs. Manal SaabChief Executive Officer, SGCS
Ghassan M. Saab currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of Sorensen Gross Company, the leading full line construction services organization in Flint, Michigan, specializing in industrial, commercial and institutional projects. Mr. Saab joined Sorensen Gross in 1966 as a field engineer advancing successively to General Manager, becoming Owner and President in 1971. Under his leadership, Sorensen Gross and his other companies have managed over two billion dollars of construction work in Michigan, throughout the United States and overseas.
In 2003, Mr. Saab, with some friends and business associates, formed the Uptown Development Group to rejuvenate and rebuild the neglected downtown area of Flint, Michigan. While much remains to be done, the progress and redevelopment in the Flint center city have been nothing short of remarkable.
Ghassan’s contributions locally, nationally, and internationally include Past Chair and Emeritus Board Member of the Flint Institute of Music; Junior Achievement (President and Chairman); The Michigan Chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America, (President and Board member); and the Rotary Club of Flint. He is past Chairman and Board member of the American Druze Foundation. Past Trustee and Past Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Lebanese American University. A Board Member of the American Arab Heritage Council, Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Hundred Club of Flint, McLaren Regional Medical Center, served on the Citizens Advisory Committee of the University of Michigan-Flint and the Board of Governors of the Arab American Institute in Washington, DC. He is a founding member of the Board of Teach for Lebanon – USA.
Ghassan has received many awards, too numerous to list here; as an example we mention the Michigan Arab American and Chaldean Council “2012 Entrepreneur of the Year Award” and the 2011 Ray R. Irani “Pride of Heritage Award” presented by the House of Lebanon of the Lebanese American Foundation. In 2015 he received the Lebanese American Heritage Club Award for Excellence and Great Achievements. Ghassan was also the 2004 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the American University of Beirut Faculty of Engineering and Architecture.
Manal Saab is Chief Executive Officer of SGCS in Flint, Michigan. Mrs. Saab joined SGCS after spending 17 years in healthcare at the MetroHealth System in Cleveland, Ohio, as the Director of Government Affairs and Community Relations overseeing local, state, and national healthcare legislation for one of the nation’s largest and most successful publicly owned hospitals at the time.
Active in industry leadership as well as philanthropy on the local, national, and international levels: Appointed by Michigan’s Governor as Chair of the Commission on Middle Eastern American Affairs for the State of Michigan. She is serving as Vice Chair of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint Board of Trustees; past Chair of the National Advisory Board for the Arab American National Museum; past Chair of the American Druze Foundation Board of Trustees. She is an Emeritus member of the Board of Governors of ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital recognized as the top medical charity in the U.S.A. and a Trustee and co-founder of TAKREEM USA, and cofounder of Lebanon Relief Project responsible for shipping $50 Million worth of medicines and medical supplies to Lebanon in the aftermath of the August ’20 Beirut Port Explosion.
Ghassan and Manal Saab are founding members of the national professional advisory board of the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP). Both are members of Board of the American Task Force on Lebanon (ATFL). They are the first Flint-area residents to receive the 2010 Russell G. Mawby Award for Philanthropy, the highest award recognizing philanthropy in the State of Michigan. Both recipients of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Rotary International Crystal Award in 2015 the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award by ACCESS, and the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award by TAKREEM America, the American Task Force on Lebanon is grateful to have the opportunity to bestow the 2023 Issam M. Fares Award to Manal and Ghassan and considers them to be invaluable members of the Arab American and Lebanese American communities, as they have each contributed a lifetime of exceptional achievement and leadership.
Music & Entertainment
..."Like a missile piercing the air the voice of Lebanese-born opera singer Amine Hachem propels him to the top of his profession." (Al-Mohajer/The Emigrant)
Amine HachemLebanese Opera Singer
Dubbed as “a soulful and handsome young man who delivers an electrifying and thrilling performance, bringing the crowd to their feet” (An-Nahar), Amine J. Hachem is a Lebanese-American operatic and crossover tenor who has captivated audiences across the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. He has been a leading tenor in several operas and musicals, including La Traviata, Tosca, La Bohème, Carmen, I Lombardi alla Prima Crociata, Madama Butterfly, Phantom of the Opera, Evita, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Amine has also shared his talent supporting various charitable causes and service organizations worldwide, including SOS Children’s Villages, Caritas Internationalis, Red Cross, Rotary International, Lion’s Club, and St. George’s Hospital. He was the featured performer at the St. Jude Hope and Heritage Gala, 2014 premier New York fundraising event for the renowned St. Jude’s Hospital. He sang in the summer series festival (June, 2014) at the Basilica of Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral, NYC. Honors were bestowed upon him the summer of 2011 with a trophy of recognition from the Lebanese Navy in gratitude for his musical performances and love of cultural heritage. Additionally, he had the privilege to sing before the President of Lebanon and the King and Queen of Jordan.LEARN MORE
$50,000 and above
One Platinum Table For 10 People // Seating With Honorees (As Available) // Featured Full Page Ad In Program Booklet // Recognition During The Program // Name And Logo Recognition In Event Marketing Materials And Press Release // Name And Logo Featured At Reception And On Screen During Program // Name And Logo Recognition In ATFL Newsletter // Social Media Pre-Post Event Presence // Prime Placement Of Name And Logo As Underwriter On ATFL Website And Social Media
Ms. Kristen Kouttab
One Gold Table For 10 People // Full-Page Ad In Program // Name And Logo Recognition On Event Marketing Materials And Press Release // Name And Logo Featured At Reception And On Screen During Program // Name And Logo Recognition In ATFL Newsletter // Social Media Pre, Post Event Presence
One Silver Table For 10 People // Full Page Ad In Program // Name And Logo Recognition In Event Marketing Materials And On Screen During Program // Name And Logo Recognition As Sponsor In Newsletter
Half Table For 5 People // Half Page Ad In Program // Name And Logo Recognition As A Patron In Event Marketing Materials And On Screen During Program // Name And Logo Recognition As Patron In Newsletter
Standard ticket for individual attendees of the American Task Force on Lebanon's 2023 Annual Awards Gala Dinner.
Young professionals seeking to attend the American Task Force on Lebanon's 2023 Annual Awards Gala Dinner may do so at a reduced cost. Limited availability.