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History of the Druze in America 1995

Arlington  Virginia

The 49th Annual Convention was held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel from July 4th through July 9th, 1995. The president of the Society was Sami Merhi, Vice President: Salimi Azzam Joseph, President-Elect: Faouzi Moakrem. Board members: Ramona Alley, Toufic Alghawi, Ziad Selman Dalal, Haitham Ballout, Maan Hamdan, Ramsey Kaedbey, Abdul-Magid Ghreizi and Dr. David Najar. National Treasurer: Sahar Muakasa.

The convention Co-Chairs were Nadine & Jim Silman and Convention Coordinator was Faouzi Mokarem. The convention committee members : Alva Salem, Samir Abimourched, Walid Harb, Hicham Abouzeki, Samia Fayyad, Mohammed Fayyad, Kamal Najjar, Ghassan Abdul-Khalek, Elsie Belman, and Muneer Zaineldeen.

Nadine and Jimmy Silman put together a spectacular convention in Washington, D.C. Social, cultural and entertainment activities were well organized . The President’s Night Dinner speakers were H.E. Ambassador Riad Tabbarah, followed by Dr. Clovis Maksoud, Ms. Raghida Dergham, Senior Diplomatic Correspondent of Al-Hayat Newspaper, Mr. Afif Saab, President of the Venezuela Druze Society and the poet Youssef Abdul Samad. On Saturday afternoon a very special and moving event occurred. The afternoon was dedicated to honor “Uncle Jack” Hamady, the living legend of our time. Family and friends shared memories and feelings about “Uncle Jack”.

Dr. Naji Jurdi presented a seminar on “Concept of God” that was thought provoking and erudite. This was received very favorably by almost everyone attending. Similarly, Dr. Wahbah A. Sayegh delivered a scholarly lecture titled “Impact of Greek Philosophy on Tawhid Theosophy” which was well received by the attendees. There was also a seminar held by the Young Druze Professionals that was informative and attended by a large number of our young Druze Professionals.

The hospitality of the Washington, D.C. Community added to the wonderful job of Nadine and Jimmy Silman and the Convention Committee.

In 1995, President Merhi, Faouzi Makarem, President Elect, and Mr. Youssef Abdul Samad visited the Saudi Embassy and presented His Royal Highness Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, with a Koranic Verse on a plaque and a letter outlining the services of the Center.

President Merhi announced the establishment of the Young Druze Professional Committee chaired by Mr. Nabil Kassem of New Jersey.

Mr. Bobby Jaber informed everyone that the “Tuition Program” for needy students is now in its ninth year and over $15,000 had been sent to support more than 280 needy children.

by Julie Makarem

Convention Co-Chairs Washington, D.C. 1995  Nadine and Jim Silman

Convention Coordinator Washington, D.C. 1995      Faouzi Mokarem

Convention Committee Washington, D.C. 1995   
Registration -        Alva Salem
Picnic -              Samir Abimourched
Picnic -              Walid Harb
Picnic -              Hicham Abouzeki
Entertainment -       Samia Fayyad
Entertainment -       Mohammad Fayyad
Finance       -       Kamal Najjar
Hospitality Suite -   Washington, D.C. Chapter
Ghassan Abdul-Khalek
Transportation        Elsie Belman
Hotel Liaison         Muneer Zaineldeen
Year Book Advertising Faouzi Mokarem

Committees and Chapter Meetings

2:00 P.M. - 5:00 P.M.
Lee Room
Chairpersons of the ADS Committees and Chapter Presidents met to discuss their progress and reports. 

Committees and Chairpersons

National Membership                     Mrs. Romana Alley
Arabic Education for the Youth          Mrs. Neda Farhat
Druze Orphanage Home                    Mr. Fouad Sleem
American Druze Youth                    Mr. Hicham Abouzeki
Ladies Auxiliary                        Ms. Bediha Shahban
C.O.R.A.                                Dr. Wahbah Sayegh  
C.O.C.A.                                Mr. Sami Merhi
C.O.R.E.                                Dr. Rabih Aridi
C.O.E.                                  Dr. Abdallah Najjar
S.L.E.                                  Mr. Fouad Ghannam
1995 Convention                         Nadine and Jimmy Silman
Chapters and Presidents
Boston                                 Mr. Fouad Ghannam
Connecticut                            Dr. Ghassan El-Eid
Central Texas                          Mr. Abdul Magid Ghreizi
Georgia                                Mr. Rabih Aschkar
Houston, Texas                         Mr. Ghassan Choukier
Illinois                               Mr. Ghazi Zeineddine
Michigan                               Mr. Riad Al-Awar
North California                       Mr. Samir Aboushakra
North Carolina                         Mr. Raja Hamdan
Richmond                               Ms. Nemat Shahban
Seattle                                Mr. Talal Slim
Southern California                    Dr. Anis Makarem
South Florida                          Mr. Akram Jurdi
Tri-State                              Dr. Ziad Alameddine
Washington, D.C.                       Dr. Faouzi Mokarem

State Representatives
Oregon                                 Amin and Hala Hassan
Ohio                                   Faris and Sonia Alameh                   
Hospitality Suite
8:00 P.M. - 1:00 A.M.
Alexander and McLean Suites
‘Cuisine Delight” was the fare of the day in Washington, D.C. And, wherever one looked, you found Mrs. Siham Hamady, Mr. Jimmy Silman, Mr. Mouneer Zaineldeen, and Mr. and Mrs, Ghassan Abdul-Khalek, as well as many other Washingtonians,  removing empty platters and immediately replacing them with platters that were brimming over with food.  The food was catered by the renowned Middle East Bakery in Washington, D.C. which is owned and operated by Druze.  Since there are no words to describe the food, we can only say that we are sorry for you if you were not here. Each night, was a surprise of more and more delightful Arabic dishes, desserts, and fruit.  The National Office extends its very most heartfelt thank you to the Washington, D.C. Chapter for such a display of generosity.   

10:00 A.M. - 9:00 P.M.
Grand Foyer
Registration continued for those guests who were late arrivals.
Welcome Breakfast
8:00 A.M. - 9:30 A.M.
Grand Ballroom Salons A-B-C
Convention Chairman Jimmy Silman welcomed the guests to the Convention and announced that the Convention was officially started for 1995. Dr. Wahbah Sayegh opened the official start-off with a prayer.  Then, the guests began eating breakfast which was a delightful display of breakfast food, rolls, desserts, juice, coffee and tea, and fruit. When the Breakfast was finished, the
Annual Business Meeting commenced.
Annual Business Meeting
Chaired by President Sami Merhi
9:30 A.M. - 12:30 P.M.               
Grand Ballroom Salons A-B-C

President Sami Merhi introduced the honored guests, and he thanked the Washington, D.C. Chapter for hosting the 49th Annual Convention.  Chapter Presidents gave their reports.  After a discussion period regarding the ‘Name Change’ of the ADS, and the money that has been raised for the Southern California Cultural Center,  President Sami Merhi gave his report for the year.  He said that there had been 250 new Life Members in 1994.  All the funds from the Life Membership Drive have been invested in Certificates of Deposits (C.D.) in Bank Audi in New York. Following the President’s report, the Chapter Presidents gave their reports for the year. 
At the Annual Meeting, nominations for new Officers and Board Members are made.  For the Presidency, Julia Mullin Makarem from Detroit Michigan, Ramsey Kaed Bay from Dallas Texas, and Yusuf Abdel Samad from Paramus, New Jersey  were nominated. Nominations for Board Members included Joseph Sefa from Fenton, Michigan, as well as, Hicham Abouzeki, Hani Chtay, Imad Hassannieh, May Kassem, and Mr. Ali Assaf.            
The decision to dedicate the 50th Anniversary of the American Druze Society in 1996 in Detroit, Michigan to Uncle Nafe Katter was unanimously approved by the Congregation.  “Uncle Nafe, we love you, and  all the Druzes of the United States miss you.”     
C.O.R.A. Children Seminar
Chaired by Dr. Wahbah Sayegh, C.O.R.A. Chairman
2:00 P.M. - 3:00 P.M.
Jackson Room
Dr. Wahbah Sayegh captured the interest of the very young Druzes at this Seminar.  The children were thrilled to be involved in the discussion regarding their religion.  There were many questions among them, and Dr. Sayegh was always ready with a logical and reasonable answer for them.  The children went away completely satisfied with their being Druzes.  “Thank you Dr. Wahbah!  We need so many more such Seminars like yours throughout the entire United States wherever there are American Druze children.”  The Seminar was stimulating, and the knowledge gained by these children and youth at Seminars such as this one truly puts a special emphasis on the true purpose of the ADS Annual Conventions. It is important to mention here that Dr. Sayegh was first the Committee of Religious Affairs (C.O.R.A.) Chairman in 1983 and then had to leave this position because of a professional commitment.  Now, he is back with us, and we are fortunate for this blessing.  He has collated and translated the four books of the Tawhid Faith, Stories, Lessons, and Prayers. These books are excellent reading for young Druze, as well as for the adults.  The books, one through four, are available through the National Office in New York.
Teens, Young Adults Group Discussion

Chaired by Mr. Hicham Abouzeki

From 2:00 P.M. Onwards
Jefferson Room
A healthy discussion ensued among the teens and young adults at the Convention.  These discussions are a carry over of the ones that were so popular in Long Beech, California at the ADS Convention last year.   The forums were limited to only those young adults interested in free form discussion among themselves with open ended time periods. Also, plans were made for strengthening ties among each other throughout the year. There was a great deal of enthusiasm among the young Druze attending the session.  Mr. Hicham Abouzeki gave and collected many ideas and avenues for this to materialize.  “Good luck!”

Druze Orphanage

Lecture  by Mr. Fouad Sleem (Mr. Druze)
3:00 P.M. - 4:00 P.M.
Lee Room
As Chairman of the ADS Orphans’ Home Committee, Mr. Fouad Sleem, gave his annual report to the members of the American Druze Society.  “All contributions,” said Mr. Sleem, “Are tax deductible and they can be paid to any ADS Chapter through a designated representative.” All costs are paid by the National Office, so your contribution goes 100% to the Druze Orphans’ Home. These orphans, mostly children of the martyrs, can live because of your donation.  Please don’t forget them!
The Importance of the Arabic Language
Lecture by Mr. Talal Sleem
4:00 P.M. - 5:00 P.M.
Jackson Room
Mr. Talal Sleem conducted an interesting and informative lecture on the importance of the Arabic language.  He has written a manual on the teaching of the Arabic language.
Twilight Tour of Washington, D.C.
8:00 - 10:00 P.M.
A bus was scheduled for the ‘Twilight Tour,’ and for a nominal charge, the guests enjoyed an early evening tour of Washington. The two-hour, drive-by, open trolley tour from the hotel allowed the Conventioneers to see Washington’s major sites at twilight. Those guests who wished to take the Metro Subway were also able to do so. They took the escalator in the Crystal Gateway Marriott lobby down to the Metro stop to get the Metro Subway which deposited them in downtown Washington just a few blocks from the Mall. They were able to visit all the famous places that they wanted to.
Children’s Entertainment 7:30 P.M. - 9:00 P.M.
Grand Ballroom Salons F-G
The children enjoyed meeting each other and watching a clown and listening to the story lady tell her fantastic tales.  They had as much fun at the Convention as did the adults.
Evening Entertainment
9:00 P.M. - 1:00 A.M.
Grand Ballroom Salons A-B-C
There was live entertainment with American and Arabic music for the guests to enjoy.  There were also special dancers who did belly dancing.  Refreshments were served throughout the evening.

Hospitality Suite

11:00 P.M.
Alexandria and McLean Suite
The festivities continued in the Hospitality Suite where the guests enjoyed the Arabic dancing and the music.

8:00 A.M. - 6:00 P.M.
Grand Foyer
Registration continued for guests as they arrived.

Picnic and Sports
9:30 A.M. - 4:00 P.M.
J. R.’s Festival Lakes

The Conventioneers gathered at the Main Lobby where they were picked up by buses for those who were not driving to the picnic site. It was held at J.R.’s Festival Lakes located near historic Leesburg, Virginia.  In addition to the sumptuous picnic feast, there were activities all day long.  There was paddle boating, swimming, volley ball, soft ball, and even fishing.  The private area where the ADS met was covered to protect the guests from rain and the hot sun. The bus ride to and from the picnic-site was in itself beautiful.  We drove through rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was a packed, fun day.  The food was wonderful, and the games and the other activities were great.  It was a weary bunch of Conventioneers that headed back to the hotel at 4:00 P.M.
C.O.R.A. Devotional
8:00 P.M. - 9:00 P.M.
Dr. Wahbah Sayegh, C.O.R.A. Chairman
Arlington Ballroom, Salon 2
Many of the Conventioneers gathered for the annual Devotional which was led by Dr. Wahbah Sayegh.  Dr. Sayegh opened the Devotional with a prayer.  Then, the readings from the Druze Scriptures began. Each reading was first given in Arabic; and then, the reading was followed by the English version.
The Readings in Arabic were given by:  Dr. Wahbah Sayegh, Dr. Nadim Kassem, Dr. Anis Obeid, and Mrs. Nuhad Raymond Helal. 
The Readings in English were given by Mr. Samah Helal and Miss Nida Abul Hosn.
Young Singles “Night On The Town”
8:30 P.M.
?????   Restaurant
The report from the Young Single Druze is that the trip was fantastic and everyone really had a wonderful time.  The food was superb, and the group stayed out on the town until the wee hours of the morning. 
Children’s Entertainment
7:30 P.M. - 9:30 P.M.
Grand Ballroom Salons F-G

The youngsters gathered again in the Grand Ballroom Salons F and G where there were clowns, as well as, a story lady.  After meeting each the first day of the Convention, these youngsters, as well, looked forward to being with each other again each day.
Evening Entertainment
9:30 P.M. - 1:00 A.M.
Grand Ballroom Salons A-B-C
Singing and dancing to the wonderful music of ‘live’ entertainment went on all night.  The music was in Arabic, as well as, in English. There were refreshments for all the guests.

Hospitality Suite

11:00 P.M.

Alexandria and McLean Suites

Following the Evening Entertainment, the Conventioneers again gathered in the Hospitality Suite and remained there until the early hours of the morning.  There was Arabic dancing, and of course, the food was fantastic. Everyone just had a good time being with each other.
FRIDAY, JULY 7, 1995


10:00 A.M. - 8:00 P.M.
Grand Foyer
The Impact of Greek Philosophy on the Tawhid Faith
Dr. Wahbah Sayegh, C.O.R.A. Chairman
9:30 A.M. - 11:00 A.M.
Arlington Ballroom  Salon 2
Greek philosophy plays an integral role in the Druze Faith, and Dr. Wahbah Sayegh was able to point out in his lecture how this philosophy has paved the basis of the Druze Faith. It was informative and interesting to the many Conventioneers who attended this marvelous session.
American Druze Foundation
Board of Trustees Meeting
Chaired by Mr. Jack Hamady
11:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.
Fairfax Room
The Board of Trustees of the American Druze Foundation met this year and reiterated its commitment to conduct its affairs in a professional manner away from political and potentially divisive issues.  The sole purpose of the American Druze Foundation is to serve the Druze community and to see it flourish and prosper. The members believe that the Foundation will provide its fair share to the great cultural mosaic in the United States.
The Foundation seeks to establish more cultural centers like the one in California.  These centers will serve as a repository of documents, publications, and other items related to the Druze community and its distinctive history. Eventually they will provide a valuable resource to future scholars and historians.  The Foundation also aims to encourage and support the publication and dissemination of scholarly research on the characteristic
features of the Druze Tawhid faith and the Druze people.
The primary purpose of the American Druze Foundation, therefore, is to provide financial support for individuals and institutions that work in these endeavors, as well as, to raise funds for additional Druze cultural centers.
Young Druze Professionals
Mr. Nabil Kassem, Moderator
1:00 P.M. - 2:00 P.M.
Arlington Ballroom, Salon 2
Mr. Nabil Kassem has done extensive research in the accomplishments of the Druze professionals in the United States. He realizes that all the Druze professionals in the United States must band to form a stronger, and a more beneficial Society. An application form (The Young Druze Professionals) was distributed to the attenders.  They were encouraged to participate in this venture to join the Young Druze Professionals in order to join the leaders of tomorrow in our community. Those who join realize that the only way we are going to grow is by working together.
This session was very well done by Nabil Kassem, and he and Wael F. Al-Ali may be contacted at the addresses below for a 1995 application form, or if you would like more information regarding the purpose.
Nabil Nadim Kassem                Wael  F. Al-Ali
49 Williamsburg Drive             46 Center Grove Road, U-106
Roseland, NJ  07869               Randolph, NJ   07869
Phone: (201) 364-0240 Home        Phone: (201) 366-4208 Home
Phone: (201) 881-2811 Office      Phone: (201) 397-3147 Office
Fax:   (201) 228-4273             Fax:   (201) 442-1325
Email: 75347.1120@compuserve.com  Email: wxa3986@hertz.njit.edu
Teens, Young Adults Group Discussion

Chaired by Mr. Hicham Abouzeki

From 2:00 P.M. Onward
Arlington Ballroom, Salon 2              
There was another healthy discussion continuing with what was discussed at the first session among the teens and young adults at the Convention.  More plans were made for strengthening ties among each other throughout the year. The enthusiasm among the young Druze attending the session remained high, and many names and addresses were exchanged among the young Druze.  Mr. Hicham Abouzeki gave and collected many  more ideas and avenues for this to materialize.  “Good luck to all the young Druze professionals in all their endeavors!” 

Children’s Dinner and Entertainment

7:00 P.M. - 9:30 P.M.
Grand Ballroom, Salon k

The children attended a special dinner among themselves in the Grand Ballroom, Salon K.  Afterwards, there was entertainment for them, as well.
President’s Night Dinner
7:00 P.M.  Reception
8:30 P.M.  Dinner
Master of Ceremony, Dr. Anis Obeid
To  1:00 A.M.  Entertainment
Arlington Ballroom Foyer


His Excellency Dr. Hassan A.H. Al-Ni’mah
Ambassador of Qatar to the United Nations

Ms. Raghida Dergham
Senior Diplomatic Correspondent - Al-Hayat Newspaper in Beirut, Lebanon

Dr. Clovis Maksoud
Director of the Global South

Mr. Yousuf Abdul-Samad

Chapter of the Year Award to Washington, D.C.
Chapter President of the Year Award to Dr. Faouzi Mokarem
Chapter Member of the Year Award to Ms. Joclyn Mosrie
National Member of the Year Award to Mr. Fouad Sleem

Vice President - Abdul-Majid Ghreizi
Board of Directors - Julie Makarem
Board of Directors - Ziad Alameddine
Chairman Ladies Auxiliary - Bediha Shahban
Hospitality Suite
11:00 P.M.
Alexandria and McLean Suites
After a late evening, the guests again gathered and remained in the Hospitality Suite, and many of them until daybreak.  They were just happy to be together.

10:00 A.M. - 4:00 P.M.
Grand Foyer
Tickets were on sale for the evening banquet.
C.O.R.A. Seminar For The Youth
‘A Liberal Perspective’
Mr. Samah Helal, C.O.R.A.                    
10:00 A.M. - 11:00 A.M.
Lee Room
A Word About Samah Helal -
Mr. Samah Helal has always been known in the American Druze Society as an intellectual and a valuable resource of the Druze Faith.  He has written papers about the Faith that are too numerous to mention.  He is highly regarded as a responsible member of C.O.R.A. seeking religious education, religious history and research, theology and ethical pronouncements, and religious scholarships. As a member of C.O.R.A., he believes that the very nature of the Committee on Religious Affairs (C.O.R.A.) must be the heart of the conscience of American Druzes, and the head of the leadership which preserves the uniqueness of the Druzes. Samah Helal is mentally and spiritually prepared to be at odds with the popular weal, realizing that innovation, leadership, and progress in a field so abstract as spiritual growth and welfare cannot be manipulated by internal politics and current vogues if great spiritual truths are to be identified, espoused, and incorporated into the repertoire of the believer.
A word about ‘A Liberal Perspective’ -
Mr. Samah Helal’s lecture ‘A Liberal Perspective,  A Treatment of Contemporary Islamic Faith Emphasizing Spiritual Life In a Secular Pluralistic State’ completely enraptured the audience.  The Attenders filled the lecture room, as well as, the entrance to the room extending into the Foyer.  Mr. Helal said that the liberal perspective encounters all the answers to the questions: What is truth?  Who is God?  What is man’s nature?  Is he a free agent?  Can he communicate with the deity?  What about intelligent beings on other planets?  Does the personality persist after death?  Is faith alone sufficient for eternal life?  Samah Helal continued to say that the liberal perspective submits that there is unity among all the diversity of knowledge that mankind will attain, and the liberal perspective answers to such questions.
Mr. Samah Helal’s article ‘Our Heritage,  the Nobility of Hikam: a commentary on Wisdom outside the tradition of Tawhid’ is published in Our Heritage .

Concept of God
‘Inception To Eternity’
Dr. Naji Jurdi
Lee Room

Dr. Naji Jurdi captured his audience’s attention with his lecture.  His lecture, Concept of God, ‘Inception To Eternity’ is published in this issue of Our Heritage on page   .
C.O.R.E. Seminar

Socio/Cultural Issues
2:00 P.M. - 3:30 P.M.
Grand Ballroom Salons D-E

Dr. Rabih Aridi, Moderator
Dr. Anis Obeid
Dr. Assad Abdul-Baki
Dr. Naji Jurdi
Dr. Nadim Kassem

The Panel raised questions pertaining to the future of the Druze Community with special emphasis of the continuity and the evolvement of the Druze Faith. The floor was open for audience questions and participation.

The American Druze Society and The American Druze Foundation
4:00 P.M. - 5:00 P.M.
Grand Ballroom Salon D-E
The American Druze Society and the American Druze Foundation invited all the Conventioneers to attend this session for the purpose of honoring the American Druze Foundation Chairman (Uncle Jack) Mr. Jack Hamady. Words, eloquent and glorious, were said about Uncle Jack by many of the Board Members.  One of Uncle Jack’s dearest and oldest friends, Dr. Abdallah Najjar, was the first to praise this man.  Then Mr. Kamal Shouhayib, Mr. Ajaj Andari, and Mr. Ramzi Kaed Bay gave emotional and wonderful praise of Uncle Jack.  Mrs. Salimi Azzam, who with her husband, (Uncle Mac) Mr. Mohmud Joseph Azzam, were fast friends and together with the founding of the ADS back in 1946, expressed the love she and her husband had for Uncle Jack.  She said,
“There is so much I could say about this man...Uncle Jack, 
Yet, what can I say, and where do I start,
when this man’s life requires written volumes to properly          define him;
to accurately characterize him;
to eloquently praise him;
and mostly,
to thank him for his dedication to our people.
Uncle Jack has been honored at business associations,
at clubs and at universities for his fine accomplishments,
and I,
who has been given just three minutes to define,                   characterize, praise, honor, and thank him,
as well, is left speechless!
     Dr. Jack Hamady, as the Vice President of the American Druze       Society, as a trustee of the American Druze Foundation, and        in the name of all their members, I salute you.

                                  Thank you
                                  Mrs. Salimi Joseph Azzam
Mrs. Salimi Azzam presented Uncle Jack with a gift in the name of the American Druze Society and the American Druze Foundation.  
After this, three children attending the Convention with their parents, under of the direction of Mrs. Nawal Obeid, sang “Getting to Know You’ to Uncle Jack.  The children were  Neda Shouhayeb, daughter of Kamal and Yasmine Shouhayeb, Fuad and Leila Muakassa, the son and daughter of Dr. Kamel and Mrs. Rima    Muakassa.  Mrs, Nawal Obeid accompanied the children at the piano.
Following the musical presentation to Uncle Jack, Dr. Anis Obeid read from his Arabic poetry to Uncle Jack.  Dr. Obeid was followed by Mr. Jim Sams who said wonderful things of Uncle Jack whom Jim knew while he grew up.  Jim grew up in Bay City, Michigan, and he and his very lovely wife, the former Betty Hamady from Flint, Michigan, have always been very near and dear to him. 

Children’s Dinner and Entertainment
7:30 - 9:30 P.M.
Grand Ballroom, Salons F - G
This evening was a ‘Grand Banquet’ for the children, and each was adorned in lovely, lovely dresses and handsome suits.  They were definitely being groomed for Conventions ‘down the road.’  The girls, in their beautiful dresses, were like little princesses and the boys, their princes.  After the children finished a wonderful dinner, there were games and entertainment. Each went to bed exhausted, but they were very happy children.
Grand Banquet
7:00 P.M. - 2:00 A.M.
Arlington Ballroom Foyer

The guests assembled in the Arlington Ballroom Foyer for a reception before dinner.  This was a wonderful opportunity to meet and talk with the honored guests, as well as, many who had come to the Convention to attend the Grand Banquet.  They were from the Washington, Maryland, and the Virginia areas.

Arlington Ballroom
8:00 P.M.
The Master of Ceremony for the Grand Banquet was Mr. Jim Silman. Jim and his beautiful wife, Nadine, co-chaired the Convention, and as in many of the Conventions past, Jim was the Master of Ceremony.  Jim introduced  President Sami Merhi for the Presidential Ceremony.  Then the Master of Ceremony introduced and presented Mr. Faouzi Mokarem, President-Elect. This was followed by a presentation of Jim and Nadine Silman as the Convention Co-Chairs. Following the dinner, the guests began dancing and listening to the Arabic and American music of live entertainers.  A lovely Belly Dancer entertained the Conventioneers, as well. The dancers danced until 2:00 A. M. and then went to the Hospitality Suite to join those who were already there.

Hospitality Suite
Alexandria & McLean Suites
11:45 P.M.
Many of the guests went to the Hospitality Suite when it opened and were still there at 2:00 A.M. when the entertainment in the Arlington Ballroom finished.  And, many of the people stayed up all night dancing, singing, and of course, eating.  The food just never stopped coming. 
SUNDAY, JULY 9, 1995
10:00 A.M. - 12:00 P.M.   
Board of Directors Meeting
The meeting of the Board of Directors was chaired by the new president, Mr. Faouzi Mokarem.  President Faouzi Mokarem greeted the Board of Directors and introduced and welcomed the new Board members, Julie Makarem and Ziad Alameddine to the Board.  Plans began for the 50th Anniversary of the American Druze Society, and President Mokarem announced that the Convention would be held in Detroit, Michigan.  He also gave his agenda for his term in office, the following two years.
President Faouzi Mokarem extended his heartfelt thanks, on behalf of the American Druze Society National Office to the Druze Community of Washington, Maryland, and Virginia; all had worked together in complete harmony to make the Washington, 1995 Convention a tremendous success.
A word about - Mr. American born Druze, Bobby Jaber
Mr. Bobby Jaber was missed at the Washington 1995 Convention. Bobby is the epitome of a Druze.  He has taken on, single handedly, the  ‘Program for Needy Children.’ Bobby publishes and sends the newsletter DIALOGUE to the participants in the Program. In 1994, Bobby was solely responsible for helping 276 needy children with their educational expenses.  The cost for helping a needy child is $50.00 per child per year.  Every single penny collected here in America is sent to The Druze Foundation for Social Welfare (DFSW) in Beirut and distributed undiminished by them to the families of the needy children.  Checks are made payable to the “American Druze Society” and are tax deductible (IRS Tax Exempt #237155194. A letter of acknowledgement from Ms. Mona Ibrahim - Chairwoman of the Welfare Department of Orphans and the needy is sent to all the participants for each donation.
Bobby Jaber’s address is:
American Druze Society
P O Box 2602
Santa Barbara, California 93120
Call Bobby collect at 805-963-3205

A word about - Ms. Afifi Mosrie - Druze Humanitarian
For years Aunt Afifi Mosrie has attended the Conventions, and she has dedicated all her time at the American Druze Society conventions in collecting funds for the Dar Al-Yatim, the Druze Orphange in Abbey, Lebanon.  However, Aunt Afifi could not be with us this year because her sister, Enissa, was in a bad car accident, and Aunt Afifi must be with her for continuous care. All the members of the ADS miss you, Aunt Afifi.  We hope that soon Enissa will be well again, and both of you will once more be with your extended family - the ADS Conventioneers who love you very much!

A word about -
Ms. Raghida Dergham
Senior Diplomatic Correspondent - Al-Hayat Newspaper in Beirut, Lebanon

Ms. Raghida Dergham attended the Washington 1995 Convention and gave a speech at the ‘President’s Night Dinner.’  She is to be commended for her accomplishments, and we, the ADS, salute her.  She was recognized as a poet and writer at the age of 14 in major Lebanese publications. For two years, she produced, directed, and hosted her own radio program in Lebanon.  Then, she moved to New York and became a foreign correspondent for Al-Hayat, an
Influential newspaper in Beirut, and a catalyst for public understanding. Ms. Dergham has been reporting, analyzing, and commenting on international public affairs for a number of years. Her cardinal rule is two-fold: fairness and loyalty to her readers.  
You may read her lectures on her website: www.raghidadergham.com.