On June 19, 2019, Director May Rihani was invited by Mr. Samir Haddad, director of Arabian Candles radio, and by Mr. Zouheir Abdel Haq, a philanthropist in the Arab American community. These two leaders within the Arab-American community organized her visit to Detroit and Dearborn. The three major events of the two-day program in Detroit and Dearborn were; A lecture about the Gibran Chair at a seated dinner at the Adonis restaurant where community leaders and community organizations were present.
She detailed the academic pillar of the Chair by explaining its focus on themes such as; the common ground amongst religions, the importance in dialogue among cultures, the greater value of a deeper understanding between the East and West, and the driving priority of social justice. She also spoke about the many events held under this pillar, with a focus on the symposium "Reshaping the Landscapes of Arab Thought: The Legacies of Kahlil Gibran, Ameen Rihani & Mikhail Naimy."
When she spoke about the second pillar of the Chair— the International Development pillar, she also focused on the driving concepts that are its cornerstone; Equality between men and women, reignition that diversity is an enriching dimension in our societies, and an acknowledgement that social justice is, by itself, what international development is based on. She again detailed the activities of this pillar with a focus on the Women as Partners in Progress project. Within that project, she also focused on the Hub of pioneers and leaders and the importance of this Hub as an educational tool.
In the mind of Director Rihani, what enriched this evening was the many questions that members of the audience asked. And the interaction between the audience, the speaker, and the two organizers.
In attendance were several leading figures of the Michigan's Dearborn community, the most concentrated Arab American population in the country1, including Dr. Ali Ajami, former Ambassador of Lebanon to the Ivery Coast, Lebanese poet Hala Sharara, Ms. Diana Abouali, Director of The Arab American National Museum, Ms. Amal Buydoun, Creative Manager for The Arab American National Museum, Mr. Mustafa Alomari, an Iraqi thinker and writer, Mr. Walid Gammouh, social worker and consultant for Arab American and Chaldean Council, Mr. Abbas Ahmad, a reporter for The Arab American News, Dr. Hani Badardi, Associate Professor of History at the University of Michigan- Dearborn, Ms. Ghaissa Afiouni, supervisor at Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, Mr. Ziad Naser, Director of Salun Alfan صالون الفن, and more.
This esteemed audience represented Lebanese, Iraqi, Syrian, Jordanian, Yemeni, and Palestinian members of the Arab American community.
Independent Press Agency, "الجالية العربية في ميشيغان تستضيف استاذة كرسي جبران في جامعة ميريلاند مي الريحاني" (July 7, 2019)
1 Arab American National Museum, www.aaiusa.org