House Of Lebanon Timeline

Cool Timeline

1999
September 5

The Beginning

The Beginning
The Lebanese American Foundation, Inc. was dreamt into existence in September 1999. With much support from the Lebanese community in Los Angeles, a non-profit foundation was established with the name of House of Lebanon, and Dr. Hanna Shammas was elected as Chairman of the Board and President.
2000
April 10

Bylaws Drafted

Bylaws Drafted
The bylaws were drafted, and through the diligent work of Mr. Jack Chammas, Esq., the foundation received its 501(c)(3) status from the Internal Revenue Service on April 10, 2000.
October 27

First Youth Meeting

First Youth Meeting
Return to Our Roots, a meeting of Lebanese youth from the community, was held at UCLA. It featured Mr. Casey Kasem, the Lebanese American radio icon, and was attended by over 250 members of the community. Other meetings followed which ultimately inspired the Young Leaders Group.
November 19

First Gala Event

First Gala Event
The first gala event was held on November 19, 2000 at the Waterfront Hilton Hotel in Huntington Beach, CA. This first gala dinner had a dual purpose, to fundraise for the House of Lebanon and to celebrate the Lebanese Independence Day.
2002
January 24

Major Endorsements

Major Endorsements
Dr. Irani’s endorsement of the HoL was undoubtedly a major pivotal step. His involvement was cemented by generous donations, not only from Dr. Irani, but also from Dr. Joe Jacobs, Mr. George Hage, and Ambassador Gilbert Chagoury. The latter were elected Honorary Board members, and Dr. Irani became Honorary Chairman.
2004
February 4

New Officers Are Elected

New Officers Are Elected
Mr. Kanan Hamzeh was elected President and Dr. Hanna Shammas remained Chairman of the Board. For the ensuing 5 years, everyone worked diligently, hand in hand with dedicated board members, chief financial officer, Mr. Rachid Eletel and legal advisor, Mr. Jack Chammas, to solidify the Foundation’s basis.
2005
May 14

The First Recipient of the Pride of Heritage Award

The First Recipient of the Pride of Heritage Award
The inaugural Ray R. Irani Pride of Heritage Award was presented to Ambassador Gilbert Chagoury in celebration of his lifelong commitment to serving the people of Lebanon, and the ceremony was honored to have the presence of dignitaries such as Congressman Darrel Issa and former President Bill Clinton.
2006
January 5

The Artists’ Group

The Artists’ Group
The Artists Group was started by Mrs. Carole Choucair Oueijan with 7 members. It quickly grew to include over 70 visual artists, performers, composers, musicians, actors, filmmakers, and writers. The group put together Beyond Borders Art Exhibition, an annual event that celebrates the artistic wealth of our community and beyond.
May 6

Gala Honors Philanthropist George Hage

Gala Honors Philanthropist George Hage
The Ray R. Irani Pride of Heritage Award was presented to philanthropist and corporate leader George Hage in celebration of his tireless service and generous commitment to the Lebanese community. The ceremony was graced by dignitaries such as Los Angeles City Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
2007
September 17

Executive Director is Appointed

Executive Director is Appointed
Mrs. Karen Srour was appointed Executive Director. The Lebanese American Foundation established an office in Century City, which later moved to Studio City. Under her direction, the office was responsible for the organization’s daily operations, Pride of Heritage Banquet, annual picnic, golf classic, art shows and social dinner details.
November 3

Gala Honors Civic Leader Mike Ahmar

Gala Honors Civic Leader Mike Ahmar
The Ray R. Irani Pride of Heritage Award was presented to Mike Ahmar in celebration of his incredible commitment as a community leader toward furthering relations between the United States and Lebanon. The ceremony featured a performance by Nawal Al Zoghbi and a speech by Lebanese-American actor Tony Shalhoub.
2008
May 12

First Lebanese American Foundation Golf Classic

First Lebanese American Foundation Golf Classic
Chaired by Mr. Fouad El-Abd, the 1st Lebanese American Foundation Golf Classic was held at the Braemar Country Club. with 86 golfers participating. The tournament featured by a lavish dinner, silent auction and entertainment. A 2nd tournament was also held at Braemar Country Club the following year.
October 5

Gala Honors Dr. Paul Boulos

Gala Honors Dr. Paul Boulos
The Ray R. Irani Pride of Heritage Award was presented to Dr. Paul Boulos in celebration of his meritorious achievements and generous support of the Lebanese community here and abroad, and the ceremony included a performance by cast members of the Dancing With The Stars.
2009
January 20

Establishment of the Board of Trustees

The bylaws were amended on January 20,2009 with the establishment of the Board of Trustees, and Dr. Ray Irani was voted chairman of this new Board. The Board of Trustees is entrusted to safeguard the structure, vision, and mission of the Foundation.
October 8

Gala Honors Philanthropist Vatche Manoukian

Gala Honors Philanthropist Vatche Manoukian
The Ray R. Irani Pride of Heritage Award was presented to Mr. Vatche Manoukian in honor of his incredible contributions and generous support of Lebanese and local communities, and the ceremony culminated in a performance from legendary comedian Jay Leno.
2010
January 27

Appointed Executives

Appointed Executives
On January 27, 2010, the Honorable Judge James Kaddo was voted Chairman of the Board, and Mr. Mike Ahmar as President. Mr. Ahmar re-energized the real estate committee and the search for properties intensified, as we sought out a permanent home for the House of Lebanon.
November 14

Gala Honors Philanthropist James N. Koury

Gala Honors Philanthropist James N. Koury
The Ray R. Irani Pride of Heritage Award was presented to distinguished businessman and philanthropist who has been a strong and consistent supporter of the Lebanese community here and abroad.
2011
November 13

Gala Honors Civic Leader Ghassan Saab

Gala Honors Civic Leader Ghassan Saab
The Ray R. Irani Pride of Heritage Award was presented to Dr. Ghassan M. Saab in celebration of his meritorious achievements and generous support of the Lebanese community here and abroad.
2012
June 5

Property Located and Escrow Opened

Under the leadership of President Mike Ahmar, the property at 4800 Wilshire Blvd was located. After a unanimous board approval and a financial boost from Dr. & Mrs. Ray Irani, Mr. & Mrs. Vatche Manoukian, and many Board members, escrow was closed on June 5, 2012.
2013
May 28

Move To New Location

Move To New Location
On May 28, 2013, the House of Lebanon moved from their previous Studio City office to the new location at 4800 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. This fateful property has been designated as the House of Lebanon, the first Lebanese American Cultural Center in the United States of America.
2014
January 1

Dr. Paul Wakim Elected President

Dr. Paul Wakim
In 2014, Dr. Paul Wakim was elected President of the Lebanese American Foundation, Inc.,House of Lebanon.
April 5

Gala Honors Civic Leader Harry Nadjarian

The Ray R. Irani Pride of Heritage Award was presented to Philanthropist and Civic Leader Harry H. Nadjarian.
2015
July 29

Dr. Paul Wakim Interviews Award Winning Actress Selma Hayek

paul wakim and selma hayek interview
On July 29, 2015, the day before the US Premiere of the movie The Prophet, Dr. Paul Wakim interviewed the film’s producer and world renowned actress Selma Hayek about her new film. The interview also shed light on her Lebanese roots and what inspired her to make the film.
September 22

The Renovation Process Begins

interior construction
Executive Board Member Joseph Karaki prepared permits for the property to serve as a cultural center, and submitted them to the city of Los Angeles for approval. Gensler, which ranked 1st in the world’s top 20 largest architecture firms in 2017, was hired to prepare designs of the HoL building.
2016
May 2

Another Golf Classic to Remember

Another Golf Classic to Remember
The Lebanese American Foundation’s 8th Annual Golf Classic was proudly held in partnership with St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, which was founded by legendary Lebanese entertainer Danny Thomas.
2017
January 2

Mr. Joseph Karaki Elected President

Karaki
In 2017 Mr. Joseph Karaki was elected President and Dr. Paul Wakim and Mr. Mike Ahmar were elected Co-Chairmen.
March 4

A Gala Celebrating the Future

A Gala Celebrating the Future
The Lebanese American Foundation hosted its annual gala, titled “Sharing Our Dream & Unveiling Our Future”, and invited members of the Lebanese community to learn about the future of the House of Lebanon and celebrate the beginning of renovation for the newly designated building.
July 22

Young Leaders Group

Young Leaders Group
Co-Chairman Mike Ahmar, Co-Chairman Dr. Paul Wakim, and President Joseph Karaki founded the Young Leaders Group as a place where young professionals of Lebanese descent can discover and develop relationships with other successful Lebanese and Lebanese Americans in Southern California.
2019
October 5

2019 and Beyond

Gensler-Rendering
The culmination of 2019 will mark the completion of the renovation of the House of Lebanon, as well as the launch of cultural and professional programs tailored to the needs of our communities.

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