DEARBORN — The achievements of a select group of Arab Americans were highlighted at the American Arab Professionals Networks' annual "Celebrating Success" Banquet Wednesday at Greenfield Manor here.
|Siblani (C) accepts his award from AACC officials. Photo courtesy of Mohamad Jaber/The Best Way Magazine|
"For 20 years we have been the voice of Arab American businesses in our community and abroad," American Arab Chamber of Commerce Chairman Ahmed Chabbani said. The AAPN was created by the Chamber to unite professionals for mentoring and development.
Keynote speaker Michael Robinson, Managing Director and Co-Head of J.P. Morgan Private Bank outlined some of the characteristics successful people hold. He says they're generally the risk takers. "Is it the ability to embark on a path and risk failure? Almost always," Robinson said. They’re also very generous when it comes to giving back to the community. "Successful people tend to give back to the people around them and create lifelong friendships."
Ahlam Moughania, assistant superintendent of Hamadeh Educational Services, received the American Arab of the Year award in education.
"While I truly value this recognition I'm accepting it on behalf of every educator who believes all children should have the opportunity to become global citizens, and be valued as individuals of significance," Moughania said.
Recipients in the entrepreneurship category were the founders and owners of Greenland Markets. One market is among the largest Middle Eastern supermarkets in the entire country. They also have a furniture gallery and Dollar Kingdom store in Dearborn and Dearborn Heights. The brothers provide more than 150 jobs in the community, and support more then 50 religious, social and community organizations in addition to sponsoring football and basketball youth teams.
EnvisionTEC President and Chief Executive Officer Ali Siblani was the American Arab of the Year in Technology awardee. EnvsionTEC is a global leader in innovative 3D printing technology and materials.
Siblani is moving EnvisionTEC’s headquarters to Dearborn, and has branches in California and Germany. He said the move gives back to the community and will impact it. "Success is not measured by the amount of money you make…I think it’s always measured by the difference that you make when you give back to the community," Siblani said.
EnvisionTEC products have improved lives, and Siblani views that as a way of giving back. EnvisonTEC manufactures three dimensional printers that produce consumer products or medical devices that have provided people with more affordable dental care, and strengthened their hearing.
Dr. Mouhanad Hammami, Chief of Health Operations, Department of Health and Human Services Wayne County was honored as Arab American of the Year in Medicine. He also discussed the importance of giving back to the community, and spoke about the challenges of being an immigrant. "You are recognizing an immigrant at a time when immigrant is a dirty word…Being an immigrant is something I will wear on my heart with the utmost pride," Dr. Hammami said.
American Arab of the Year in finance was Gehad Alawan, financial professional of AXA-Advisors. Over the past 12 years he’s been one of AXA Advisors' top Retirement Benefits Group producers in the country, and has received national individual achievement awards in the field.
Arab American of the Year in the legal category was Attorney James Stokes, who’s served as the Director of Appointments for the state under the Granholm Administration. He supervised the appointees of 221 Arab Americans to various boards, commissions, cabinet and executive office posts and judicial appointees.
The audience received a major surprise at the end of the ceremony when Civil Rights Attorney and ACRL Chairman Nabih Ayad and Mike Jaafar, Wayne County Deputy Chief Sheriff were unexpectedly awarded as Arab Americans of the Year in Community Leadership. Ayad accepted the award as the young Arab American students who were criminally charged after a football scuffle stood behind him. Thanks to the ACRL's work the charges were eventually dismissed after Ayad represented them in court, and urged a judge to drop the charges.