The Dayton Arab American Forum (DAAF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nonsectarian organization promoting the cultural heritage of Arab Americans around the Dayton Region, is pleased to announce the annual Laurence Warwar Award Recipients for the 2020 DAAF Hafla taking place on Saturday, April 18th at the Brightside Music & Event Venue in downtown Dayton. This annual “Hafla”, which means a dinner and dance party, is one of DAAF’s signature events and an opportunity to celebrate Arabic food, dance, culture, and music with our community.
The Laurence Warwar Community Impact Awards were instituted to recognize members of the southwest Ohio community who are making impactful civic, cultural, and/or business contributions to the Dayton Region and beyond.
2020 Award Recipients:
• Public Servant of the Year – Mayor Nan Whaley, City of Dayton
This award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions of public service to our community and whose accomplishments can be viewed as a model of public service to other communities around the country.
Nan Whaley is the Mayor of Dayton, Ohio – the first city in the nation to achieve the status of “Certified Welcoming” making it possible for newcomers of all backgrounds to feel valued and participate alongside their neighbors in the social, civic, and economic fabric of our city.
Under Mayor Whaley’s leadership, Dayton has strengthened its position as an “immigrant-friendly city” and has shown strong support for our middle eastern culture and heritage. She has created a culture of tolerance and inclusion through actions such as welcoming Syrian refugees to make Dayton their home, nurturing the thousands of Ahiska Turks in our community, and even proclaiming April as Arab American Heritage Month.
Mayor Whaley was quoted saying “We value being an inclusive city no matter who you love, what you believe, or where you’re from”. For that, Dayton Arab American Forum applauds the Mayor for her leadership and recognizes her as the Public Servant of the year.
• Executive of the Year – Lisa Wagner, Executive Director at Levitt Pavilion Dayton
This award recognizes one of the region’s most dynamic business leaders keeping an entrepreneurial spirit alive through a culture of innovation, ethics, community service, and philanthropy.
Lisa Wagner is the Executive Director of the Levitt Pavilion Dayton, a new state-of-the-art outdoor concert venue featuring 50 free concerts each summer in downtown Dayton. In its first full season, under Lisa’s leadership, Levitt brought close to 60,000 people of all ages and backgrounds together to experience free high-caliber concerts and celebrate a shared sense of community for a total value of $5.4 million in programming gifted to the community as well as a $1.5 million economic impact on downtown Dayton.
Proudly of Syrian descent, Lisa has long made her mark on the Arts scene in Dayton. As an inspiring community leader, she believes we should all “Make meaningful relationships, be honest, be humble, be authentic, be accountable.” Words Lisa lives by every day.
• Volunteer of the Year – PCRF Cincinnati
This award recognizes an individual or organization who honors our Arab-American heritage through exceptional volunteer efforts, commitment to social responsibility, and passion for making a difference.
The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) is a non-political organization established in 1991 by concerned people in the U.S. to address the medical and humanitarian crisis facing children in the Middle East.
PCRF Cincinnati Chapter was established in 2012. Since then, they have brought 5 children, (3 Palestinians and 2 Syrians), into the Cincinnati /Dayton area and provided critically needed medical attention.
Those 5 children suffered from birth defects, lost limbs, severe burn injuries, as well as gunshot wounds from wars and conflicts in the Middle East. If not for the humanitarian support and compassion of this great organization, those children would have otherwise lost their lives, or suffered from lifelong scarring.
Questions? Please contact Lamees Mubaslat at 937.654.2650 or Maha Kashani at 937.475.7718.