MEI Annual Awards

Each year at its Annual Awards Banquet, The Middle East Institute recognizes and honors extraordinary individuals - in the humanities, politics, philanthropy, business and the arts - who have made a positive impact on the region.  Hundreds of Arab and American business leaders, policymakers, analysts, ambassadors, diplomats and distinguished guests convene for an evening of conversation and celebration leading into MEI's Annual Conference the next day.

The Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence, endowed by the former deputy prime minister of Lebanon, was created to honor inspirational, innovative Arab individuals who are making a difference in their communities and internationally.  The Middle East Institute Visionary Award recognizes an Arab individual or institution for outstanding work in the region.

Past Award Recipients


Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence

  • 2017
    Fadi Ghandour
    Social entrepreneur and philanthropist
  • 2016
    Vera Baboun
     Mayor of Bethlehem Municipality
  • 2015
    Sheika Hoor Al-Qasimi
     President and Director of the Sharjah Art Foundation
  • 2014
    Ayman Asfari
    CEO of Petrofac and chairman of the Asfari Foundation
  • 2013
    Zaha Hadid
    Iraq-born architect
  • 2012
    Dr. Hanan Ashrawi
    Palestinian legislator, activist and scholar
  • 2011
    Amb. Lakhdar Brahimi
    fmr under-secretary general of the League of Arab States

Middle East Institute Visionary Award

  • 2017
    Sheikha Hussa Sabah
    al-Salem al-Sabah

    Kuwaiti art collector and curator
  • 2016
    Syria Civil Defense
     "The White Helmets"
  • 2015
    Mohamed A. El-Erian
    Chief Economic Advisor, Allianz, and Chair, President's Global Development Council
  • 2014
    Shafik Gabr
    Founder of the Shafik Gabr Foundation
  • 2013
    Abdlatif Al-Hamad
    Kuwaiti philanthropist
  • 2012
    Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel
    President, Abdul Latif Jameel Co. Ltd.
  • 2011
    Esraa Abdel Fattah
    Egyptian human rights and democracy activist
  • 2010
    Issam M. Fares
    Former Deputy Prime Minister of Lebanon
  • 2009
    Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish
    Palestinian doctor