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The Middle East's Leading English Language Daily

First Arab-American Yearbook Launched
Arab-Americans can finally find themselves in America
Barbara Ferguson, Arab News
WASHINGTON, 9 February 2007   


Saudi Arabian Ambassador Prince Turki Al-Faisal commends US Marine Jamal Baadani for keeping the focus of his Association of Patriotic Arab Americans in Military as an organization representing the interests and patriotism of the Arab-American community.

 

All they need to do is refer to the first issue of the “Arab-American Yearbook: The Resource and Referral Guide for and About Arab Americans.” It’s a Who’s Who of Arab-American references, and promises to be of great use to anyone trying to delve into Arab-American business, connections and transactions in this country.

The guide is a comprehensive, nationwide resource for and about the Arab-American community. It includes chapters on the community, as well as politics, business, education, healthcare and the role of Arab-Americans in the nation’s armed forces, and includes a multitude of scholars and prominent figures from across the Arab-American community.

It also lists Arab-American US senators and representatives, Arab-American businesses, facts on all Arab countries, US embassies and consulates in Arab countries, Arab embassies in the US; and even lists of Arab-American conventions and events in 2007, and Arab-American churches and mosques. These resources are long overdue, which makes the book a tremendous resource.

The book was launched at a reception last week at the US Library of Congress, and was attended by high-level notables including Saudi Ambassador Prince Turki Al-Faisal; Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England, and US Congressman Charles Boustany.

It was the last official event for Prince Turki as Saudi ambassador to Washington. During his last week here he also participated in a panel discussion and the screening of the film “Abdulaziz” about the Kingdom’s founding father King Abdulaziz Al-Saud and the building of modern Saudi Arabia at Georgetown University, the prince’s alma mater; and a luncheon organized by the National US-Arab Chamber of Commerce.

Prince Turki surprised many with his sudden resignation this past December for “personal reasons.” He took up the post in September 2005.

Calling him “one of the most outstanding and the most sincere ambassadors we’ve ever had,” Hussein Hassouna, ambassador of the Arab League, praised Prince Turki at the NUSACC luncheon for his exhaustive travels crisscrossing the United States in an effort to promote and demystify Saudi Arabia to Americans.

Hassouna praised the prince’s down-to-earth personality. “Your modesty, how much you care about people, how much you are accessible to everyone, how friendly you are with everyone...you will be missed by everyone,” he said.

Praise came from American officials, too. Calling Ambassador Turki a “dear friend of mine,” Deputy Secretary of Defense England told those attending the inaugural ceremony for the Arab-American Yearbook: “Amir Turki is a leader in the Arab world who has worked hard to achieve peace, prosperity and a better life for his people and the world.

“During his time here he has reached out to the American people giving insightful speeches and interviews across the nation and meeting with the people of our land, developing the close friendships...[which is] the bedrock of strong international relations.”

England also shared a personal tidbit about the prince: “One lesser known, but important fact about his outreach to America is that he is a great fan of Navy Football. He showed it well when he braved one of the coldest days in Philadelphia’s history to watch the annual Navy-Army classic a couple years ago.”

As for his time in the US, Prince Turki said last week that he is leaving with very fond memories of his brief tenure in Washington.

“It’s been a wonderful year for me and my wife...the reception and the welcome that I have had has been truly extraordinary and extremely warm and very, very friendly...whether it’s been the White House, the State Department or any other institution — even among those that have been critical of Saudi Arabia, whether in Congress or outside Congress — the sense of hospitality here has been an amazing expression of the American character,” he said, recalling his days as a student in the United States when he stayed with American families who would read up on his homeland to better converse with him.

Prince Turki did not miss the opportunity to praise his successor — Adel Al-Jubeir, the former adviser to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah — as a “talented and eloquent representative of Saudi Arabia.”

 

 

 

 

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