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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.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Akouri Joins World Leaders at Grand Opening of Arab American National Museum

Premiere Cultural Center Rolls Out the Red-carpet
(DEARBORN, MI)…Farmington Hills City Councilman John Akouri, an American of Lebanese-descent, joined Arab League Secretary-General Amr Mousa, Jordanian Ambassador to the US Karim Kawar, Lebanese Ambassador to the US Farid Abboud, Lybian Deputy Chief of UN Mission Abdulhamid O. Yahya and hundreds of other dignitaries and visitors from the United States and the Middle East who were gathered Thursday, May 5, to officially open the Arab American National Museum - the first dedicated solely to the preservation of Arab-American history.

Arabian horses in full regalia, jugglers, a band, dancers and drummers led the celebration for the Museum, the first of its kind to exclusively display the rich heritage and achievements of Arab Americans. A red carpet started on the steps of the Dearborn City Hall and traveled across Michigan Avenue to the Museum’s grand entrance. Guests at the civic gala reception walked across the street for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. with Amre Moussa who presided over the official opening.

Clad in Canadian marble, crowned by a dome and enriched with panels of cast-stone arabesques, tiles from Morocco and Arabic calligraphy, the Museum is exquisitely finished inside and out. The Museum will showcase the rich and diverse heritage of the Arab American community, highlighting the contributions Arabs have made and continue to make in the United States. The 38,500 square foot building on Michigan Avenue will lead visitors to a tiled fountain with artifacts from all over the U.S. and the Arab World and will preserve three main galleries.

As the first of its kind, the Museum is having an international impact. Contributors to the $15.3 million project include 22 corporations from across the country, hundreds of individuals, the state of Michigan, the National Endowment for the Humanities, a Congressional appropriation and Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Dubai. Grants and earned revenue from memberships, sales in the gift shop and leasing of spaces for special events are expected to provide the annual operating budget of just more than $2 million.
10 Facts About The Museum
1. It is the first of the country's 15,000 museums devoted exclusively to Arab-American culture.
2. Hundreds of individuals, state and federal grants, 22 corporations and even several Arab nations funded the $15.3 million cultural center.
3. It is an offspring of Dearborn's Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services.
4. The building exterior blends clean, modern lines with Arabic calligraphy, a dome and cast-stone arabesques.
5. Exhibits contain 100 interactive elements, including a map that covers all 22 Arab nations.
6. Ground-floor cases display contributions of the Arab world to music, mathematics, medicine and law.
7. The second level is devoted to the three-part themed core show: "Coming to America," "Living in America" and "Making an Impact."
8. Museum director Anan Ameri interviewed Arab Americans across the country to get material for the exhibits.
9. Some 500 artifacts that give substance to the displays were all donated.
10. The museum houses a 158-seat auditorium, a library, an art gallery, classrooms, meeting facilities and a museum shop.

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">