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Mr. George Salem introduces Ms. Betty Shamieh, ATFP honoree for Excellence in the Performing Arts, at the ATFP Fifth Annual Gala, Washington, D.C., October 20, 2010.


It is indeed a privilege to present an award to a daughter of Ramallah for Excellence in the Performing Arts.

Betty Shamieh is an internationally produced playwright and novelist.  Her play Roar was the first play by a Palestinian-American playwright to premiere off-Broadway. Roar was selected as a New York Times Critics Pick for four weeks, and is currently being taught at universities across the United States.  Her other off-Broadway productions include The Black Eyed and The Machine, which was directed by Academy Award winner, Marisa Tomei. 

Betty is a graduate of Harvard College and the Yale School of Drama, and one of the rare American artists to be awarded funds by the National Endowment for the Arts twice.  She performed in her play, Chocolate in Heat – Growing Up Arab in America, in three critically acclaimed New York runs and over twenty university theatres throughout the country.

Many of her fifteen plays have been produced in translation including Austria, Greece, Holland, Sweden, and Romania. 

Betty’s contributions to theatre and literature have not gone unnoticed. Her life and work has been the subject of features in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the International Herald Tribune, among others.  

The New York Times says the following about her work, “The young writer Betty Shamieh has the playwright's most essential gift: the passion for talk.  (after all, bint ramallah)  Ms. Shamieh's rich, urgent prose will catch you up, then fling you into a character's life as though it were your own.”

Betty was recently one of the youngest artists to be named a Fellow at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies. 

She is a source of great pride not only to her parents, who are with us this evening, but to the entire Palestinian community.

Please join me in congratulating this year’s awardee for Excellence in the Performing Arts, Ms. Betty Shamieh.

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