23rd Annual D.C. Benefit Gala (2016)
Date: Saturday, October 22, 2016
Location: The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Washington, D.C.
The Rene Moawad Foundation USA held its 23rd Annual Washington Benefit Gala at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, DC on the evening of October 22nd, where more than 375 people from the Arab American and Lebanese American Communities, the Arab diplomatic corps and representatives from the state Department and NGOs that work in the region were in attendance. Ms. Carla Jazzar, Chief of Mission for the Lebanese Embassy in Washington DC was also present and had hosted the day before a reception on the occasion of the Foundation’s gala.
The evening showcased the brilliance, creativity, compassion, and contributions that the American Lebanese community shared with its adoptive Homeland America and the World by honoring two very deserving individuals. The first honoree was Dr. Andre Choulika, the Chairman, CEO and founder of Cellectis, a biopharmaceutical company focused on oncology whose mission is to develop a new generation of revolutionary cancer therapies based on engineered T cells. Mr. Choulika received the RMF Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award. In his acceptance speech Mr. Choulika expressed how proud he was to be Lebanese born and raised and to be able to make a contribution to treat cancer in a more targeted way.
The Outstanding Community Service Award was presented to second generation American Lebanese, Mr. Richard C. Shadyac, Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC the fundraising arm of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital who was presented by another second generation Super star from the same family his international acclaimed Hollywood movie director brother Tom Shadyac, whose block buster movies included (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, the Nutty Professor, Liar Liar, Patch Adams, Bruce Almighty…)
The keynote address of HE Nayla Moawad stressed that the work of the Rene Moawad foundation knows no political or religious color and is for all the Lebanese across the whole country. Video and PowerPoint presentations clearly informed the audience of the wide gamut of RMF’s work in Lebanon in promoting sustainable development in order to eradicate poverty, the basis for all terrorism, and to provide the Lebanese a life of hope and dignity.
The audience was also fortunate to see firsthand the impact of the young generation participating tonight from the rising eighteen year old female singing star, Marianne Khattar to the mistress of Ceremonies Ms. Sara Ganim, CNN Correspondent.
And to top off the evening the international acclaimed fashion designer Mr. Rani Zakhem showcased a breath taking couturier collection of evening gowns which captivated the audience in giving him a standing ovation.