AABC Hosts Annual Ramadan Iftar
Yousef Ahmad – Hayat Washington – Vienna, Virginia
Arab American Business Council of the Washington DC area (AABC-DC) is an organization that aims to bring together Arab Businesses together to help and support one another and also to connect with the Arab American Community at large. In order to connect with the Community one such event they host is their annual Iftar (breaking of the fast for Muslims during Ramadan). On June 15 2017, day 20 of Ramadan, AABC-DC hosted their annual Iftar at Phoenicia Restaurant. The event was sponsored by Helping Hand for Relief and Development, who gave a presentation to showcase the work they do around the world to aid communities. The restaurant was well decorated and prepared for the event. A stage along with a large screen TV were set up to accommodate the hosts, along with the sponsor of the event.
At around 7:30 P.M. people began to arrive at the event to mingle and network before the main program began. With name tags stuck to their chests people introduced themselves to one another along with what it was that they did. Many of the attendees were small business owners, others consisted of professionals, students and members of the community. It was an open event to all, with the purchase of a ticket, and it was a full house for the night with more than 60 people at the event.
Two notable figures among the attendees were Ambassador Dr. Husam S. Zomlot of the Palestinian Delegation and Reverend Fuad Khouri. Both were guests of honor at the event and were very engaged, listening and conversing with everyone around them. When I spoke to the President of AABC-DC, Marwan Ahmad, how he felt about AABC-DC’s reception by the Arab American Community he stated “We had a great turnout from business owners and individuals. We also enjoyed meeting everyone and learning what they do. Many people showed interest in joining our organization and we hope they do”. When it was finally time for the main program, the restaurant was abuzz with conversation.
The President of AABC-DC then took to the stage to welcome everyone to the event, inviting those who were non-members to sign up with AABC-DC and wish a happy Ramadan to everyone and introduced the Executive Committee members, Ashraf Nassar, Bassem Yamak, Mazen Masri and Hanadi Eljari. Then he also introduced Asif Khan, the Regional Director of Helping Hand. Mr. Asif Khan proceeded to introduce two new young recruits of Helping Hand, Abdullah Beig and Rasheed Ahmad, and then a video played a describing Helping Hand’s work around the world. All in all it was a heartwarming presentation which highlighted the amazing work this charity does, and yet it was sobering to think about all the work that still needs to be done. Following the video Abdullah Beig of Helping Hand he gave a passionate speech describing the hardships he witnessed people enduring during his time volunteering overseas. At this point it was almost time for Iftar and to dig into the beautiful and delicious buffet spread that had been prepared, closely followed by dessert.
The night concluded with a quick thank you for attending from the Vice President of AABC-DC, Ashraf Nassar. Guests were then free to stay and continue to socialize or to leave and presented with complimentary gift bags. When contacted about the event later on, Ahmad and Hayat Sawtari stated “We had a great time at the AABC-DC Iftar. Everyone was friendly and professional. The food was delicious and authentic. Abdullah Beig gave an inspiring and eloquent speech. We look forward for future events”.
“It was a delight awesome event, we got the opportunity to meet many businessmen & women form the Arab American Community in Northern Virginia, this event opened many ways for partnership and cooperation with our my work“. Malak Abdulhamied commented.
All in all, the whole of the event was pleasant and informational, as well as beneficial for business owners and members of the Arab American Community alike.