76th Annual Gala & Awards Ceremony


MEI's 2022 Annual Gala will be held on Thursday, March 16, 2023 at the Ritz Carlton in Washington, D.C. Stay tuned for more details!

View Last Year's Virtual Gala


MEI's 75th Anniversary Celebration and Awards Ceremony was broadcast online on December 16, 2021. The ceremony featured addresses from Acting Assistant Secretary of State Yael Lempert and H.E. Dr. Anwar Gargash, Diplomatic Advisor to the President of the UAE. MEI also honored Afghan women's rights advocate Fawzia Koofi and Lebanese philanthropic organization, LIFE.

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About the Awards


The Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence, endowed by the former deputy prime minister of Lebanon, was created to honor inspirational, innovative Middle Eastern individuals who are making a difference in their communities and internationally. The Middle East Institute Visionary Award recognizes an individual or organization for outstanding work in the region.

Past Award Recipients


2021

Distinguished Global Leadership Award

H.E. Yasir Othman Al-Rumayyan

Chairman, Saudi Aramco
Governor, Public Investment Fund

Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence

LIFE

Lebanese Diaspora Philanthropic Organization

Middle East Institute Visionary Award

Fawzia Koofi

Afghan Women's Rights Activist

2020

Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence

Altibbi

Digital Health Platform

Middle East Institute Visionary Award

Egyptian Food Bank

Humanitarian Organization

2019

Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence

Nadine Labaki

Lebanese Actor and Director

Middle East Institute Visionary Award

Othman & Leila Benjelloun

Co-chairs of the BMCE Bank Foundation

2018

Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence

The American University of Beirut (AUB)

Institution of higher learning

Middle East Institute Visionary Award

Huda Alkhamis Kanoo

Philanthropist dedicated to arts, education, and women's empowerment

2017

Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence

Sheikha Hussa Sabah al-Salem al-Sabah

Kuwaiti art collector and curator

Middle East Institute Visionary Award

Fadi Ghandour

Social entrepreneur and philanthropist

2016

Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence

Vera Baboun

Mayor of Bethlehem Municipality

Middle East Institute Visionary Award

Syria Civil Defense

"The White Helmets"

2015

Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence

Sheika Hoor Al-Qasimi

President and Director of the Sharjah Art Foundation

Middle East Institute Visionary Award

Mohamed A. El-Erian

Chief Economic Advisor, Allianz, and Chair, President's Global Development Council

2014

Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence

Ayman Asfari

CEO of Petrofac and chairman of the Asfari Foundation

Middle East Institute Visionary Award

Shafik Gabr

Founder of the Shafik Gabr Foundation

2013

Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence

Zaha Hadid

Iraq-born architect

Middle East Institute Visionary Award

Abdlatif Al-Hamad

Kuwaiti philanthropist

2012

Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence

Dr. Hanan Ashrawi

Palestinian legislator, activist and scholar

Middle East Institute Visionary Award

Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel

President, Abdul Latif Jameel Co. Ltd.

2011

Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence

Amb. Lakhdar Brahimi

Fmr. under-secretary general of the League of Arab States

Middle East Institute Visionary Award

Esraa Abdel Fattah

Egyptian human rights and democracy activist

2010

Middle East Institute Visionary Award

Issam M. Fares

Former Deputy Prime Minister of Lebanon

2009

Middle East Institute Visionary Award

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish

Palestinian doctor