76th Annual Gala & Awards Ceremony


MEI's 2022 Annual Gala will be held on Thursday, March 16, 2023 at the Ritz Carlton in Washington, D.C. Stay tuned for more details!

View Last Year's Virtual Gala


MEI's 75th Anniversary Celebration and Awards Ceremony was broadcast online on December 16, 2021. The ceremony featured addresses from Acting Assistant Secretary of State Yael Lempert and H.E. Dr. Anwar Gargash, Diplomatic Advisor to the President of the UAE. MEI also honored Afghan women's rights advocate Fawzia Koofi and Lebanese philanthropic organization, LIFE.

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About the Awards


The Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence, endowed by the former deputy prime minister of Lebanon, was created to honor inspirational, innovative Middle Eastern individuals who are making a difference in their communities and internationally. The Middle East Institute Visionary Award recognizes an individual or organization for outstanding work in the region.

Past Award Recipients


2022

Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence

Gen. John P. Abizaid Headshot

General (ret.) John P. Abizaid

Former Commander of U.S. Central Command
Former U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
 

2021

Distinguished Global Leadership Award


H.E. Yasir Othman Al-Rumayyan

Chairman, Saudi Aramco
Governor, Public Investment Fund

Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence


LIFE

Lebanese Diaspora Philanthropic Organization

Middle East Institute Visionary Award


Fawzia Koofi

Afghan Women's Rights Activist

 

2020

Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence


Altibbi

Digital Health Platform

Middle East Institute Visionary Award


Egyptian Food Bank

Humanitarian Organization

2019

Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence


Nadine Labaki

Lebanese Actor and Director

Middle East Institute Visionary Award


Othman & Leila Benjelloun

Co-chairs of the BMCE Bank Foundation

2018

Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence


The American University of Beirut (AUB)

Institution of higher learning

Middle East Institute Visionary Award


Huda Alkhamis Kanoo

Philanthropist dedicated to arts, education, and women's empowerment

2017

Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence


Sheikha Hussa Sabah al-Salem al-Sabah

Kuwaiti art collector and curator

Middle East Institute Visionary Award


Fadi Ghandour

Social entrepreneur and philanthropist

2016

Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence


Vera Baboun

Mayor of Bethlehem Municipality

Middle East Institute Visionary Award


Syria Civil Defense

"The White Helmets"

2015

Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence


Sheika Hoor Al-Qasimi

President and Director of the Sharjah Art Foundation

Middle East Institute Visionary Award


Mohamed A. El-Erian

Chief Economic Advisor, Allianz, and Chair, President's Global Development Council

2014

Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence


Ayman Asfari

CEO of Petrofac and chairman of the Asfari Foundation

Middle East Institute Visionary Award


Shafik Gabr

Founder of the Shafik Gabr Foundation

2013

Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence


Zaha Hadid

Iraq-born architect

Middle East Institute Visionary Award


Abdlatif Al-Hamad

Kuwaiti philanthropist

2012

Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence


Dr. Hanan Ashrawi

Palestinian legislator, activist and scholar

Middle East Institute Visionary Award


Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel

President, Abdul Latif Jameel Co. Ltd.

2011

Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence


Amb. Lakhdar Brahimi

Fmr. under-secretary general of the League of Arab States

Middle East Institute Visionary Award


Esraa Abdel Fattah

Egyptian human rights and democracy activist

2010

Middle East Institute Visionary Award


Issam M. Fares

Former Deputy Prime Minister of Lebanon

2009

Middle East Institute Visionary Award


Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish

Palestinian doctor