Saturday, April 30, 2011

NAAJA Dearborn Journalism Conference recap

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I wanted to share with you the wonderful support letter that NAAJA received from the prestigious Washington Arab American Journalists Association. The letter is below. NAAJA officially recognizes Mohamad Dalbah and the WAAJ as our official Washington DC sister organization and will be working and networking with them in the future to organize a journalism conference there soon.

Our 6th annual convention was an amazing success. Presented several 2011 NAAJA Excellence in Journalism Awards and scholarships totaling $2,000 to three students:


George Hishmeh, Washington DC based syndicated columnist and journalist ... He worked at the Chicago sun times steer arriving in the us in 1968 and a few years later was hired by the Washington post ... Born in Nazareth, Palestine, George Hishmeh is an example of how American Arabs can walk through the door and in to journalism careers ... So for his years of service, NAAJA is proud to present George Hishmeh with the 2011 NAAJA excellence in journalism award

Laila Diab ... Laila Diab has been working in journalism and communications for nearly 30 years, writing stories about American Arabs in Chicago and across the nation ... She is an educator and a volunteer to help young people better understand in Chicago how they can be more successful in life. NAAJA is proud to present the 2011 excellence in journalism to Laila Diab

Delinda Hanley, editor, The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs is one of the most important American Arab magazines in the country. It is the one magazine that offers news and facts that are often Intentionally excluded from the coverage of the American Arab and Muslim community. Delinda Hanley has dedicated much of her life working for the Washington report which is celebrating 29 years in publication, working as the news editor. NAAJA is proud to present the 2011 excellence in journalism to Delinda Hanley for her dedicated to accuracy and professional journalism.

Christine Tatum, for SPJ President: The society of professional journalists is the leading professional journalism organizations in the world. It has more than 10,000 members working in print, broadcast and online media. For years, the SPJ has supported inclusion of American Arabs and one of the people who helped facilitate American Arab involvement ... Bringing true diversity to a fully un-diverse profession is Christine Tatum who as national SPJ president helped launched the Arab section of the organization in 2007-2008. Last year, her successor unilaterally shut that section down without ever contacting our group ... A pattern in the SPJ that is unfortunate and wrong ... For her leadership and dedication to diversity and for supporting the rights of American Arabs NAAJA is proud to present the 2011 excellence in journalism award to Christine Tatum.

SCHOLARSHIPS ... Presented by Rehab Amer, and NAAJA Coordinator Reima Abuarabi

1 --​​  Batoul  Baidoun, Presented by Rehab Amer; Star International Academy, High school senior. Batoul's academic counselor is Hutham Tankersley. Batoul received a scholarship for $1,000. Batoul wrote about the role of the new media and the tragedy of Rehab Amber and the adoption of HB 4118                                                    Sponsored by Dr. Nazer Abdel-Fattah

2 --  Fadel Nabilsi, of Central Academy, Ann Arbor, MI received a scholarship for $500. Fadel wrote about the tragedy of the family of Rehab Amber and HB 4118 the Amer act. Sponsored by Nina Sky Productions (Nina Bazzy).  Fadel's instructor is Tahani Dari, who is the assessment coordinator and career adviser ...                                                                                                              

3 -- Ali Ghandour ... His career counselor is Hutham Tankersley; He is a high school senior at Star International Academy. He received a scholarship for $500 and wrote an essay about the tragedy of Rehab Amer and the Amer Act HB 4118. Sponsored by NAAJA. The Star International Academy is headed by Nawal Hamady. There are several schools in their group

Note: Central academy Ann arbor is a part of global educational excellence ... And we thank Mohammed Issa for all the work he does at global educational excellence and for supporting this conference and our students. We also had entries from many other students and institutions including universal academy ... And also from the University of Michigan scholarships to high school seniors:

We had more than 130 students attend the conference in addition to about 100 full registration attendees and more than 50 speakers on 12 panels. The students were sponsored by Mohamed Issa (65 students) and Ziyad Brothers Importing (65 students).

Dignitaries included:

- Dearborn Mayor the Honorable Jack O'Reilly who spoke forcefully about the racism of Terry Jones and the ridiculous hate claims by bigots that Dearborn is the center of Sharia Law.
- Wayne County Executive the Honorable Robert A. Ficano congratulated NAAJA and the scholarship winners.
- U.S. Rep. the Honorable John Dingell (15th) congratulated NAAJA and the scholarship winners.

Our Keynote speakers were:

- Lawrence Pintak, author "The New Arab Journalist”
- Mohamed Abdel Dayem, Middle East & North Africa Program Coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists

At the end of the program, I performed standup comedy, (raking Ikhras and KabobFest across the coals) to thunderous laughter.

And phenomenal Middle Eastern music was provided by the Usama Blabaki orchestra

Our emcee was Warren David. The Detroit Chapter of NAAJA including Laila alhusinni, our chapter coordinator, and NAAJA staff Sameh Alhady, Reima Abouarabi, Zena Zahr, Saira Mussani and Areej Kattan, organized the event at the Hyatt Regency Dearborn. More than 35 organizations sponsored the dinner.


WAAJ Letter
April 29, 2011

Dear members of NAAJA

Dear Ray

It is with profound honor and pride that we at Washington Association of Arab Journalists (WAAJ) congratulate you and the NAAJA members as well as the Arab community in Dearborn for making this conference a success.

We at WAAJ consider NAAJA a sister organization that represents journalists of Arab heritage across the nation.  WAAJ on the other hand is a representative of Arab and Arab –American journalists in the Washington D.C area.  Our institution represents newspapers and Satellite channels that transmit from the Arab World into and outside the Arab world.

With this in mind, we at WAAJ hope and aspire that we can join forces with NAAJA to build a much bigger and stronger organization that will represent us all.

A new organization that will have NAAJA’s grass root national presence and WAAJ’s Washington and the Arab world strong presence will be the best hope to defend our members’ rights and above all present the story and the perspective of the Arab world in this country.

Ray, as a “historic figure” in the Chicago Arab press and media, you know how important for our community and its institutions to speak in one voice and to be represented by strong institutions. Therefore, my friend, let’s put our hands together and start working together.

In closing, we, again, congratulate you and Liala Hussini for your hard work and efforts to make this conference a success and our hope and goal that by next year, conference there will one big organization that represent us all, and we all will be in one conference.

Thank you so much and God Bless all of you

Yours truly
Mohammad Dalbah