This month, ATFL announced a reorganization plan to expand its support for a strong US-Lebanon bilateral relationship. Joining with other partners, including the Middle East Institute, Lebanese International Finance Executives (LIFE), and US-Lebanon policy experts, ATFL has become indispensable in communicating the importance of a stable, prosperous, and democratic Lebanon. In this regard, ATFL is implementing a multi-year strategy and adding more staff capability.
Lebanon is faced with unprecedented challenges. The World Bank has referred to the economic crisis in Lebanon as possibly one of the worst worldwide since the mid-19th century. Lebanon must stabilize its financial and economic sectors, confront a political void caused by a deadlocked government, and mitigate an increasingly high rate of extreme poverty.
To best address these issues and implement its new strategy, ATFL has combined the positions of President/CEO and Executive Director. We will hire a Director of Communications and add support staff to enhance our public outreach and activities with the Lebanese American community. ATFL will also hire a new VP for Planning and Development.
With this reorganization, ATFL will redouble its efforts to:
educate key US policymakers on the importance of prioritizing the US-Lebanon bilateral relationship and US democracy and aid programs;
encourage a reformist government in Lebanon to address the economic, political, and social needs of its people;
work with the US government to address the urgent humanitarian and financial crisis; and,
bring attention to the importance of maintaining a strong Lebanese Armed Forces.
“ATFL has been a trusted voice for more than thirty years with US policymakers. As the US confronts its many diverse but connected interests in the Middle East and one of the worst crises in Lebanon’s history, ATFL will be prepared to ensure that Lebanon is not forgotten,” remarked Ambassador Ed Gabriel, President and CEO of ATFL. “We want to thank Leslie Touma, the former Executive Director, for her past contribution to this mission and the very dedicated team that has worked together tirelessly these many years.”
The Middle East Institute and the American Task Force on Lebanon collaborated with LIFE to produce an urgent Lebanon-focused policy brief. The brief outlines recommendations to the Biden Administration for empowering an international coalition to support the Lebanese people and strengthen their capability to promote real change.
This resulted in heightened appreciation of the situation in Lebanon and the need for concrete action by the US government on humanitarian assistance and support for the LAF.
Most importantly, the policy brief was the major driver in encouraging the US to join with France in a coordinated effort to bring pressure on Lebanese leadership to implement reforms.
It continues to serve as a basis for ongoing discussions with the US Administration.
It is also driving support for Congressional resolutions and letters that keep Lebanon as a priority for the Biden Administration. Congressional support is key to mobilizing increases in humanitarian assistance, economic support funds, and expanded assistance for the LAF.
June 30, 2021: Amb. Edward Gabriel on Ray Hanania Radio Show on Lebanon
June 28, 2021: Amb. Edward Gabriel on Al Hurra [Arabic]
March 25, 2021: Amb. Edward Gabriel on LBCI News
The humanitarian crisis in Lebanon has been a subject of deep concern to not only our community but the many friends of Lebanon in the US. ATFL hosted a special briefing with Najat Rochi, UN Deputy Special Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon, to better understand how best to assist the people affected by the multiple catastrophes that have engulfed Lebanon.
Concurrent crises imperil Lebanon’s higher education institutions. ATFL hosted a special discussion with the presidents of AUB and LAU to showcase the historic impact these schools have had on Lebanon and the region, and how they are equipped to play an even more important role in the face of today’s extraordinary challenges.
Ongoing Speaker Series: Voices from Lebanon
ATFL’s ongoing series of closed roundtables for our membership feature leaders active in Lebanon’s economic, political, and social spheres. Past discussions have featured:
H.E. Neemat Frem
Lebanese politician, businessman, and a resigned Member of the Lebanese Parliament
H.E. Samy Gemayel
Resigned member of the Lebanese Parliament and President of the Lebanese Kataeb Party
H.E. Raya Hassan
Former Lebanese Minister of the Interior
H.E. Yassine Jaber
Former government minister and member of the Lebanese Parliament
H.E. Michel Moawad
Founding Member of the Lebanese Opposition Front and resigned member of the Lebanese Parliament
H.E. Raoul Nehme
Lebanese Minister of Economy and Trade
Leila Dagher, Ph.D.
Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Economy
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“Certain ongoing activities…serve to undermine Lebanese sovereignty, contribute to political and economic instability in the region, and continue to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”
“Leaders in Beirut must urgently put aside partisan differences and form a government that serves the Lebanese people.”
“In this virtual conference, the delegations highlighted the strength of the U.S.-LAF partnership and discussed ways to deepen security cooperation.”
May 21, 2021: Fact Sheet: U.S. Security Cooperation with Lebanon
“U.S. security assistance for the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) is a key component of U.S. policy towards Lebanon and aims to strengthen Lebanon’s sovereignty, secure its borders, counter internal threats, and disrupt terrorist facilitation.”
“Under Secretary Hale underscored America’s continued support for the Lebanese people and encouraged all parties to demonstrate flexibility and form a government that is willing and capable of implementing overdue economic and governance reforms”
Rita Stephan, Ph.D.
Arab-Americans in Foreign Affairs Agencies
Arab-Americans in Foreign Affairs Agencies (AAIFAA) is a US government employee affinity group, with over 300 members from the State Department and other foreign affairs agencies, co-registered at USAID. It supports senior US government leaders with advice and ideas on how to broaden diversity and include Arab-Americans in public service. See more on AAIFAA here.
Dr. Rita Stephan is the Social Affairs Coordinator for AAIFAA, supporting the development of networking and social events that promote connectivity among members across the interagency; and collaborates with fellow board members in support of program development.
Dr. Stephan is the Regional Coordinator for Religious and Ethnic Minorities at the United States Agency of International Development (USAID). From 2012 to 2020, Dr. Stephan served in the U.S. Department of State as the Director of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) at the Near Eastern Affairs Bureau’s Office of Assistance Coordination.
She was the founder and Deputy Director of Data Analytics in the Executive Secretary’s Office, a strategic planner at the Global Engagement Center, a Senior Data Analyst at the Advanced Conflict Analytics Team with the Bureau of Conflict Stabilization and Operation, and the Senior Analyst for Syria and Lebanon at the Bureau of Intelligence and Research.
She is the co-editor of Women Rising: In and Beyond the Arab Spring and Beyond (2020), In Line with the Divine: The Struggle for Gender Equality in Lebanon (2015). Her academic publications cover women’s activism in Lebanon and the Middle East and the MENA community in the census.
May 18, 2021: US-Lebanon Friendship Caucus Letter to President Biden
“Now, more than ever, diplomatic engagement from the U.S. and allies is urgently needed to empower the people of Lebanon to push for constructive action in forming a democratic government as soon as possible…We cannot allow for Lebanon to fall to non-state and outside interests.”
“We urge prompt and significant U.S. action, in coordination with key international partners, to address the suffering of the Lebanese people and prevent Lebanon from economic collapse…Supporting Lebanon at this critical time is not only a humanitarian and economic imperative, but also a security necessity.”
The US-Lebanon Friendship Caucus helps guide the US House of Representatives and the United States toward stronger US-Lebanon relations.
IS YOUR HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE A MEMBER OF THE US-LEBANON FRIENDSHIP CAUCUS?
Please urge your Member of Congress to join the Caucus and help us to double the size of the Caucus this year.
If you do not know who represents you in Congress, go to www.house.gov and in the box at top right insert your zip code.
Click here for more information.
Representative Charlie Crist
Florida’s 13th Congressional District
House Appropriations Committee
Subcommittee on Defense
Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government
House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
Subcommittee on Environment
Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics
Representative Garret Graves
Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Aviation, Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment
House Natural Resources Committee
Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources
Subcommittee on Water, Power & Oceans
Representative Darrell Issa
California’s 50th Congressional District
House Judiciary Committee
Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet
Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law
House Foreign Affairs Committee
Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights
Subcommittee on International Development, International Organizations, and Global Corporate Social Impact
Representative Darin LaHood
Illinois’ 18th Congressional District
House Committee on Ways & Means
Subcommittee on Tax Policy
Subcommittee on Trade
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation (C3)
Subcommittee on Intelligence Modernization and Readiness (INMAR)
Rep. LaHood also heads 2022 fundraising efforts for the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Over the past month, as the lira continued to devaluate and the coming end of subsidies and government funds erodes the public and private health sector, the LEBANON RELIEF PROJECT has received numerous requests for supplies and equipment to save and rebuild lives. Here at ATFL, we are providing this information to you to appeal to your generosity once again to HELP LEBANON HEAL.
Thanks to the Center for Arab American Philanthropy, the Lebanon Relief Project aggregates 100% of your donation with others and provides funding to well-respected, honest, and dynamic NGOs and community organizations working to help all Lebanese throughout the country.
As of April 30, the Beirut Emergency Fund has raised over $8.9 million for hospitals, homes, and small businesses in reconstruction and rehabilitation, medical/mental health support and food distribution.
Donna Shalala Returns to Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense
Dr. Shalala, the former Secretary of Health and Human Services and US Representative, was a Founding Member of the Commission in 2014.
Fayrouz Saad Featured in Arab America’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2021
ATFL board member Fayrouz Saad is the Executive Director of Global Michigan and a member of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Cabinet. She leads economic inclusion programs for immigrant, refugee, limited English proficient, and new American communities.
Arab America’s “40 Under 40” initiative is a celebration of accomplished young Arab Americans. All awardees are under the age of 40, excel in their industry, and are engaged in promoting their heritage and culture to empower their communities and make a difference.
Click here to see more on Fayrouz and check out the other Lebanese Americans who were recognized.
Victoria Reggie Kennedy is the White House’s Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Austria
Kennedy is the co-founder and president of the board of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, and is senior counsel at Greenberg Traurig.
Ralph Nader Featured by Arab American Institute for Arab American Heritage Month
In celebration of Arab American Heritage Month, AAI produced a weekly profile of an Arab American who has made a meaningful contribution. Ralph Nader has dedicated himself to public service for the last 60 years.
Tony Shalhoub on PBS’s “Finding Your Roots”
Tony Shalhoub is a Tony Award, Golden Globe Award, and four-time Emmy Award winning actor. He was recently featured on the PBS show “Finding Your Roots” which explores the ancestry of influential people from diverse backgrounds.
Huda Zoghbi Featured in Spectrum News
Spectrum News, a leading publication on autism research, recently featured Dr. Zoghbi’s career and her breakthrough discoveries on Rett syndrome. Read the article:
Kahlil Gibran Memorial Garden Foundation
This past April marked the 90th anniversary of Kahlil Gibran’s death, and in May, the 30th anniversary of the dedication of the Kahlil Gibran Memorial Garden in Washington, DC.
Gibran’s works in painting and drawing and in philosophy and poetry continue to amplify the ideals of humanity at a time of extraordinary world needs: Peace, Inclusion, and Love.
July 25, 2021
Drowning in Corruption, Lebanon’s Water Supply Dribbles to a Halt
Opinion by Jean AbiNader
July 21, 2021
SDRs: For The People Or For The Government
Opinion by Jean AbiNader
July 16, 2021
Hiding In Plain View – No Solutions In Lebanon
Opinion by Jean AbiNader
July 7, 2021
LAF – A Great Investment For The US
Opinion by Jean AbiNader
June 24, 2021
Lebanon: The Staying Power Of The Ruling Caste, And The Stalled “WhatsApp Revolution”
Opinion by Samir Daher
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