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President George W. Bush stressed his commitment to a Palestinian state and applauded the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) for its work in supporting Mideast peace in a letter to the American Task Force on Palestine and to those attending ATFP's second annual Gala, “Choosing Peace, Embracing Hope: Honoring the Contributions of Palestinian Americans.” President Bush wrote: ‘I appreciate the American Task Force on Palestine and its members for your dedicated efforts to support peace in the Middle East.'

The Gala also featured a letter from Palestinian president Abbas to ATFP president Dr. Ziad Asali in which he offered his congratulations to ATFP on the gala and to the three Palestinian-American awardees. Commending ATFP for its work, President Abbas wrote that ‘ATFP is a constructive voice that reflects the bright contrast between the silent majority’s desire for peace and prosperity and the vocal minority that thrives on exclusion, disengagement and blind criticism.’

Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, the highest-ranking Foreign Service office at the State Department, gave the keynote speech in which he read the letter by President Bush and underlined the ‘key American interest’ in, and commitment to, the establishment of a Palestinian state. Secretary Burns made his comments as part of his keynote speech to a crowd numbering 500 and composed of U.S. Senators, Representatives, Diplomats, NGO leaders, members of the Palestinian American community and ATFP supporters. Secretary Burns thanked ATFP and Dr. Asali as ‘truly a voice of moderation and peace’ for their efforts towards achieving an independent Palestinian state. He reiterated the call of Secretary of State Rice last week that ‘the time for a Palestinian state is now.’

Preceding the keynote speech of Secretary Burns were remarks by Mr. Walter Isaacson, chairman and CEO of the Aspen Institute. Mr. Isaacson emphasized the importance both of establishing a Palestinian state and building the economic foundations of such a state. He also briefed attendees on his appointment by Secretary Rice to lead such an effort.

Awards were also presented to three leading Palestinian Americans for their outstanding contributions to their country: Excellence in Government Service to Ambassador Theodore Kattouf, Excellence in Commerce and Industry to Mr. Farouk Shami, and Excellence in Medicine to Dr. Theodore Baramki.

To experience ATFP's Second Annual Gala please click on the corresponding links in the gala program below.


Ziad J. Asali, M.D.
President, ATFP

National Anthems
Dana Yousef
Star Spangled Banner

Message from President Mahmoud Abbas

* * *

Presentation of Awards

ATFP Award for Excellence in Government Service
Ambassador Theodore Kattouf
Presented by
Ambassador Wyche Fowler

ATFP Award for Excellence in Commerce and Industry
Mr. Farouk Shami
Presented by
Dr. Jamil Shami

ATFP Award for Excellence in Medicine
Theodore Baramki, M.D.
Presented by
Mr. Farah Munayyer

* * *

Dinner, Musical Performance & Keynote

Musical Performance
Kivanc & Ricardo

* * *

Walter Isaacson
President and CEO of the Aspen Institute

Keynote Address
The Honorable Nicolas Burns
Undersecretary for Political Affairs

  Comedic Performance
Maysoon Zayid

Silent Auction

Click here to see more pictures from the Gala or you can click here to proceed through the program sequentially.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017