The Northern Ohio Lebanese American Association (NOLAA) hosted the 6th annual Lebanese American Heritage Ball at the Embassy Suites on Saturday October 22, 2011. NOLAA dedicates itself to "preserving, enriching, and promoting the Lebanese heritage and traditions through cultural, educational, humanitarian and social activities."
The evening began with a cocktail and appetizer reception which included a silent auction to benefit NOLAA scholarships and programs. Once inside the main ballroom, John Harb, NOLAA Heritage Committee Chair introduced Master of Ceremonies Dr. Frederick Hayek.
Master of Ceremonies Dr. Frederick Hayek
The colors were presented and the national anthems were sung. Ashley Nemeh sang the US National Anthem and Souheil Farah sang the Lebanese Anthem.
Next, Dr. Frederick Hayek spoke about the history, geography and religion of Lebanon. He said "Lebanon has a long cultural history of freedom."
Fr. Naim Khalil, Pastor of Saint Elias Greek Melkite Catholic Church, gave the invocation at the 2011 annual NOLAA Lebanese Heritage Ball.
Pierre Bejjani, President of the Northern Ohio Lebanese American Association (NOLAA) thanked the board members and supporters of the 2011 annual NOLAA Lebanese Heritage Ball.
Pierre Bejjani then explained what NOLLA is and does. He said "The Lebanese community is relevant, active and making an impact in Northeast Ohio."
Pierre Bejjani also had special news to relate. He announced that Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has declared November 22nd as Lebanon Day in Cleveland and that the Lebanese flag will fly over City Hall all day. There will be a special reception in the City Hall Rotunda.
Next, Consul General of Lebanon Bachir Tawk spoke.
Consul General of Lebanon Bachir Tawk
Consul General Tawk was presented with a NOLAA recognition award by Pierre Bejjani.
Consul General of Lebanon Bachir Tawk and Pierre Bejjani
Other NOLAA business was conducted such as the bestowing of scholarships on young people.
NOLAA President Pierre Bejjani and Vice-President Joseph Khadige present scholarship awards to Ann M. Cater and Rita M. Skaaf
After an excellent dinner, it was time for the much awaited keynote speaker, General John P. Abizaid.