The Middle East Institute Annual Awards Banquet recognizes and honors extraordinary individuals - in the humanities, politics, philanthropy, business and the arts - who have made a positive impact on the region. Each year the banquet brings together hundreds of Arab and American business leaders, policymakers, analysts, ambassadors, diplomats and distinguished guests for an evening of conversation and celebration.
Keynote Address by National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice
- View video, podcast, and transcript
Annual Awards Program
Zaha Hadid Awarded Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence
Amb. Marcelle Wahba presented the 2013 Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence to architect Joseph Giovannini on Hadid's behalf.
- See photos below
Abdlatif Al-Hamad Received MEI's Visionary Award
Richard Debs presented the 2013 MEI Visionary Award to Kuwaiti philanthropist Abdlatif Al-Hamad.
- See photos below
About our 2013 Honorees:
Iraq-born architect Zaha Hadid was honored in absentia with MEI’s Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence for her unique contributions to architecture and urban design. In 2004, Hadid became the first female recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize – the highest honor in the field – for her visionary projects that often experiment with new spatial concepts. Her seminal works include the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan, the MAXXI Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome, and the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games. Hadid’s London-based firm, Zaha Hadid Architects, employs 350 people and is working on projects on six continents. With a commitment to education, she is a professor at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and was recently the Eero Saarinen visiting professor of architectural design at Yale University. She is an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a fellow at the American Institute of Architecture.
Kuwaiti philanthropist Abdlatif Al-Hamad received MEI’s Visionary Award for his nearly 50 years of work promoting economic and social development, including bringing power, water, and transportation to millions across the Middle East and North Africa. He currently serves as director general and chair of the board of directors of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development. He was formerly the Minister of Finance and Minister of Planning of Kuwait, and was the director general of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. He served as a trustee on the boards of Green Cross International, the International Crisis Group, and the World Commission on Water in the 21st Century. He was also a member of the World Bank’s Middle East and North Africa Region advisory council.