ATFP Congratulates Arab America
for the Success of Mohammed Assaf Concert
American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) congratulates Arab America for the outstanding accomplishment in organizing a highly successful event that featured “Arab Idol” Mohammed Assaf and Lebanese vocalist Ziad Khoury on May 11 in Washington, D.C. area.
ATFP co-sponsored the event in support of the concert’s message of solidarity with the Palestinian people and their steadfastness and perseverance.
Watch a video of the sponsorship acknowledgment read by Warren David, Arab America President, here.
The 800 attendees of the concert responded enthusiastically to the talents and message of Assaf and Khoury.
|Dr. Ziad Asali, ATFP President, and "Arab Idol" Mohammed Assaf meeting after the concert|
***Over 850 Guests Attend Arab America "Ya Hal Arab" Event with Mohammed Assaf and Ziad Khoury
"Ya Hal Arab: A Call for Unity," took place on Sunday, May 11, 2014 at the Waterford-Springfield Banquet Facility in Springfield, Virginia.
Over 850 guests attended the sold out event which featured the Arab Idol and Palestinian Super Star, Mohammed Assaf and the incomparable Lebanese vocalist and Arab Idol finalist, Ziad Khoury.
In addition to Washington, DC, Virginia, and Maryland, attendees from as far away as New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and North Carolina were present.
The evening began with introductions from Emcee Darik Kristofer, On-Air Host at CBS 94.7 Fresh FM. Kristofer who is originally of Palestinian heritage, spoke about his passion to connect with his heritage and there was no better place than the evening’s event. He also spoke of the importance of Arab America and its mission to portray an accurate image of Arab Americans in wake of the negative Arab images portrayed in the media.
He then introduced Arab America President Warren David who spoke of his vision to see Arab America as a place where all Arab Americans regardless of their ethnicity or religion could come together united under one identity. He added that Arab America not only serves Arab Americans but all peoples of diverse backgrounds in America.
David then went on to say, "Tonight we celebrate the unwavering Palestinian unity and determination to see a Palestinian homeland after more than 66 years of occupation!" he concluded, "We hope tonight’s event symbolized through our spirit of unity will bring peace and justice and human dignity to our Palestinian brothers and sisters.
Finally, he thanked the many sponsors and advertisers who helped to make this event possible.
Emcee Kristofer then introduced Dr. Amal David, director of community relations at Arab America. With the event falling on Mother's Day, Dr. David read a poem dedicated to mothers by the late renowned Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. Each Mother was presented a flower as a symbol of love and respect. She also thanked the 21 volunteers which comprised the host committee for the event.
Lebanese vocalist Ziad Khoury opened the program with renditions of popular music from Lebanon and the Levant.. His repertoire included several selections of Lebanese folkloric music featuring unparalleled "attabas" which were easily identifiable by the audience and reminiscent of music affecting the richness of Arab music.
Prior to his performance, the Arab Idol, Mohammed Assaf was escorted by a group of community members who jubilantly chanted "zeffi" (a celebration chant) accompanied by Arab drummers.
Assaf's program included a resounding selection of Arab and Palestinian musical selections. Known for his "mawals," the audience witnessed breath taking melismas for which he is famous.
The highlight of his performance was the vocalization of the newly released hit "Ya Halali Ya Mali," The song recently released as a video was filmed at the Bourj el-Barajneh refugee camp in Lebanon; it reflects Assaf's commitment to the Palestinian diaspora and his passion to salute Palestinian determination and unity through his music. His performance of the song was accompanied by the "Faris El Layl" dabke troupe coordinated by Mohammad Abou-Elhawa.
Prior to and after the concert, there were numerous exhibits of literature and cultural artifacts from many of the Arab American organizations in the Washington DC area--reaffirming a call for unity and cohesiveness in the Arab American community.
Arab America (www.arabamerica.com) is a national (for-profit) organization founded with the purpose of promoting an accurate image about the Arab American community and the Arab world through digital media, cultural and educational events.
View photos from the event.
Watch video from the event.
As a "child of UNRWA," Mohammed Assaf is the ideal individual to be the first goodwill ambassador in the more than six decades of our history. A Palestine refugee himself, he grew up in the Khan Younis camp in Gaza. Not long ago, he was one of the over 220,000 students attending the Agency's 245 schools in Gaza. For him, the connection continued at home: His mother, too, was an UNRWA teacher. Throughout his childhood – at school, at the doctor's, at community centres – he saw firsthand the work that UNRWA does for Palestine refugees.
Since his appointment in June 2013, by Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi, as the Agency's Regional Youth Ambassador for Palestine Refugees, the 23-year-old Arab Idol winner has used his voice and his talent to help UNRWA give other young people the same support it gave him. With the universal language of his music, he carries the message of UNRWA and young Palestine refugees to new audiences, including in the region – to Dubai and Kuwait – and even further. In November 2013, he took that message to the United States, bringing the voice of Palestine refugee youth to the United Nations in New York City.
UNRWA is unique among UN agencies, both for its long-standing commitment to one group of refugees – the Palestine refugees - and for its direct provision of services including education, health care and relief to those refugees. But being unique doesn't mean that UNRWA can act alone: We have always depended on our partners, including our hosts and donors, to help us best serve Palestine refugees. Now, we are proud also to work with individuals who can add their voice to ours, spreading the word about Palestine refugees and reminding people who may be far away that they are not just a regional concern or a relic of the past.