JOHN AKOURI NEWSBLOG

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Location: Birmingham, MI, United States

Councilman John Akouri, former Washington, DC Press Secretary & Capitol Hill Advisor, is President & CEO of the Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce.

Monday, July 30, 2007

LEBANESE ARMY DAY CELEBRATION

Friday, July 27, 2007

Personal Letter of Thanks from Lebanese Festival General Chairman to All who Participated in LEBFEST '07!

Dear Sponsors, Partners, Staff, Volunteers, Diplomats, Business & Civic Leaders, Performers, Vendors, Promoters, Press, Clergy and Festival-goers:
I wish to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for your unparalleled support for this year's LEBFEST! As you know, Lebanon has always been a refuge, an open home, for different religions, nationalities, and peoples. And as southeast Michigan is home to so many Lebanese, LEBFEST! offered not only a day for us to gather and rejoice in the splendor of our rich culture, heritage and traditions - but to also share these treasures with the thousands whom attended, both Lebanese and non-Lebanese alike.
The beauty of downtown Birmingham reminded so many of us of our beloved Lebanese capital Beirut. I am pleased to tell you that city officials and business leaders from across Birmingham welcomed LEBFEST! with great enthusiasm and have already begun working with us to plan next year's festival. We extend to them our gratitude for their partnership and appreciate their tireless efforts to accommodate all of us in Shain Park.
And it goes without say the multitude of thanks we send to both our Festival Grand Marshall and our Festival Host Committee Chairman Paul W. Smith. Their leadership, coupled with the selfless work and dynamic support of Team:LEBFEST, the 2007 Festival Co-chairs, the Festival Host Committee Members, and our College & University Ambassadors, proved to be immeasurable.
To me, LEBFEST! was a dream whose seeds were rooted long ago. And, to see this dream come full bloom was personally rewarding and I am eternally grateful to all who nourished and helped fuel the realization of this dream. LEBFEST! could not have happened without the generous contributions of so many including each and everyone of you - and of course, The Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce.
Again my friends, thank you and may God bless you.
Warmest personal regards,
Councilman John Akouri
LEBFEST! General Chairman

Thursday, July 26, 2007

In Pictures: LEBFEST 2007! Thousands Turn Out to Enjoy First-ever Lebanese Festival

Dignitaries arriving before the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
(From l to r): Festival Host Committee Member Abe Karam, Dearborn Heights District Judge David Turfe, Birmingham Principal Shopping District Director John Heiney, Birmingham Concerts In the Park Chairperson June McGregor, Festival Chairman John Akouri, Lebanese Consul General Bachir Tawk, Warren City Clerk Richard Sulaka, 2007 Festival Grand Marshall, Festival Co-Chair, Al Long Ford President Tarik Daoud, Oakland Probate Judge Linda Saoud Hallmark, Festival Host Committee Co-Chair Renee Ahee.
(Not pictured but present): State Representative Chuck Moss, Circuit Court Judge David Allen, United American Lebanese Federation President Walid Mourad, Wayne County Executive Robert A. Ficano Senior Advisor Wassim Mahfouz, Michigan House of Representatives Policy Analyst Kenwah Dabaja, Jordanian Consul General Habib Fakhoury, American Jewish Committee Director Sharona Shapiro, Armenian Assembly of America Edgar Hagopian, Turkish American Cultural Association of Michigan President Didem Seyhoglu, Michigan Food & Beverage Association President Ed Deeb, Festival Co-Chairs: Lew Ansara, Samar Ghorayeb & Julie Oldani, and the LEBFEST 07! College Ambassadors.
Detroit Superstar Karen Newman sings the US National Anthem
Celebrated crooner Usama Baalbaki performs the Lebanese National Anthem
Ashley Peters extraordinary rendition of America the Beautiful

Councilman John Akouri, General Chairman receives the Key to the City
Dignitaries officially cutting the ribbon to launch LEBFEST!
Lana, Lalena & Nashita of Detroit Bellydance
Performers wowed the audience
General view of Shain Park - during the 2007 Lebanese Festival

Jimmy A. and his Rat Pack Rollers

Amalia Kaddo & her Mediterranean Music Ensemble

Layalina Folk Dance Troupe

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

WELCOME TO LEBFEST!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

LEBFEST Celebrity Preview Party Pictures








Monday, July 23, 2007

Countdown to LEBFEST begins...

On behalf of
The Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce
Councilman John Akouri
Invites you to bring your friends & family and join us at
lebfest '07
The First Annual Lebanese Festival
Shain Park - Downtown Birmingham
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
10:00 AM - 10:00 PM

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Akouri Applauds Issa, Boustany on Co-sponsoring House Resolution in Support of Lebanon


(Pictured l-r): Akouri, Ackerman, Boustany
(WASHINGTON, DC) - Fmr. Capitol Hill Senior Advisor John Akouri applauds the continued support of Lebanese American Congressmen Darrel Issa (R-CA) & Dr. Charles Boustany (R-LA) towards Lebanon. Introduced by US Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) the bipartisan House Resolution 548 expresses the support of the United States House of Representatives for Lebanon's government, and affirms continued U.S. readiness to provide material and economic assistance in order to help protect Lebanese sovereignty and independence. Condemning Syria and Iran for their ongoing roles in providing arms to Lebanese militias, particularly Hezbollah, and Palestinian factions, the resolution calls for "prompt action" by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon established by the UN Security Council.
"What's been happening in Lebanon is aggression in the classic sense of the word" Ackerman said. "What we have been seeing is not an ordinary political stand-off, but rather a concerted effort by Syria, Iran and their Lebanese proxies to prevent the creation of a genuinely sovereign, democratically governed and non-confrontational Lebanon. The current Lebanese government is both legitimate and representative of the majority of Lebanese. The attempts to undermine it through a campaign of assassinations, rioting and demonstrations, bombings in public places, threats to establish an alternative extra-constitutiona l government, and the instigation of a jihadi insurgency are not responses to anything the Lebanese government has done" Ackerman insisted.
“The people of Lebanon deserve the support of the United States,” said Boustany . “Often times the democratically-elected government of Lebanon is overlooked by our country, as we continue to support other regional allies. U.S. foreign policy needs to be more balanced throughout this region, and Lebanon is a key ally in this pursuit. Be assured, I will continue to educate my colleagues on the importance of Lebanon to U.S. interests.”
In addition to Issa and Boustany, the resolution is also co-sponsored by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), the ranking Republican on the Middle East panel and Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Noting the growing prospects for a political crisis, or even the return of civil war, Ackerman, the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, has scheduled a hearing in two weeks to bring more attention to events in Lebanon.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

PRESS RELEASE / MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LEBFEST ’07 – The 2007 Lebanese Festival
A World-class Celebration of Heritage, Culture & Art
(BIRMINGHAM, MI/USA) - The Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce & Lebanese Monthly Magazine in association with The Lebanese Festival Company are pleased to present The 2007 Lebanese Festival – A Vibrant World-class Celebration of Heritage, Culture & Art at Shain Park in Downtown Birmingham.
The first annual all-day event – also known as a ‘Mahrajan’ – will take place on Wednesday, July 25, 2007 from 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM and feature: specialty food booths offering tasty Lebanese cuisine and American fare; Artisans, Crafters and Lebanese merchandise tents; a Children’s Fun & Play area; a live concert with Mediterranean Music, Layalina Folkdancing Troupe & Detroit Bellydance; a traditional Ethnic Bazaar & Market; and the nearby Community House Outdoor Café with fine wine & dining.
The Baalbeck-style live concert on the Paramount Bank Stage will present ‘An Evening of Lebanese Stars’ under the Birmingham skies, with a special appearance by Detroit superstar Karen Newman from the Detroit Red Wings singing the US National Anthem, and feature Jimmy A & his Rat Pack Rollers, the International Folkdance Troupe Layalina, known throughout the US & Canada, Detroit Bellydance featuring Lana, teenage singing sensation Ashley Peters, Lebanese crooner Usama Baalbaki, who will delight the audience with a medley of Lebanese Patriotic songs, and headlining the evening will be Lebanese diva Amalia Kaddo & her Mediterranean Music Ensemble. Scheduled to appear to officially cut the ribbon to open the concert is Detroit Pistons Great Vinnie Johnson.
Festival-goers will savor the sights, sounds, and tastes of Everything Lebanese! Admission is free as are the first two hours of structure parking. LEBFEST! is part of the City’s "In the Park" 25th Anniversary summer concert series. Shain Park is located in beautiful downtown Birmingham and is situated amongst Bates, Merrill, Martin, and Henrietta Streets. Guests are encouraged to bring a chair or blanket to sit on to enjoy the live concert, which begins at 5:00 pm. For more information please log onto http://www.lebanesefestival.org/.
Festival Eve will bring an exclusive Preview Party to Baci Salon & Spa in Birmingham. This star-studded event and champagne reception will include an exhibit of great new works by renown Lebanese American Artist Stephen Deeb. Patrons can expect celebrity sightings with the presence of several Detroit sports figures; dine on delicious Lebanese culinary hors d'oeuvres, courtesy of Lebanese Grill and tantalizing desserts from nearby Cameron’s & Mitchell’s restaurants; all while listening to the soothing sounds of Internationally Acclaimed Harpist Diane Dunn. Much more awaits guests as they receive a guided tour of Michigan’s hottest new upscale Salon & Spa at this VIP gathering. Guests will include Sponsors, Staff and Volunteers; Chamber Members & Associates; Michigan Business & Civic Leaders, International Diplomats, and other supporters at this By-Invitation-Only spectacular event.
-END-

Thursday, July 12, 2007

US Presidential Candidate Rudolph Giuliani Meets with Lebanese Christian Leaders in Michigan

MICHIGAN/USA: 2008 Presidential Candidate Rudolph Giuliani poses for a photograph with John Akouri, Chairman & CEO of the Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce
Councilman John Akouri & Chamber Delegation pose with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
BIRMINGHAM, MI - Former New York City Mayor & 2008 Presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani met today with a delegation of Lebanese Christian Leaders at The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, Michigan, USA. Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce (LACC) Chairman & CEO John Akouri led the delegation. Akouri welcomed Giuliani back to Michigan and thanked him and George for suggesting the meeting. Topics in the morning discussions included:
  • The current situation in Lebanon and the need to maintain a strong Christian presence especially with respect for the Lebanese Constitution calling for the President of Lebanon to be Christian.
  • The call for safe and secure borders with Lebanon's neighbors, mainly Israel and Syria and the respect of Lebanon's sovereignty and an end to Syrian interference in Lebanese matters.
  • The need to maintain continued support for both the current Lebanese government in Beirut with increased support to the Lebanese Army fighting Al-Qaida inspired terrorists Fatah al-Islam, near the northern port city of Tripoli - ancestral hometown of Akouri's family.
  • The immediate and unconditional release and return of all Lebanese detainees, POW's & MIA's currently being held in Syria - some for over 30 years.
  • The disarmament of Hezbollah and support for the United Nations Peace-keepers patrolling the southern border.
  • The senseless assassinations of elected official, journalists, Members of Parliament and Ministers in Lebanon
  • The plight of all Christians in the Middle East - specifically Iraq's dwindling Christian population of Chaldeans and Assyrians, including the tens of thousands whom have fled to Lebanon to escape the War.
Akouri informed Giuliani of the over 3 million Americans of Middle Eastern descent with the majority being Lebanese. In terms of building coalitions, Akouri stressed the importance of such a key demographic and in today's world a very strategic constituency. Mayor Giuliani thanked the delegation for the meeting noting he gained considerable knowledge and information. He also said that he would consider naming a Lebanese American to fill a Cabinet post in a Giuliani Administration. Past Presidential Cabinet Members of Lebanese-descent in the United States have included Health & Human Services Secretary Dr. Donna Shalala during the Clinton Administration and Energy Secretary E. Spencer Abraham during the Bush Administration.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

PHOTOGRAPHS FROM BIRTHDAY WEEK CELEBRATIONS

JOHN AKOURI ONLINE NEWSROOM 'We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity. We will not tire, or rest, until the war on terror is won.' -- PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH Add to end of above"line without paranthesis when wanting to loop sound (( loop="-1">