Past Events

2016 BUILDING BRIDGES AWARD DINNER HONORING ARIANNA HUFFINGTON AND CHAKER KHAZAAL




In 2016, alongside Atlantic Media’s David Bradley and News Deeply’s Lara Setrakian, Bridges of Understanding celebrated online news icon Arianna Huffington’s civic leadership with the Building Bridges Award and presented refugee rights advocate and novelist Chaker Khazaal with the inaugural Young Global Trailblazer distinction. Together, these two visionary and determined catalysts for change represent a fierce dedication to amplifying those voices that have been traditionally left unheard. And, they showcase the profound ability of storytelling to elucidate the shared human experience and foster intercultural understanding and respect.




Benefit Committee: Ambassador Dina Kawar; Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba and Mrs. Abeer Al Otaiba; and Ambassador James Smith and Dr. Janet Breslin-Smith
Leadership Contributors: A. Huda and Samia Farouki; Elizabeth and Michael Galvin; Dee and Jimmy Haslam; Ambassador Karim Kawar and Mrs. Luma Kawar; Marlene and Fred Malek; and Carrie and Alexander Vik

Select portions of the evening were presented in collaboration with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Action Campaign.

Location: The Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse, Samuel B. & David Rose Building, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza (165 West 65th Street), New York, New York 10023

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2015 BUILDING BRIDGES AWARD DINNER HONORING JULIE TAYMOR




In 2015, Bridges of Understanding recognized Julie Taymor’s myriad accomplishments with the Building Bridges Award. As the first woman in history to win a Tony Award® for Best Director, for her universally lauded work on the global phenomenon The Lion King, Taymor has thrilled audiences worldwide with her stage and screen achievements. In her field, there is perhaps no greater exemplar of intercultural understanding and sensitivity. She is respected for her deft ability to marry storytelling traditions in ways that pulsate with contemporary immediacy. And, her commitment to showcasing and furthering the artistic legacies of marginalized communities positions her as one of the most dynamically influential humanitarians of our time.




Co-Chairs: Dee and Jimmy Haslam
Benefactors: Mohammed Fairouz; A. Huda and Samia Farouki; Dee and Jimmy Haslam; Ambassador Karim and Mrs. Luma Kawar; and Marlene and Fred Malek
Patrons The Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation; Elizabeth and Michael Galvin; Happy Medium Interactive; and Mr. and Mrs. Abbas and Samar Zuaiter
Location: The Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse, Samuel B. & David Rose Building, New York, New York

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2014 BUILDING BRIDGES AWARD DINNER HONORING REEM ACRA




In 2014, fashion designer Reem Acra joined a distinguished group of past honorees in a special evening featuring Council of Fashion Designers of America CEO Steven Kolb. As an entrepreneur, Acra serves as a trailblazing icon of excellence, an empowering presence for all those who seek to turn creative dreams into tangible realities. As a designer, her vision and impeccable execution further the reputation of Lebanon and the Arab World as a collective influencing force in Western couture and beyond — shaping global perceptions of beauty and artistry. In short, she exemplifies how fashion has the power to bridge cultures and communities.




Co-Chairs: Cathie Black and Tom Harvey; Donna Pearson Chapman
Benefactors: A. Huda and Samia Farouki; Dee and Jimmy Haslam; Ambassador Karim and Luma Kawar
Patrons: Prince Alex and Princess Patricia Farman-Farmaian; Elizabeth and Michael Galvin; Soledad and Bob Hurst; and Mr. and Mrs. Robert K. Steel
Location: The Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse, Samuel B. & David Rose Building, New York, New York.

2013 BUILDING BRIDGES AWARD DINNER




In 2013, the film Girl Rising was saluted as an exemplar of Bridges of Understanding’s vision that the arts have the power to elucidate shared experiences and create truly global citizens. There is great hope in the popular movement and digital communities that have grown out of Girl Rising, challenging inequality and discrimination across the globe. These principles — gender equality, youth empowerment, compassionate global citizenship — could not be of more importance at this time of great upheaval in the Arab World. The producers Kayce Freed Jennings, Holly Gordon, and Tom Yellin accepted the award at a dinner featuring a performance by Arab American playwright Heather Raffo.




Co-Chairs: Dee Bagwell Haslam; Betsy DeVos; Samia Farouki; and Dina Habib Powell
Benefactors: Katherine and David Bradley; A. Huda and Samia Farouki; Suzanne and Fred Fehsenfeld; Goldman Sachs; Dee and Jimmy Haslam; Kathy and Al Hubbard; and Marlene and Fred Malek
Patrons: Geda and Phil Condit; April and John Delaney; Elizabeth and Michael Galvin; Ambassador Karim and Luma Kawar
Location: The Farouki Residence, McLean, Virginia

2013 Annual Conference




The Seventh Annual Conference was entitled #eARAB: Emotionalizing Arab Identity in the Digital Age.




Date: December 9, 2013
Location: The Mead Center for American Theater, Washington, DC
Patrons: Geda and Phil Condit; April and John Delaney; Elizabeth and Michael Galvin; Ambassador Karim and Luma Kawar
Notable Participants: Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times; Nina Easton, Fortune; Sabri Ben-Achour, Marketplace; Azmat Khan, Al Jazeera America; Jackie Kucinich, The Washington Post; Hermoine Macura, Faces of the Middle East; Jason Mojica, Vice News; Cathie Black, formerly, Hearst Magazines; Fatima Al-Banawi, Student, Harvard University; Sarab Al-Jijakli, NAAP National; Janet Breslin-Smith, Crosswinds Strategic Consulting; Holly Gordon, Girl Rising; Derek Goldman, Georgetown University; Catherine Filloux, Theatre Without Borders; Christopher Hibma, Sundance Institute Theatre Program; Lameece Issaq, Noor Theatre; Heather Raffo, 9 Parts of Desire; Ambassador Cynthia Schneider, Georgetown University; Alex Kennedy, Kennedy Consulting International; Pierre Dulaine, Dancing in Jaffa; Kayce Freed Jennings, The Documentary Group; Chris Plutte, Global Nomads Group; and Toni Verstandig, The Aspen Institute.
Building Bridges Award Recipient: Girl Rising

2012 Annual Conference




The Sixth Annual Conference addressed What Lies Ahead For The Middle East?




Date: December 3, 2012
Location: Meridian International Center, Washington, DC
Notable Partcipants: Hon. Dina Habib Powell, President, Goldman Sachs Foundation; HE Mohamed Tawfik, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the United States; Hon. William Taylor, Special Coordinator for Middle East Transitions, US State Department; Ambassador Martin S. Indyk, Vice President and Director of Foreign Policy, Brookings Institute; HE Marwan Muasher, Vice President of Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Murhaf Joejati, Professor, National Defense University; Rafif Jouejati, Spokeswoman, Local Coordinating Committees in Syria; and HE Nasser S. Judeh, Foreign Minister of Jordan.
Building Bridges Award Recipient: Elaine and James Wolfensohn, former President, World Bank

2011 Annual Conference




The Fifth Annual Conference focused on the Arab Spring and the ensuing challenges for the region going forward.




Date: December 6, 2011
Location: Meridian International Center, Washington, DC
Notable Participants: Jeffrey Goldberg, National Correspondent, The Atlantic; Thomas L. Friedman, Columnist, The New York Times; HE Ali Suleiman, Ambassador of Libya to the United States; Vali Nasr, Professor of International Politics, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University; Amira Yahyaoui, Tunisian Human Rights Activist and Blogger; April McClain Delaney, Washington Director, Common Sense Media; Hady Amr, Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Middle East, US Agency for International Development; Abderrahim Foukara, Washington Bureau Chief, Al-Jazeera; Marne Levine, Vice President for Global Public Policy, Facebook; and Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Professor of Political Sociology, American University in Cairo.
Building Bridges Award Recipient: Ambassador Stuart Holliday, President and CEO, Meridian International Center

2010 Annual Conference




The Fourth Annual Conference examined the many interpretations of Knowledge through Dialogue.




Date: December 2, 2010
Location: Meridian International Center, Washington, DC
Notable Participants: Nina Easton, Washington Editor at Fortune; Sarah Hillyer, Post-Doctoral
Fellow, Generations for Peace Institute at Georgetown University; Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Cordoba Movement; Chris Matthews, Host, MSNBC; HE Marwan Muasher, Vice President for Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; and James Bennet, Editor-in-Chief, The Atlantic.
Building Bridges Award Recipient: John DeGioia, President, Georgetown University

2009 Annual Conference




The Third Annual Conference explored The State of Affairs in the Middle East.




Date: December 4, 2009
Location: Meridian International Center, Washington, DC
Notable Participants: Thomas L. Friedman, Columnist, The New York Times; Justin Dargin, Dubai Initiative at Harvard University; John Delaney, Founder, CapitalSource; Michael FarrReuben Jeffery, former Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs; and HE Houda Ezra Ebrahim Nonoo, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United States.
Building Bridges Award Recipient: Michael Kaiser, President, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

2008 Annual Conference




The Second Annual Conference investigated efforts to build bridges between youth in the Arab World and the United States.




Date: October 21, 2008
Location: Meridian International Center, Washington, DC
Notable Participants: Patricia de Stacy Harrison, CEO, Corporation for Public Broadcasting; Rita King, CEO, Dancing Ink Productions; April Delaney, Washington Director, Common Sense Media; Isaac Solotaroff, Documentary Filmmaker; Astrid Stuth and Michael Schoenleber, Youth Initiative for Progress in Iraq
Building Bridges Award Recipient: Susan G. Komen

2007 Annual Conference




The Inaugural Conference explored issues concerning Islam and United States relations with the Arab World.




Date: October 16, 2007
Location: Meridian International Center, Washington, DC
Notable Participants: Hon. Dina Habib Powell, President, Goldman Sachs Foundation; Barbara Barrett, US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy; Craig Barrett, Chairman, Intel; and Henrietta Fore, Acting Administrator, USAID.