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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.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Detroit Mayor Ken Cockrel Speaks at LACC Winter Leadership Luncheon; Chamber President John Akouri Requests Minority Status for Lebanese Americans

(DETROIT, MI)...The Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce hosted Detroit's new Mayor Kenneth V. Cockrel, Jr., who lead the Winter Leadership Luncheon Series as its first speaker last week. The event was sponsored by UBS/Peninsula Wealth Management Group and took place on Thursday, February 5th, at the Skyline Club located on the 28th floor of the Town Center overlooking the city's landscape. Many of the region's top business, civic and academic leaders gathered to hear the Mayor's address to Chamber officials and members.
Chamber President John Akouri presented the Mayor with a request that by executive order, he designate Lebanese American businessmen and women and their companies, to the status of Minority. This distinction would be crafted after the highly successful San Francisco model and recognize the Lebanese American community as a legal minority class afforded all the rights and benefits available to other traditional minorities under the City's contracting ordinance. Akouri noted that Detroit, along with San Francisco could lead the nation in paving the way for millions of Lebanese Americans to benefit through the minority status designation, while continuing to positively contribute to the nation’s economy. The Mayor agreed to seriously review and consider the request and to develop a working relationship with Chamber officials towards implementing such a possibility. The Chamber leadership met last fall with United States Senator Carl Levin (R-MI) and also sought of the lawmaker for a federal designation of minority status for Lebanese & Arab Americans.
ABOUT THE EVENT: The successful speaker series was launched in 2005 by President Akouri. In 2009, the Chamber will expand the series to include Media, CEO and Newsmaker programs. Past speakers at Chamber functions have included U.S. Ambassador Sam Zakhem, U.S. Senators John E. Sununu and Carl Levin, U.S. Representatives Mike Rogers, Candice Miller, Thaddeus McCotter, and Charles Boustany, Governor John H. Sununu, NASCAR Legend Bobby Rahal, NFL Great Lomas Brown, Actress/Director Nadine Labaki, Cardinal Adam Maida, Ford CEO Jacques Nasser, General Motors Chief Economist G. Mustafa Mohatarem, MSNBC News Analyst Raghida Dergham, FOX-2 News Business Editor Murray Feldman, Windsor, Canada Mayor Eddie Francis, Supreme Court Chief Justice Clifford W. Taylor, Attorney General Mike Cox, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, Wayne County Executive Robert A. Ficano, Fmr. Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, GOP National Committeeman Keith Butler, U.S. Army General Mark A. Montjar, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Kaddo, and Al Hurra Television Chief Pentagon Correspondent Joe Tabet. Additional notables who have addressed the Chamber include NBC's David Letterman, CNN's Octavia Nasr, Motown Legend Martha Reeves, Lebanese Consul General Bachir S. Tawk, Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, among others.
ABOUT THE CHAMBER: The national Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit national business organization headquartered in Michigan with members nationwide and offices in Detroit, New York, Houston, Chicago & Washington, DC. The Chamber serves to actively develop, promote and advance Lebanese American business and to enhance the economic, social, educational, trade and cultural interests by providing leadership, legislative advocacy, social and philanthropic activities, business networking, special projects and the exchange of business and information. It also seeks to promote economic growth and development, expand business opportunities and heighten awareness between the Lebanese and American communities throughout the United States and Lebanon operating as an American, Michigan-based non-profit corporation linking business professionals locally, nationally, and globally.

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