MEI Annual Banquet

Wednesday, November 16, 2010
6:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Award Recipient - Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence

H.E. Amb. Lakhdar Brahimi

Lakhdar Brahimi is a former minister of foreign affairs of Algeria, former under-secretary general of the League of Arab States, and former under-secretary general of the United Nations. He has helped mediate numerous international conflicts, including the end of the 17-year civil war in Lebanon. After chairing the 2001 Bonn Conference, which led to the creation of Afghanistan’s first government after the fall of the Taliban, Amb. Brahimi was appointed special representative of the UN secretary general to Afghanistan. In 2004, he was appointed special envoy of the UN secretary general to Iraq, where he helped form the first national government. Amb. Brahimi is a member of “The Elders,” a group of elder statesmen and personalities formed in 2007 at the initiative of President Nelson Mandela. He is also a member of the Global Leadership Forum, as well as a senior visiting fellow at the London School of Economics.

Award Recipient - Middle East Institute Visionary Award

Esraa Abdel Fattah

Esraa Abdel Fattah is an Egyptian human rights and democracy activist. She played a key role in organizing the April 6th Youth Movement, which mobilized thousands of young people to demand political change and helped fuel the movement behind the mass protests that led to President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation in February. During these protests, she was active on the Internet, on the ground in Tahrir Square, and in the media. In addition, Ms. Abdel Fattah is a leader in various associations that promote democracy and human rights. She is the media director of the Egyptian Democratic Academy, which trains young people in media production and carries out voter registration and election monitoring.

Keynote Speaker

Deputy Secretary of State William Burns

William Burns holds the highest rank in the Foreign Service, career ambassador, and became deputy secretary of state in July 2011. Ambassador Burns served from 2008 until 2011 as under-secretary for political affairs. He was ambassador to Russia from 2005 until 2008, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs from 2001 until 2005, and ambassador to Jordan from 1998 until 2001. Ambassador Burns has also served in a number of other posts since entering the Foreign Service in 1982, including: executive secretary of the State Department and special assistant to Secretaries Christopher and Albright; minister-counselor for political affairs at the US embassy in Moscow; acting director and principal deputy director of the State Department’s policy planning staff; and special assistant to the president and senior director for Near East and South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council.