Tuesday, November 14
Capital Hilton Hotel
Washington, DC


  • Details
  • Conference


The Middle East Institute's signature event brings together hundreds of top officials, analysts, and business leaders representing a diverse cross-section of the Middle East-focused community for an evening of conversation and celebration to honor outstanding humanitarian, political, cultural, or economic contributions to the region.

The banquet will begin with a cocktail reception, which will be followed by a dinner and auction. The award presentations and a word from each of the awardees will conclude the night, leading into the next day's conference.

Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence

Sheikha Hussa Sabah al-Salem al-Sabah

Cultural educator, lifelong learner, art connoisseur

As founder and director-general of Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah, Sheikha Hussa is dedicated to communicating culture through art. Her organization promotes arts and cultural education across the globe through curated exhibitions of her collection of Islamic art--the largest such collection in the world.

MEI Visionary Award

Fadi Ghandour

Change maker, social entrepreneur, philanthropist

An experienced businessman committed to encouraging social entrepreneurship, Fadi Ghandour is the Founder and Chairman of Ruwwad for Development. Ruwwad is a private sector-led community empowerment initiative that helps disadvantaged communities across the region overcome marginalization through activism, civic engagement, education and financial inclusion.

Master of Ceremonies

Ahmed Ahmed

Conversation starter, comedian, bridge builder

Egyptian-American comedian and director Ahmed Ahmed is passionate about fostering cultural and religious understanding through comedy. His directorial debut, Just Like Us, follows Ahmed and ten American comedians as they perform for Arab and Muslim audiences across the Middle East. The award-winning documentary was applauded for its effort to break down cultural barriers.