John Akouri Newsblog


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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.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Make a Noble Gift

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Great Doctor Christian Ministry Comes to Detroit

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hundreds Turn Out to Network at Lebanese Chamber Event

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Historic Hotel St. Regis to Host Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce Third Quarter Networking Event & Business Mixer

UPCOMING EVENT! - The Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce (LACC) is pleased to announce its Third Quarter Networking Event & Business Mixer in conjunction with the recent re-grand opening of the Hotel St. Regis in the New Center Area of Downtown Detroit. The Event will take place on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 from 6:00 - 9:00 pm. Through special arrangement, the LACC tempts you to go 'Behind the Scenes' this Autumn on an exclusive guided tour with host Fadi Achour, General Manager of the newly renovated Hotel St. Regis! The historic hotel has a significant connection with the Lebanese community in so many ways: Back in 1979 the Hotel played host to what would be the future President of Lebanon Cheikh Amine Gemayel who stayed there on a working visit to the United States; the Hotel neighbors the Lebanese Consulate Offices in Detroit where a large flag of the Republic of Lebanon flies proudly for all to see; and overseeing the renovation and currently managing the overall operations is the Hotel's Lebanese-born General Manager Fadi Achour. The over $3M refurbishment of this Michigan landmark is now the inn place to be downtown - bringing sexy back by recalling the original's stately elegance but with a modern, more casual style. Few Detroit hotels can rightfully boast of a history as rich the St. Regis, which has played host to such diverse and notable travelers as Martin Luther King and Mick Jagger to name a few. EVERYONE is welcome to attend this FREE LACC Event and savor the Hotel's Motown-themed La Musique Restaurant's mouth watering hors d'oeuvres, meet and network with Detroit's movers & shakers, tour the new exclusive guest suites & ballrooms, sample an in-house wine tasting, and receive fun giveaways and 'sur-prize' gifts - courtesy of our sponsors. Bring your business cards and come hear the Hotel's inside story at this one-of-a kind briefing!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Friends of Lebanon in DC, EU, & Arab World Should Encourage the Lebanese Factions to Elect a President Who Will Stand Up for Lebanon's Independence

Dying For Self-rule in Lebanon
September 22, 2007
BOSTON GLOBE EDITORIAL: When Antoine Ghanem, a member of the Lebanese Parliament, was assassinated Wednesday in a horrific car bombing, he became the eighth anti-Syrian legislator to be killed since the murder of former prime minister Rafik Hariri in 2005. To members of the March 14 Movement, an anti-Syrian coalition, there is no mystery about the ultimate power behind these murders, or the motive.
"Gangsterism on this scale may sound too brazen to be believable, but those familiar with the ways of the Syrian regime know otherwise."
Leaders of the March 14 coalition - Sunni Muslim, Christian, and Druze - have accused the Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad of Ghanem's murder. A United Nations tribunal is investigating the killing of Hariri and other anti-Syrian figures, and the coalition has asked the panel to take up this latest car bombing as well. The assumed motive is crudely political: to kill enough lawmakers in Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's anti-Syrian coalition to deprive it of a parliamentary majority. The benefit for Syria would be preventing legislators from electing a new president who, unlike current President Emile Lahoud, would not be in thrall to Damascus.
Gangsterism on this scale may sound too brazen to be believable, but those familiar with the ways of the Syrian regime know otherwise. Before being killed, Rafik Hariri told friends that Assad threatened him in person, warning that if Hariri did not do Syria's bidding, Assad would break Lebanon over his head. The point of such crude methods is to use fear and intimidation to magnify the power of the ruling clique in Damascus.
Any Lebanese politician or journalist who might want to take a stand against Syrian domination of Lebanon will be aware of all those compatriots in the past who stood up to Assad or his father, Hafez, and were murdered. In addition to Hariri, the list includes onetime Maronite Christian President Bashir Gemayel, former Druze leader Kemal Jumblatt, the journalist Gibran Tueni, and many others across the political spectrum.
It may be too much to hope that Ghanem's murder will become a last straw even for Lebanon's pro-Syrian factions. But this crime appears so scornful of Lebanese sovereignty that even some of those factions felt compelled to denounce it. The most powerful of these, the Shi'ite movement Hezbollah, decried the latest car bombing as "a blow to the country's security and stability as well as any attempt at reconciliation and hope toward reaching a political consensus."
This alludes to the need for consensus on the next president. Parliament is to convene Tuesday to begin the election process, and lawmakers have until Nov. 24 to agree on a candidate. Pro-Syrian forces can block the election by boycotting it, since a two-thirds quorum is needed for a valid vote. Friends of Lebanon in Washington, Europe, and the Arab world should encourage the Lebanese factions to elect a president who will stand up for Lebanon's independence.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Lebanese Christians & Muslims Gather Together to Share in Ramadan Iftar

DEARBORN - Lebanese Business, Civic, Media and Religious leaders joined together last night to share in a ceremonial Iftar - the daily meal in which Muslims break their sunrise-to-sunset fast during the holy month of Ramadan. The event was hosted by leaders of The Movement for Lebanon's Future and under the auspices of esteemed cleric Imam Mohamad Mardini of the American Muslim Center.
Over 300 people filled the Byblos Banquet Center's Grand Ballroom with special guests at the event that included: Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce CEO John Akouri, United Lebanese Amercian Federation President Walid Mourad, Michigan District Court Judge Honorable David Turfe, and Founder of Rabih Mogharbel, who was in town from Virginia.
As a Member of the Farmington Hills City Council, Akouri hosted an Iftar at the seat of municipal government in the council chambers of City Hall for the first time ever in 2003. The event offered a unique opportunity for people of all faiths to reaffirm their common brotherhood as human beings.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Statement on the Assassination of Lebanese MP Antoine Ghanem

In response to press inquiries today, the following statement was released by Councilman John Akouri, an American of Lebanese Christian descent, on today's brutal murder of Lebanese MP Antoine Ghanem.
"We see today yet another attempt by the Syrian regime and its divine agents in Lebanon to destabilize and destroy any hope for the future of Lebanon and its people. The morning scenes coming out of Beirut have become all too familiar, not only for the people of Lebanon, but for the world. Assassins may kill those democratically elected and in staunch opposition to the Syrian agenda and return of its hegemony over Lebanon, but they cannot assassinate the will and spirit of the Lebanese people to live in a truly free, independent and sovereign Lebanon. My prayers go out to the wife and family of MP Antoine Ghanem"
Councilman John Akouri
Fmr. Capitol Hill Senior Advisor & Press Secretary to US Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-MI)

RIP Deputy Antoine Ghanem, Lebanese Member of Parliament

(NEWSROOM) - Today, the Newsroom mourns the death of His Excellency, Deputy Antoine Tawfik Ghanem, Esq., who was brutally murdered this morning along with five others, in an all too familiar scene. A massive explosion occurred in the Sin el-Fil neighbourhood in the eastern suburbs of the Lebanese capital and television footage showed several burnt-out and twisted cars, black smoke from cars still ablaze, facades of buildings wrecked, shattered glass, and bodies on the streets due to the brutal and cowardly attack.
The United States has denounced the car bombing and vowed to help build democracy in Lebanon. "The United States strongly condemns this attack and we will continue to stand with those in Lebanon who are fighting for a free and democratic country," said White House national security spokesman Gordon Johndroe.
A former Professor at the Faculty of Business Administration at Lebanese University - Second Section, the country's newest martyr was elected as Maronite Deputy of Mount Lebanon's Third District in 2005 and to the Parliament in 2000. The staunchly anti-Syrian Parliamentarian, a member of the Lebanese Phalanges Kataeb Party, was born in Tahouitet Furn Al Shubbak, Ain Al Roumane in 1943, and at the time of his assassination was 64 years old.
MP Saad Hariri blamed the Antoine Ghanem killing on the "cowardly regime" of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Druze leader Walid Jublatt said Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime is behind MP Antoine Ghanem's assassination, pledging that "we will not succumb to Bashar Assad's threat."
The Newsroom extends its deepest sympathy and sincerest condolences to the Deputy's wife Ms. Lola Neeme and his four children.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Classic Lebanese Zajal Featuring Two of Lebanon's Greatest Maestro's: Zuglool Damour & Wadih El-Safi

"A religion that divides is not a religion"
Circa early 1970's - with a shout-out to tarik1290 for this oldie!

Art Opening in Ferndale by Lebanese Artist Stephen Deeb

Lebanese Minister of Tourism The Honorable Joe Sarkis Visits Washington, DC

(WASHINGTON, DC)...Lebanese Minister of Tourism The Honorable Mr. Joseph (Joe) Sarkis will be visiting Washington, DC the week of September 17th. During Mr. Sarkis’ brief stay in DC, he plans to hold meetings with US administration officials, with Members of Congress and with Policy Institutes in Washington to discuss ways and means of assisting Lebanon on its path to long-term stability, freedom, and sovereignty. He will also meet with the local Lebanese-American community, with the Lebanese diplomats stationed in Washington and with the Lebanese and Arab media.

Friday, September 14, 2007


His Excellency, Cheikh Bachir Gemayel
The 7th President of the Republic of Lebanon
Bashir Gemayel shared the dream of Lebanon as an oasis of freedom and equality. In a few days as President elect, his clear vision and national resolve transcended sectarian lines and allowed him to captivate the nations heart. Regretfully, he was assassinated by the barbaric forces of darkness and intolerance on September 14th, 1982.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Thursday, September 06, 2007

R.I.P. Maestro

1936 - 2007
"I think a life in music is a life beautifully spent and this is what I have devoted my life to." - Luciano Pavarotti
LOOKING BACK - World famous Opera star Luciano Pavarotti performed a one-off open-air concert in Lebanon on Saturday June 12, 1999 with the 64-member Prague Philharmonic Orchestra at the Beirut Sports City Stadium - a wartime landmark which became a prominent symbol of postwar reconstruction in Lebanon. The concert was billed as a historic event to mark Lebanon's emergence from the fifteen-year civil war that had ended in 1990. This was his first and only performance in the entire Middle East and was organized by the Beirut Festival Committee, Murr TV, and Future TV. As was expected the event drew huge numbers, nearly twenty-thousand people, not only from Lebanon but also from abroad. At the time, his spokesman said that Pavarotti had been hoping to appear in Beirut for the past four years. 'The King of the High C's' was scheduled to perform in the country in September of 1998. His representatives said then that there was always a reason those plans had fallen through. But they reassured those gathered at a pre-concert press conference that Pavarotti was looking forward to singing in Lebanon and seeing the progress that had been achieved in the country. "He's very excited to come here," said his spokesman. The concert took place during the year 1999 when the Lebanese capital was declared by UNESCO as the cultural capital of the Arab world. Speakers at that news conference stressed the event would mark another sign of confidence in Lebanon. (Photo shows Pavarotti performing in Beirut.)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce - Houston Office Meets with US Presidential Candidate Duncan Hunter

HOUSTON - Dr. Hamid Kantara, head of the Houston Office of the Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce (LACC), along with a delegation from the American Lebanese National Mission (ALNM) and the Lebanese Youth Bridges (LYB), visited recently with US Presidential Candidate Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) in Austin, Texas. Moderated by Dr. Kantara, the delegation discussed the ongoing crisis in Lebanon and asked the Congressman for his support of the Lebanese people and their efforts to secure true democracy and independence beyond 2008. Members of the delegation included Dr. Mazin Moufarij, Dr Clair Lakkis, Chadi Dirani, Elsy Oueiss, Rita Mokbel, Fadi Hajj and Wissam Habchi.
The meeting with Congressman Hunter was very positive and promising. The delegation relayed key issues to the Congressman and clarified items of interest. Hunter stands firm on issues related to Homeland Security and Border Patrol. “We were very pleased with the content and direction of the meeting,” said Dr. Kantara. “We are thankful for the opportunity to have private time with a Presidential candidate. LACC and ALNM continue to work diligently to reach officials and agencies at the highest possible level to create commitments and partnerships aimed to secure a better future for our community here and our homeland across the seas.”

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Lebanese Member of Parliament Representing Tripoli District Visits the United States; Meets with Key Lebanese Leaders in Houston, Detroit & Boston

NATIONAL - Lebanese Leaders across the country welcomed an official visit by the Honorable Dr. Moustafa Allouch, a Member of Parliament in the government of Lebanon. Following a leadership conference held in Houston alongside former US Ambassador to Bahrain Sam Zakhem, the Future Movement Deputy travelled to Detroit to meet with key leaders in the diaspora. At a welcoming reception hosted by Acting Consul General of Lebanon to Detroit Bachir Tawk in the city of Birmingham - recent site of LEBFEST 07! The Lebanese Festival, Dr. Allouch spoke briefly on the current situation in the Middle East. In addition to Tawk, those in attendance at the invitation-only dinner included: Councilman John Akouri, Publisher of Lebanese Monthly Magazine; Mr. & Mrs. Michael Mammish, American University of Beirut Chapter President; Mr. & Mrs. Osman Minkara, League for Economic Empowerment President; Mr. & Mrs. Brahim Marji, representing the Kataeb Party of North America; Mr. & Mrs. Walid Nassif, representing the Future Youth Movement in the USA; Mr. Marwan Francis, Second Secretary at the Lebanese Embassy in Washington, DC; Mr. Kamal Shouhayib of the American Druze Society; Messrs. Chawki Gemayel & Tony Malouf and their spouses, of the Lebanese American Club of Michigan; among many other prominent and influential Lebanese Americans.

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">