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.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Full Text of Speech Delivered by John Akouri, Keynote Speaker at the Inaugural Northern Lebanese American Society Dinner Banquet at Byblos Centre

(29MAY, 2009)...Your Excellency, the Consul General of Lebanon Bachir Tawk, Former City of Mount Clemens Chief of Police Joseph Macksoud, Honorable Judge David Allen, Senator George Hart, United American Lebanese Federation President Walid Mourad, President Mike Mouhajer and Members of the Board of Directors, distinguished members of the press corps, honored guests, descendants of Northern Lebanon, dear friends, ladies and gentlemen. The Lebanese reputation for hospitality is known worldwide and I thank you for your kind and warm welcome. It is indeed an honor to be invited to this reception and I feel privileged to address this energetic northern Lebanese audience, on this inaugural banquet of the Northern Lebanese American Club. I wish to extend to all of you my sincerest greetings to you and your families in honor of this celebration.
Before I begin my remarks, I would like to take a moment to recognize one of my dearest friends and a pillar in our community. I feel blessed whenever I have the distinct opportunity to share in his presence and we are forever grateful for his continued leadership and spiritual guidance. I am speaking of the great Imam Mohamad Mardini, and what an honor it is for me personally to be with you again, especially at this evening’s banquet. Imam Mardini, you are a diamond in a field of zirconium, a patriotic American, and a true Lebanese, and I am glad you are here tonight.
This evening’s inaugural banquet is more than just a celebration it is also a tribute. It is a tribute to many people. First and foremost, it is a tribute to the leaders of the Northern Lebanese American Club who work tirelessly in their efforts to preserve our ancestral culture, heritage and northern way of life. I wish to commend them for what they have done for our community, which is so duly reflected here this evening.
Additionally, I regard this evening as a tribute to America, and the over 3 million Americans of Middle Eastern descent with the majority being Lebanese. American society today, with its multiculturalism and the American spirit of accepting people of different cultural origins is widely admired. Indeed, in this respect, the United States is a model for other nations. As an American of Lebanese descent, I am inspired and proud that so many Americans of Lebanese ancestry are playing such an active and valuable role in American society today. Lebanese Americans are leaders in virtually every aspect of American life - arts, business, academics, politics, athletics, diplomacy, media and many others.
Finally, I look upon this evening as a tribute to the entire Lebanese American community. As tragic as the last three decades our beloved Lebanon has endured, our determination and perseverance was able to bring about an integration that ultimately strengthened our community here in the Detroit metropolitan area, unifying Lebanese Americans and ultimately inspirational for other communities in the United States. In meeting and overcoming those challenges, we must be mindful of the lessons of the past, while planning together for our future and the generations of Lebanese Americans to come.
"My personal love of Lebanon stems from the upbringing I had from the staunchest, proudest and most loyal Lebanese I know – my father Fouad."
My personal love of Lebanon stems from the upbringing I had from the staunchest, proudest and most loyal Lebanese I know – my father Fouad. A longtime leader and activist in Lebanese politics both here and abroad, and a friend to many of Lebanon’s Presidents and political leaders. This ring that you see on my finger was recently bestowed upon me by my father. Prior to his departure from Tripoli in 1955, my father with his meager savings purchased from a jeweler this custom made ring which so proudly displays the Cedar. He carried it with him on the ship that transported him to America, as a reminder of his youth in his native country. For me, this is worth more than all the gold in the world. It carries such meaning and love from Lebanon’s greatest export.
In fact, as many of you know, my father has an incredible singing voice, and as a boy, I remember him telling me that when he was growing up in Tripoli, he would be asked by Priests and Imams to recite verses from both the Bible and the Koran. This is the manner in which I was raised. And I thank him for his wisdom, insight and teaching me his love for our ancestral homeland and I ask you to join me in recognizing my father Fouad this evening.
In reflecting upon the history of our young Republic, the political strife, uncertainty, and wars the Lebanese have withstood, stand out as defining moments and events. In that regard, it is sad to recall that this tragic and devastating time caused great suffering and misery to many a people in such a small nation of only 10, 452 km. The Lebanese, and those of us with roots in Lebanon however, are a resilient people, who have overcome much throughout the centuries and continue to do so.
Sure there are some things wrong with Lebanon today, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that’s there’s a great deal of things right with Lebanon. I can’t help but think what our Lebanese Ambassador to the United States Antoine Chedid shared with us during his recent visit to Michigan. He reminded us that Lebanon is the only country in the Middle East to have 'living' former Presidents.
So let us then, as Americans of Lebanese origin, unite in strengthening our community at home here in America. But let us also unite in strengthening abroad our country of origin, Lebanon, for generations to come. Let us work together on this never-ending journey of the Phoenix we refer to as Lebanon. Let us strengthen our might, our will and our determination with clear victories that we can all agree on.
"When the current occupation of Lebanon is replaced with occupations for Lebanese students graduating from some of the finest universities in the world - to stop them from leaving Lebanon and creating a brain drain – this will be a divine victory!"
Let us declare liberation when vengeance, hatred, divisions, and revenge are lifted and removed from the hearts and minds of the Lebanese people.
All of Lebanon will be liberated when factions, militias, private armies, mercenaries, strongholds and thugs lay down their weapons in support of a central government elected by the people and only the people.
When we witness the immediate and unconditional release and return of all Lebanese detainees, Prisoners of War & those Missing in Action who are currently being held in Syria - some for over 30 years, this will really be a true liberation!
When we cease to require foreign influence for internal negotiations and all accords, pacts and treaty’s created for the Lebanese, of the Lebanese and by the Lebanese are no longer made in Cairo, Taif, Damascus or Doha but instead are made in Tripoli and Bikfaya and Saida and Jouneh, this will be a true liberation!
Sure we have had some minor setbacks, but we can also claim many victories. So let us declare right here and now to work for even more victories:
When Leaders sit together at a table, and stop thinking about their position, their colors, and the sound of their voice, and start thinking about the children of Lebanon, their future and the next generation, this will be a divine victory!
When safe and secure borders with Lebanon's neighbors, are achieved, coupled with respect of Lebanon's sovereignty and an end to Syrian interference in Lebanese matters, this will be a divine victory!
When there is full respect for the Lebanese Constitution, the Lebanese Army, and all Lebanese institutions, and when legitimacy and authoritative real powers are restored to the office of President including veto power, this will be a divine victory!
When injustice ends and justice prevails to the treacherous hands responsible for senseless assassinations, kidnappings, tortures, explosions and the taking from us of our beloved Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Grand Mufti Sheikh Hassan Khaled, Kamal Jumblatt, President Bashir Gemayel, Maya Gemayel, Pierre Gemayel, Imam Musa Sadr, Gebran Tueni, and so many others, this will be a divine victory!
When the current occupation of Lebanon is replaced with occupations for Lebanon and the Lebanese students graduating from some of the finest universities in the world - to stop them from leaving Lebanon and creating a brain drain – this will be a divine victory!
When ghosts of the past that linger throughout the streets of Lebanon disappear and we return to a time when Christians and Muslims celebrate Christmas and Ramadan together, this will be a divine victory!
When UNIFIL is dismantled, the Palestinians return home, we have sacrificed our last martyr, and Lebanon resumes its rightful place as the Paris of the Middle East, this will be truly be a shining divine victory!
Tonight as I deliver this message to you, I solemnly salute each and every Lebanese who embraces the sense of Independence as an inherent right and duty AND in the current international climate will - with all his means - advocate for the pursuit of a truly free, sovereign and independent Lebanon.
Again, I wish you all an enjoyable evening as you inaugurate this tremendous organization. From the north to the south, long live our beloved land of the Cedars and its people, wherever they may reside. May God bless our United States of America, the greatest nation on earth, and may she continue to shine as a beacon of hope and democracy for the entire world to see.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

R.I.P Joan Alexander; Lebanese American Actress Who Portrayed Radio's Lois Lane, the Daily Planet Reporter Repeatedly Rescued from Danger by Superman

Lebanese American actress Joan Alexander has died at the age of 94. The star, best known for voicing Lois Lane in 1940s radio show The Adventures of Superman, passed away on Thursday, May 21, in New York after suffering an intestinal blockage

(NEW YORK CITY)...(From the Washington Post) Joan Alexander, a leading radio actress of the 1940s best known for playing Lois Lane, the ace reporter who was constantly being rescued from peril by Superman, died May 21 at New York Presbyterian Hospital of an intestinal ailment. She was 94. After an early modeling and stage career, Alexander ecame a versatile performer on dozens of radio serials, notably as the loyal secretary Della Street in "Perry Mason." She played recurring characters on radio soap operas and dramas including "Lone Journey," "Light of the World" and "This is Nora Drake."

But Alexander achieved her greatest prominence - and enduring fame among devoted Superman fans - as one of the handful of women to portray Lane, an intrepid reporter for the fictitious Daily Planet. According to many sources, she was the third actress cast as Lane in the serial "The Adventures of Superman," which first aired in February 1940 on New York station WOR and reached a broad audience through syndication on the Mutual network. For the next decade, Alexander was heard playing opposite actor Bud Collyer as Superman, the Man of Steel from planet Krypton who saves Lane from enemy agents during wartime and from various other foes bent on destroying the American way of life. By day, Superman disguises himself as Lane's nerdy, fumbling newsroom colleague, Clark Kent. Collyer once told an interviewer, "Joan is one of those rare actresses - especially in radio where you can't be seen and have to depend entirely on voice - who can go in on something cold and her instincts are so right as an actress that without even a rehearsal or a read-through, she is right."

In addition to their radio work - the show later aired on the ABC network - Alexander and Collyer provided voiceovers in 17 animated Superman shorts, made by Fleischer and Paramount studios, that played in movie theaters during World War II. Alexander and Collyer reunited in the late 1960s to do voice-overs for the Saturday morning cartoon "The New Adventures of Superman" on CBS.Alexander was a regular panelist on the TV game show "The Name's the Same" in the early 1950s and had a supporting role on Broadway in the Jean Kerr comedy "Poor Richard" (1964), starring Alan Bates and Joanna Pettet. She subsequently became a homemaker and hostess, having married for her third and final time to Arthur Stanton, a prominent auto distributor who helped introduce the Volkswagen Beetle to America. The couple was known for throwing sumptuous parties at their homes in New York City and East Hampton, Long Island. Leonard Bernstein conducted "Happy Birthday" to celebrate the 21st birthday of Alexander's daughter, the novelist Jane Stanton Hitchcock.

Alexander was born Louise Abras in St. Paul, Minn., on April 16, 1915, to parents of Lebanese heritage. She was 3 when her father died, and her new stepfather shipped her to a convent school on Long Island. As a young woman, she turned to modeling and then to acting, taking a new first name that she borrowed from actress Joan Crawford. She was resourceful, once landing a role by convincing a producer that she could use her Garment District connections to get them free costumes. She later studied acting in Europe with Benno Schneider, a director best known for his work in Yiddish theater, and toured widely on the continent during the Nazi rise to power. "I even got to Casablanca before Roosevelt and Humphrey Bogart put it in on the map," she was quoted as saying, according to Thomas A. DeLong's 1996 book, "Radio Stars."In 1944, she married John Sylvester White, an actor best known for playing assistant principal Woodman in the TV show "Welcome Back, Kotter." The marriage ended in divorce, as did a later marriage to Robert T. Crowley. She was married to Stanton from 1955 until his death in 1987.

Survivors include a daughter from her second marriage, Hitchcock, whom Stanton adopted and who lives in New York City and Washington; a son from her third marriage, Timothy Stanton of New York; a half-sister; and a grandson. Another son from her third marriage, Adam Stanton, died in 1993. After his death, Arthur Stanton reportedly left Alexander $70 million. Last year, she filed a lawsuit accusing her financial advisers of fraud, professional malpractice and other crimes for losing or stealing much of that fortune. The case is still pending.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Councilman Akouri Supports his Cousin the Bishop of Baalbeck-Deir el-Ahmar, His Grace Simon Atallah's Call for Lebanese to Gather on World Media Day

Friday, May 22, 2009

John Akouri to Keynote Northern Lebanese American Club 2009 Dinner; Fmr. Captiol Hill Advisor's Appearance to Launch Organization's Inaugural Ceremony

Friday, May 15, 2009

Celebrity Auctioneer John Akouri Raises Thousands for IVC Detroit Charity Ball at Oakland Hills Country Club

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce Delegation Tours DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital

(COMMERCE TWP, MI/USA)...Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce President John Akouri led a delegation of Chamber officials to tour the Detroit Medical Center (DMC) Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital in Commerce Township last night. Akouri was joined by Advisory Board Member Renée Ahee, President of Ahee Communications.
The distinguished list of Chamber delegates also participating included: Dr. Yahya Basha, Dr. Nancy Daoud, Dr. Gary Warr, Esq., Louis Ferris, III, Ibrahim Marji, Jina Yassine, Myriam Issa, Patrick Freiha, Renee Hanna, Mary Bassett, Aziz Harridy, Lena Abushaar, Cynthia Edwards, Kamal Shouhahyib, Claude Semaan, Loubna Fayz, Sam Attisha, Renee Ahee, and former Mount Clemens Police Chief Joseph Macksoud.
The Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce was invited by DMC Chief Executive Officer Mike Duggan and Sharona Shapiro, Director of Development. Upon arrival, the delegation was met by Hospital President Lynn Torrosian and officially greeted by community doctors and professional staff that included: Dr. Safwan Badr, DMC Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Nabil Wehbe, Dr. Sami Akkary, Dr. Michelle Atie, Dr. Dennis Fodell, Dorothy Kempf and Gail Reichlieu. The Chamber delegation was given a guided tour of the Hospital's new facilities and then treated to a reception in honor of the visit by the Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce Congratulates Garmo Law Associates on Grand Opening of New Eastside Office

Councilman John Akouri & FOX News Legal Analyst Charlie Langton pose with associates from the Garmo Law Office.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

2009 Belly Dance Convention to Feature LEBFEST! MainStage Performer Lana of Detroit Belly Dance in Ann Arbor

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

John Akouri Extends Sincerest Condolences to the Deluise Family Over the Sudden Passing of Friend & Funnyman, Actor Dom Deluise

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

!Feliz Cinco De Mayo!

Monday, May 04, 2009

LACC President & CEO Takes to the Airwaves to Announce Lebanese Chamber Spring Event II at The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham this Thursday, May 7, 2009

(BIRMINGHAM, MI)...Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce President & CEO John Akouri will take to the airwaves to announce and promote the upcoming Spring Event II. The networking event and business mixer will take place Thursday, May 7, 2009 from 6:00pm - 9:00pm at the prestigious Townsend Hotel's Corner Bar. Presented by The Community Guide, this second in a series of business and social events brings together key business, civic, academic and diplomatic leaders. Everyone is welcome to attend and guests are encouraged to bring business cards and resumes to network with other attendees. Akouri will be interviewed by veteran Detroit-area radio personalities William Salaita, Mike Bahry and Salah Kulato on Tuesday & Wednesday of this week, on radio station WNZK AM-690.

For more information, please visit

Saturday, May 02, 2009

RIP Congressman Jack Kemp

Friday, May 01, 2009

Lebanese Ambassador to the United States Antoine Chedid Addresses Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce at Diplomatic Function in Grosse Pointe

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