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.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

NEWS BRIEFS: Vatican Newspaper Highlights Work of Sister Marie Keyrouz, Scholarly Singing Lebanese Nun

(VATICAN CITY)...The March 25 edition of L’Osservatore Romano includes an interview with Sister Marie Keyrouz, founder and president of the International Institute of Sacred Chant in Paris. Sister Keyrouz, who was raised a Maronite Catholic, is a member of the Congregation of the Basilian Couetires, a Melkite Greek Catholic religious order. She performs Gregorian, Byzantine, and other Eastern rite chants and received her doctorate in religious musicology and anthropology from Sorbonne University in Paris. Click here to read the article: Intervista a suor Marie Keyrouz: Musica a somiglianza dell'Autore. For more information on Sr. Keyrouz please visit:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

IN PICTURES: Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce March Power Lunch Featuring Surprise Appearance by HBO Ringside Boxing Commentator Emmanuel Steward

(STERLING HEIGHTS, MI)...The Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce (LACC) held its monthly President’s ‘Power Lunch’ today at Ike's Lebanese Restaurant, gathering some of the region’s top business and civic leaders including: captains of industry, chief executives, financial gurus, medical & legal experts, academic heads, successful entrepreneurs, and fast-growing young professionals. This highly anticipated series is an extension of the Leadership Luncheon program, which was spearheaded in 2006 by LACC President & CEO John Akouri, and features prominent elected officials and decision-makers from throughout the country. At today's event, Hall of Famer & HBO ringside sports announcer Emmanuel Steward, made a surprise appearance to the luncheon, orchestrated by Akouri. Among the world champions who have trained or sought the legendary boxing manager's guidance at some point of their career include Thomas Hearns, Oscar de la Hoya, Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis. Steward achieved his most notable success with welterweight Hearns, whom he changed from a light hitting boxer into a devastating puncher. Hearns became one of Steward's most successful and popular fighters, fighting Sugar Ray Leonard, knocking out Roberto Duran, and challenging undisputed Middleweight Champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler in a fight known as The War. Akouri & Steward's friendship dates back twenty years to when Akouri first interviewed Steward live on television from the famous Kronk Gym in the late 1980's.
In addition to Akouri and Steward, luncheon guests included: Bunkspeed Executive Creative Director Sam Ajluni, Andary Real Estate Chairman Fred Andary, Ansara Restaurant Group (Big Boy/ Red Robin) Vice President & LACC Chairman of the Board Lew Ansara, Atrient, Inc., Founder & CEO Sam Attisha, St. John Hospital & Medical Center Internal Medicine Specialist Dr. Richard Cross (Saliba), The Long Family Auto Center President/Owner & Detroit Philanthropist Tarik Daoud, Consulate of Macedonia Consul General & Chief Diplomat His Excellency Igor Dukoski, St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Troy, Parish Council Member Ghassan Elian, Chrysler Executive Awni Fakhoury, OYK Engineering & Construction President Fred M. Hadid, NSK-Warner U.S.A., Inc. President George Habbouche, Michigan Mortgage Brokers Association Past President Steve Hagar, Metro East Chamber of Commerce Chairman Maroun Hakim, Esq., French American Chamber of Commerce President Robert Hudson, Esq., Signature Associates Retail Division Vice President Daniel T. Jacob, Former Detroit FBI Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge & Kerby, Bailey & Associates Vice-President Bill Kowalski, DDS, J-Mack Investigative & Security Solutions & Former Mount Clemens Police Chief Joe Macksoud, Matta Restaurant Group President & CEO (Dennys) Walid Matta, Paramount Bank Executive Vice-President Louis J. Peters, Jr., Peninsula Wealth Management Group/UBS First Vice-President Ron Pruette, Channel 7 Action News Financial Survival Team Analyst Jack Riashi, Wayne County Sheriff Commander Sammy Rizkallah, Seikaly & Stewart Law Firm Partner William R. Seikaly, Esq., ACN, Inc. Vice President of Customer Operations Claude Semaan, Michigan District Court Officer/Bailiff Gregory J. Saffady, and Chrysler NVH Development Laboratory Manager Elie Tohme.
The President’s Power Lunch series is an exclusive meeting designed to create new rules and new avenues for powerful impact in the region and business world. It is about bringing business leaders together to discuss current and future goals while forging tangible relationships that turn networking into substantial gains for Chamber members, associates and the business community. The goals and objectives of the Chamber’s new luncheon series are focused at achieving business objectives well beyond foremost organizations and prime individuals across the nation. These structured business goals are aggressive and participants are part of the power of working together to further deliver the mission and contribute to the overall growth and advancement of the national Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Kronk Gym Foundation to Hold First Annual Fundraiser at Townsend Hotel in Birmingham; Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns & Aretha Franklin to Appear

(BIRMINGHAM, MI)...Where will Aretha Franklin be celebrating her birthday this coming Wednesday? Where will Philip Anselmo of the platinum-selling world renowned, Pantera and Down, be partying loud and proud? Where will Jim Lampley of HBO fame be the master emcee? Answer: The Kronk Foundation's mega fundraiser. It will be Metro Detroit's biggest bash, and it will pack quite a punch. It will be a great, fun-filled event - loaded with celebrities, good food, even better wine and all sorts of goodies at a live and silent auction. But act quickly: The tickets are going fast. If you want to assuage your guilt, remember this - it's for fabulous cause: The Kronk Gym and the good work it does. It is internationally known for turning out champion boxers. Its founder, Emanuel Steward, has become a legend of the ring. But fewer people know all the good work Kronk does for the youth of Metro Detroit, helping to instill in them a sense of pride and respect for their community.
To celebrate its storied history and to raise money so it can help even more kids, The Kronk Gym Foundation is holding its first annual fundraiser on Wednesday, March 25, 2009, at the Townsend Hotel, in Birmingham, MI. The proceeds from this event will help expand youth activities, which will be housed in the new Kronk Gym. Since its founding in 1969, the Kronk Gym has provided a recreational outlet for many youngsters in the metropolitan Detroit area. Through the coaching and guidance they received, some of these youths went on to become world-class athletes. More of them became world-class citizens. To perpetuate this legacy, Emanuel Steward created the Kronk Gym Foundation this year, a nonprofit organization committed to making a difference in the well-being of youth through character-building, education and recreation. The program's goal is to provide recreational facilities, in addition to mentoring and tutoring, for the overall development of youth in Metro Detroit. Emanuel Steward says, "For many youngsters who have unfortunate home lives, the Kronk Gym and its programs are crucial. They are the difference between a life on the streets and a life of accomplishment."
The fund-raiser will be a fun-filled event, with plenty of celebrities, dinner, good wine and a live and silent auction. Special awards will be given to people who have shown the caring side of the boxing and sporting worlds. Among the recipients will be Sugar Ray Leonard, Detroit's own Thomas Hearns, Roger Penske, Don Barden, twin brothers Pete and Nick Spanakos (who together captured more than 30 boxing titles), former Michigan Boxing Commissioner and boxing humanitarian Dr. Stuart Kirschenbaum, John Oden (author of "White Collar Boxing"), long-time Kronk supporter Sam Lafata, David Farbman President, CEO and founder of Outside Hub, among others. The live auction will feature items sure to turn the head of boxing fans: a one-of-a-kind boxing robe, autographed by boxing legends and several pairs of autographed boxing gloves signed by Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquaio, Wladimir Klitschko and other champions. There will also be priceless experiences to bid upon.
Honorary chairs for the event are the current Heavyweight Champion of the World Wladimir Klitschko and former Heavyweight Champion Lennox Lewis. Sponsors include former Detroit Red Wing Igor Larionov, whose private label wines will be featured at the reception; Italmoda, the Eurostyle furniture store in Royal Oak; and Bentley of Troy, where you don't have to sacrifice quality, luxury or reliability. The VIP Reception will begin at 6:00 p.m. The general reception and silent auction will start at 6:30 p.m. Ticket are $500 for the VIP reception ($5,000 for VIP tables) and $200 for individual tickets. They can be purchased at or by calling (248) 917-1793. Donations for the auctions are still being accepted. It's a good way to gain exposure for your company, while doing a good deed for the community.

Friday, March 20, 2009

St. Elias Maronite Catholic Church's Cultural Festival Set For April 17-18, 2009

(ALABAMA)...11th Annual Saint Elias Lebanese Food and Cultural Festival, April 17-18, Birmingham - Savor homemade Lebanese food, including baked kibbee, rolled grape leaves, spinach pies, grilled lemon chicken, falafel sandwiches, tabouleh, hummus and pita bread. Enjoy music, dancing and tours of the only Maronite Catholic Church in Alabama. Free Admission. 205-251-5057, or for more information, please visit

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Now Hiring: 2BOOLI - Fresh Mediterranean Eats

(FARMINGTON HILLS, MI/USA)...2BOOLI has arrived! Promising to be the best casual dining Mediterranean Restaurant around, Detroit's newest eatery is almost complete and is looking for high energy, dedicated team members that enjoy hard work and fun. Beginning - Wednesday, March 18 - they will be accepting applications, conducting interviews, and hiring for AM and PM shifts in the following departments: servers, hosts, cooks, and bus boys. Sorry, the bartender positions have been filled. Training will begin the first week of April. Please apply in person Monday - Saturday from 9:30 - 5:00, at the corner of 12 Mile Road & Halsted: 37610 West 12 mile Road in Farmington Hills. Experience: *Servers & Hosts - Experience is nice, but personality and people skills are critical; *Cooks - Mediterranean experience is good but not necessary, a strong work ethic is required; *Compensation: TBD; *Principals only, please no phone calls.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lebanese Chamber Spring Event Turns Out Largest Networking Group Ever, Hosting Over 500 Guests in Attendance

Sunday, March 15, 2009

American Foundation for Auxilia Announces 5th Annual Dinner Party

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Fourth Annual Memorial Honoring H.E. Rafic Hariri, Assassinated Former Prime Minister of Lebanon, as International Tribunal Begins

Friday, March 06, 2009

Lebanese American Community Mourns Loss of One of its National Leaders; Hundreds Turn Out to Pay Final Respects to Nabil Aziz Matar

+Nabil Aziz Matar: 08.01.1953 - 03.01.2009 9:36 AM
In 2006 at a United American Lebanese Federation welcoming reception for newly arrived Lebanese diplomat to the United States, H.E. Bachir S. Tawk
Citizens for John Akouri Campaign Committee Meeting at Fatoosh Restaurant of Novi, Michigan, USA (l-r) MBN-TV Network President Wally Jadan, Chaldean Times Newspaper Publisher Amir Denha, Al Long Ford Chairman Dr. Tarik Daoud, John Akouri, Nabil, Wilson Kassab, Mayor Pro-Tem Christopher McRae
Annual Summertime Guy's Nite Out Barbeque poolside at the Akouri residence..
The Celebrity Launch Party for Lebanese Monthly Magazine at the Land Rover Dealership (l-r) Moussa Aoude, Dr. Sami Makhoul, Nabil, Haj Nassib Fawaz.
Celebrating the Feast of St. Maron at the Cathedral of St. Maron Maronite Church Banquet Hall and pictured with Joseph Slim.
Greeting Lebanese Cardinal Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir Patriarch of Antioch and All the East of the Maronites, with Madonna University President Sr. Rose Marie Kujawa, C.S.S.F., Ph.D.
(OBITURARY) - Age 55, March 1, 2009. After a well-fought battle, Nabil Aziz Matar succombed to cancer. Loving husband of Rana. Father of Robert, Gina, and Rojet. Beloved brother of Aida (Samir) Kostantinidis, Samia, Samir (Mona), and John (Samia). Devoted uncle to several nieces and nephews. Nabil is also survived by many brothers and sisters-in-law. Devoted member of Detroit's Maronite Roman Catholic Community. Nabil will be remembered for his love for his family and his passion for business. Long time President of Matar Hospitality, owning several Big Boy Restaurants and Fatoosh of Novi. In 2006, at the Michigan Restaurants Association (MRA) annual board meeting in Lansing, Nabil was re-elected a board member and was serving a second three-year term as the first Arab American to ever serve on the MRA board of directors. He was appointed as the liaison between MRA and the Wayne County Health Department Advisory Team.
Nabil was the former Chairman and Founder of the United American Lebanese Federation, and had a deep love for his native Lebanon. A key member of the Citizens for John Akouri Campaign Committee, Nabil served as an advisor to John Akouri during his bid for the Michigan House of Representatives. According to Arab Detroit's Warren David, Nabil's brother-in-law, nearly 1000 friends, family and colleagues turned out to pay their final respects to Nabil during visitation and prayers at the Harry J. Will Funeral Home with burial at Glen Eden Memorial Park.
In a statement issued by Councilman John Akouri, he remembers Nabil as a man of moral integrity and the highest of standards. "We will miss his charismatic charm and love for all things Lebanese," said Akouri. "Against enormous odds, Nabil demonstrated his ability to be a fighter up until the very end, and an example for us all. As proud as he was of his heritage, family meant the world to Nabil, he was indeed a true family man. He was a friend that had no problem traveling the second mile to help those in need. Nabil was a leader with an indelible vision and he will be sorely missed by all those who's lives he touched in his short years on this earth."
For more information, please visit: and to share a memory with Nabil's family kindly visit:

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Lebanese American University Launches “The Legacy and the Promise” in North America

(LOS ANGELES)...Lebanese American University (LAU) celebrated the North American launch of the first comprehensive public fundraising campaign in its history with a gala dinner at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles last Thursday night. The university officially kicked off the public phase of the “The Legacy and the Promise: LAU’s Campaign for Excellence” last October in Beirut. The campaign seeks to raise $65 million to enhance student support, academic support, and facilities development.
Over 140 guests were present at the Los Angeles event, including Lebanon’s Consul General in Los Angeles Houssam Diab and Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine. The guests in attendance also included members of LAU’s administration and Board of International Advisors as well as alumni, friends, and members of the vibrant Lebanese community in the southern California region.
“We are proud and humbled to have so many wonderful supporters in the United States and across North America,” said Dr. Paul F. Boulos, chairman of the university’s Board of International Advisors. “LAU is one of the leading universities providing a quality, American-style education to students in Lebanon and the Middle East and we are grateful to have such wide-ranging support from people who recognize how important our mandate is,” Boulos said.
The event provided an opportunity to celebrate LAU’s recent successes and to outline the impressive plans that the university has for its future growth with some of its North American constituencies. According to LAU President Joseph Jabbra, who spoke at the event, the university has become a major force to reckon with in higher education not only in Lebanon but also throughout the entire region. Jabbra cited recently established partnerships with American institutions, such as Partners Harvard Medical International and Northeastern University, as examples of how LAU is broadening its reach and becoming a world-class institution.
“LAU’s international reach is genuinely inspiring to all of us associated with the university,” said Robert Hollback, LAU’s Director of Development for North America. “Even thousands of miles from Lebanon we have many loyal alumni and friends. It’s heartening to know that so many people here in the U.S. believe in our mission and support what we do,” he added. LAU is planning additional events in the coming months to introduce the campaign to more alumni and friends in other cities throughout the United States. For more information, please visit the
campaign website.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Happy 47th Wedding Anniversary Mom & Dad!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Governor of the Lebanese Central Bank, Riad Salame Rings NYSE Opening Bell on Wall Street

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">